Monthly Archives: February 2014

that ain’t no joke

 

doctors may prescribe
meds to keep us sane
therapy may help us
hold on to every gain

meals may sustain us
throughout any given day
groups may guide us
and help us find our way

but don’t forget our coffee
and our cartons full of smokes
cuz these too hold some together
and man, that ain’t no joke

February 07, 2014

A fun, little poem that reflects life here at Abbott House.
Hope you enjoyed it! And hope you're having a great day! :)

 

MJ Does Not Cause SZ

 

From Psych Central (December 13, 2013) — “New research from Harvard Medical School, in a comparison between families with a history of schizophrenia and those without, finds little support for marijuana use as a cause of schizophrenia.”

Link to article:

Harvard: Marijuana Doesn’t Cause Schizophrenia

In this first-of-its-kind study by researchers at Harvard University, this long-debated question seems to have been answered. And the naysayers are right.

This study used four experimental groups:

  • Group #1 — Controls with no lifetime history of psychotic illness, cannabis, or any other drug use.
  • Group #2 — Controls with no lifetime history of psychotic illness, and a history of heavy cannabis use during adolescence, but no other drug use.
  • Group #3 — Patients with no lifetime history of cannabis use or any other drug and less than 10 years of being ill.
  • Group #4 — Patients with a history of heavy cannabis use and no other drug use during adolescence and prior to the onset of psychosis.

A total of 282 people served as direct participants in this study with another 4,291 relatives of the test subjects used to gather family histories. Here is the verdict:

“The researchers concluded that the results of the current study…suggest that having an increased familial risk for schizophrenia is the underlying basis for schizophrenia in these samples — not the cannabis use.”

In science however one study — regardless of how extensive — usually doesn’t cut it. As a lifelong naysayer concerning this topic, I am hopeful that these findings will be replicated by future research. Common sense doesn’t always prevail. Sometimes, common sense is dead wrong. However, this is one instance (in my opinion) where common sense prevails. The idea that cannabis causes schizophrenia has always seemed a bit preposterous to me.

If you are so inclined, I am adding a link to the full text of the research article published in the journal, Schizophrenia Research. Here is the link:

A controlled family study of cannabis users with and without psychosis 

Enjoy!

Edwin

Long-term anti-psychotic medication use questioned in treatment of schizophrenia

 

Okay, this floored me. Anyone who lives in the United States knows that in our country, anti-psychotic meds are considered the first line of attack against schizophrenia. Yes, #1. But is conventional wisdom wise?

There is a groundswell of research that questions the long-term use of antipsychotic medications to treat schizophrenia, research from such sources as the World Health Organization, Boston University, and the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). Even a study done by the prescription drug giant, Eli Lilly, corroborated the idea that the long-term treatment of the population as a whole with antipsychotic medications resulted in poorer outcomes — again, for the entire population.

Boston University’s Courtenay Harding said it best when she told the APA Monitor that it was a “myth” that people with schizophrenia “must be on medication all their lives.”

This research (links provided below) indicates that as an aggregate (whole), the population of people with schizophrenia has better outcomes when treated selectively and cautiously. And this is precisely what is happening in countries (e.g. parts of Finland) that treat the schizophrenic population in such a manner. Although seemingly reluctant, NIMH Director Thomas Insel also acknowledges that antipsychotics may worsen long-term outcomes. I could summarize the research further; however, I’d rather let you decide for yourself.

As a final note, I want to make it clear that I do not promote going off of your meds. Although this is in my opinion definitely food for thought, these studies are studies of aggregates (groups of people), not individuals. What may be good for the majority may not be good for you.

This is not an attempt to get people to stop taking their meds. I take meds and I do not plan on stopping them. However, I am going to do more research on this subject and keep an open dialogue with my treatment team regarding my options. In other words, I’m not going to stop taking my meds, not cold turkey and not in any fashion in the foreseeable future. This is a topic I will keep my eye on in the months and years to come. And if I decide to go off of my meds, I will most likely taper off slowly and will definitely do it under the guidance of my treatment team.

Perhaps, this is something to share with your treatment team. That is the reason I posted this.

So here are some links for you:

A Schizophrenia Mystery Solved?

Do Antipsychotics Worsen Long-term Schizophrenia Outcomes?

At the end of the second article, there are links to more sources.

Something to think about.

Take care…

Edwin

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