February 12, 2009

Impact of drugs greater on mentally ill

[Posted: Sun 08/02/2009 by Joanne McCarthy]

Narcotics have an irreversible effect on the brains of people already suffering from mental illness, new research has indicated.

According to the Canadian researchers, some 33 to 50% of psychiatric patients also suffer from drug addiction. The study has shown that people suffering from mental illness such as schizophrenia are more sensitive to the effects of drugs.

“They become dependant more quickly and they tend to abuse drugs more easily. It is evident that drug use can worsen the symptoms of mental disease,” said Dr Stéphane Potvin at the Université de Montréal.

“The odds that a mental disorder manifests itself in an individual can increase if he or she consumes drugs,” he added.

Furthermore, the study showed that drug consumption leads to the deterioration of the brain’s structures.

Dr Potvin will present his findings as part of a conference at the Louis-H Lafontaine Hospital this week.

As part of his presentation, Dr. Potvin and colleagues will address the issue of integrated treatment for those suffering mental disease and drug abuse.