What a frickin' mess. Colorado's new campaign against teen marijuana use is entitled "Don't Be A Lab Rat." I couldn't agree more. And whether you agree with the campaign or not, from my standpoint the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment strikes a desperately welcome attitude in their openness and encouragement of dialogue. Well, as some studies are now suggesting, people with schizophrenia are drawn to marijuana use. And people with other mental illnesses are drawn to other types of drugs. (See ADHD--Crime & Prison Issues). Dual Diagnosis -- in this case mental illness and substance abuse -- are very common. That's why criminalizing illegal drug use is so often criminalizing mental illness. That doesn't mean that marijuana or illegal drugs are good. I can only speak for my myself AND I don't want any drugs "criminalized" AND I want these issues handled medically -- with medical professionals who are open & encourage dialogue and questions AND are willing to say when they or the medical/psychiatric systems don't know. From my perspective, so much of the current misery created by our criminal justice system & the mental health system is a result of assuming we know when we don't. That brings me to forced medication which generally are anti-psychotics. I used to think, "What kind of frickin' idiot wouldn't take medication if it would help them function safely in society." Well, there are side effects -- but hey -- this is important AND massive weight gain, cognitive dulling, dyskinesia, over-sleeping -- YOU can live with it. BUT what about this:
"Indirect evidence suggests that antipsychotic medications may have adverse effects on brain anatomy and function.
Persistent adverse effects of antipsychotics on some cognitive processes supported by frontostriatal brain systems are well established in preclinical models. Studies using similar cognitive paradigms with schizophrenia patients show similar adverse effects.
Reduced prefrontal connectivity in resting-state fMRI studies has also been demonstrated after initiation of antipsychotic treatment . Thus, evidence for potential adverse effects of antipsychotics outside the domain of motor systems has grown in recent years.
The greatest reason for concern about adverse neuroanatomic effects of antipsychotic treatment stems from data showing a robust reduction in brain volume in monkeys treated with clinically relevant dosages of conventional and atypical antipsychotics .
Editorial above with supporting citations was written by Dr. John Sweeney, Ph.D who has served on advisory boards for Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Roche, and Takeda and has received grant support from Janssen. Dr. Sweeney serves in the Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.