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How can a veteran prevent psychosis?

There is, unfortunately, no guaranteed way for a veteran to predict the onset of psychosis, because of the multitude of potential factors that may trigger it. Therefore, it is not always possible to prevent it. You may have an unavoidable combination of genetic predisposition, with psychological vulnerability, and the addition of environmental stress, and there is no way to foresee these influences coming together.

One thing you can do is to avoid substance abuse. It is believed that illegal drug use can put a veteran at higher risk for developing psychosis. In particular, cannabis users have been shown to be 40% more likely to become schizophrenic than non-users of the drug. Cannabis raises the levels of dopamine in the brain, and using the drug over a long period of time can permanently alter your brain’s chemistry in a way that promotes psychosis. Stress and depression are also risk factors for psychosis.

Getting treatment for stress and depression will strengthen your defenses against psychosis. Recent evidence suggests that estrogen may play a role in preventing psychosis in women. Low levels of estrogen make women more vulnerable to psychotic symptoms, and hormone replacement therapy may be effective in protecting them from developing the disorder.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.