Thursday, 6 August 2009

Teens aware of marijuana harm and impact on mental health

According to a BBC article, a survey of of 27,000 teenagers found that "nearly one in two teenagers knows someone who has suffered from a mental health problem like paranoia after using cannabis."

The research, which was carried out on networking website Habbo Hotel, found 64% of young people were aware cannabis could cause panic attacks, 41% knew it could bring on paranoia and 38% thought it could result in memory loss.

Over 50% of teenagers associated cannabis use with losing motivation and doing badly at school or college.

While the survey is far from scientific - it does point to some interesting trends among teens and their perception of marijuana use and how it affects mental health. Recent research suggests that heavy use of cannabis may increase the risk of psychosis in some young people The website Psychosis Sucks maintains that:

Psychosis can be induced by drugs or can be "drug assisted". Some stimulating drugs, like amphetamines, can cause psychosis, while other drugs, including marijuana, can trigger the onset of psychosis in someone who is already at increased risk because they have "vulnerability". The risks associated with drug use for a person with psychosis include an increased risk of relapse, the development of more secondary problems (including depression, anxiety or memory problems), a slower recovery and more persistent psychotic symptoms.

The good news is that with early identification, treatment and support, people living with psychosis, substance abuse or a combination of these mental health problems can recover. Because people with psychosis may have interlinked problems with substance use problems, treatment that combines both mental health and addiction services into one program is best. ALSO - integrating treatment for psychosis and substance abuse into one program is an effective way to help both problems at the same time. Treatment programs include:
  • Improving quality of life including belief in the possibility of recovery.
  • Going beyond just eliminating symptoms of psychosis and substance use and emphasizing social and other supports.
  • Motivation support to help you set and accomplish your goals.
  • Taking medications as prescribed

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