Category Archives: Psychosis risk

Childhood maltreatment associated with cerebral grey matter abnormalities: Abuse could lead to permanent brain damage — ScienceDaily

Is this where social policy, social and criminal justice,  and neuro-psychiatry finally meet? And importantly, who is to blame for this continued abuse?

Childhood maltreatment associated with cerebral grey matter abnormalities: Abuse could lead to permanent brain damage — ScienceDaily.

PLOS ONE: Psychedelics and Mental Health: A Population Study

Results: “… in several cases psychedelic use was associated with lower rate of mental health problems.”

PLOS ONE: Psychedelics and Mental Health: A Population Study.

21,967 respondents (13.4% weighted) reported lifetime psychedelic use. There were no significant associations between lifetime use of any psychedelics, lifetime use of specific psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, peyote), or past year use of LSD and increased rate of any of the mental health outcomes.

Long-term Antipsychotic Treatment and Brain Volumes… More medication means less white & gray matter

It’s official: Antipsychotics shrink the brain!

Ho, Andreasen and colleagues report that:

More antipsychotic treatment was associated with smaller gray matter volumes. Progressive decrement in white matter volume was most evident among patients who received more antipsychotic treatment. Illness severity had relatively modest correlations with tissue volume reduction, and alcohol/illicit drug misuse had no significant associations when effects of the other variables were adjusted

JAMA Network | JAMA Psychiatry | Long-term Antipsychotic Treatment and Brain Volumes:  A Longitudinal Study of First-Episode Schizophrenia.

Protecting Children From Toxic Stress –

I think he forgot the mention mental illness, but this might explain many comorbidities…

“Imagine if scientists discovered a toxic substance that increased the risks of cancer, diabetes and heart, lung and liver disease for millions of people. Something that also increased one’s risks for smoking, drug abuse, suicide, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, domestic violence and depression — and simultaneously reduced the chances of succeeding in school, performing well on a job and maintaining stable relationships? It would be comparable to hazards like lead paint, tobacco smoke and mercury. We would do everything in our power to contain it and keep it far away from children. Right?


Children can be shielded from the most damaging effects of stress if their parents are taught how to respond appropriately.

Well, there is such a thing, but it’s not a substance. It’s been called “toxic stress.”…

Protecting Children From Toxic Stress –

Social Deprivation, Inequality, and the Neighborhood-Level Incidence of Psychotic Syndromes in East London

This article (freely available and published online in advance of press) may be a fairly technical and difficult article to follow for the lay reader, but snippets provide some insights into its findings and implications. The authors have looked at data which showed higher prevalence of non-affective psychoses (as opposed to bipolar-type psychoses) in some parts of London and:

“…sought to investigate whether the incidence of psychotic disorders varied between neighborhoods in East London, after adjustment for individual-level age, sex, ethnicity, and social class. We tested whether such variation was associated with several neighborhood-level environmental factors, including absolute (deprivation, social fragmentation, social cohesion, and population density) and relative (inequality, ethnic density, and ethnic separation) measures.”

Principal Findings
We identified marked spatial variation in the relative risk of nonaffective psychotic disorder in East London, not explained by individual-level factors including age, sex, ethnicity, and social class. Together with our observation that the incidence of affective psychoses showed no such spatial variation, our data replicate previous studies to have found such differences with respect to the environment.3–5 Our study extends these findings, however, by using appropriate spatial multilevel models to demonstrate that the incidence of nonaffective psychosis was independently associated with increased deprivation, income inequality, and population density. When we studied the influence of socioenvironmental factors in specific ethnic groups, we observed that ethnic separation and ethnic density were associated with nonaffective psychosis risk for people of black Caribbean and black African, respectively.

The authors make several conclusions make from the results, two of which are:

“…living in more deprived neighborhoods may expose people to a range of stressful experiences, resultant from lower social and economic investment, including higher rates of crime and antisocial behavior, poorer educational, leisure and health facilities, and more physical health problems, all of which may induce stress with further consequences for mental health.57 Individuals who lack sufficient social or financial capital to offset exposure to these stressful events, either by drawing upon social support or by moving to less-deprived neighborhoods,55 may face chronic exposure to such threats over the life course; several studies have observed an association between lower social support and psychosis risk.”

“Our findings suggest that inequality, absolute deprivation, and the experience of living in dense, urban environments in adulthood may contribute to psychosis risk. Continued efforts to integrate social neuroscience with social epidemiology should help reveal how and when environmental exposures over the life course have critical effects on brain processes that increase psychosis risk.”

What Happened After a Nation Methodically Murdered Its Schizophrenics? Rethinking Mental Illness and Genetics

What Happened After a Nation Methodically Murdered Its Schizophrenics? Rethinking Mental Illness and Genetics.

Very interesting article, by a well rspected psychologist/comentator,  which seems to systematically and successfully de-bunk the idea that psychotic illnesses are heritable…

“Schizophrenia Bulletin in 2010 (“Psychiatric Genocide: Nazi Attempts to Eradicate Schizophrenia“) reported that an estimated 73 percent to 100 percent of individuals with schizophrenia living in Nazi Germany were sterilized or killed. This psychiatric genocide obviously resulted in a lower prevalence of schizophrenia in Germany immediately after 1945, but not for long….”

Cannabis use predicts psychosis vulnerability in adolescents and vice versa

An interesting prospective study from Holland has been published in the journal Addiction, which seems to show that the simple idea that cannabis causes psychosis (schizophrenia) is not supported by their results.

This prospective study (looking at adolescents who later develop psychosis) indicated that there are bi-directional actions at work, so that some cannabis use can be seen as attempts at self-medication.

As many people with psychosis have told me, they see cannabis as their medication of choice.

You can download this report here

Research – Anxiety symptoms in adolescents at risk for psychosis: a comparison among help seekers

Early publication online:

Granö, N., Karjalainen, M., Edlund, V., Saari, E., Itkonen, A., Anto, J., & Roine, M. (2012). Anxiety symptoms in adolescents at risk for psychosis: a comparison among help seekers. Child and Adolescent Mental Health doi: 10.1111/camh.12012

Key Practitioner Message

  • Anxiety has previously been related to psychosis and an at-risk state for psychosis. In the present study, help-seeking adolescents differ significantly in terms of their level of total anxiety symptoms, because adolescents at risk for psychosis had more anxiety symptoms
  • Item-by-item analysis scores in items such as feeling relaxed, feeling nervous, losing control and feeling faint were statistically significantly higher in adolescents at risk for psychosis
  • The anxiety subfactor of cognitive anxiety explained significantly at-risk state for psychosis
  • In clinical practice, the possibility of persisting anxiety symptoms should be considered when working with help-seeking adolescents at risk state for psychosis

Background Several studies have reported on how anxiety disorders and anxiety symptoms are already present before the onset of psychosis. However, anxiety disorders are typically studied in these studies at diagnosis-level.

The aim of present study was to investigate the profile of anxiety symptoms in subjects at risk of developing psychosis and to compare the anxiety profile with those who are not at risk.

Method Data were collected at Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH) by an early detection and intervention team. Of 185 help-seeking respondents, between 12 and 18 years of age, 59 adolescents were classified as being at risk of psychosis and 126 as not being at risk via an interview conducted by a validated at-risk assessment tool (PROD). Anxiety was measured using the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI).

Results The anxiety total sum score was higher in the at-risk group for psychosis (mean 8.33 vs. 13.34, p = .000). Both subfactors of the anxiety scale, cognitive anxiety (p = .000) and somatic anxiety (p = .000), differed significantly by risk status. After using the Bonferroni correction for multiple analysis, items of relax (p = .000), nervous (p = .002), losing control (p = .000) and faint (p = .002) had statistically significant higher mean scores in the group at risk of psychosis. In logistic regression analysis, being female (p = .015) and the subfactor relating to cognitive anxiety (p = .044) significantly explained the at-risk status for psychosis.

Conclusions Adolescents at risk for psychosis have a higher level of anxiety compared with other help-seeking adolescents. These results should be considered in clinical practice.