Does drug use cause schizophrenia?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that people with schizophrenia are more likely to abuse drugs than other people. The NIMH also reports that some drugs are known to worsen symptoms of schizophrenia in people with the illness. Drugs including PCP and marijuana may also cause symptoms of schizophrenia, such  as psychotic symptoms. However, this doesn't always mean that an individual will develop full-blown schizophrenia.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that early marijuana use is associated with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. However, experts are not certain whether marijuana actually causes the disease or whether people prone to schizophrenia start using marijuana at an early age.

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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.