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Mental Health

Identifying Drug-Induced Schizophrenia

06/15/2007

Question:

Is there any proof of social/street drug induced Schizophrenia? I have a family member that tried a street drug called "dipper" and it caused his face to get stuck, kind of contorted for several days. This "dipper" is Embalming fluid, yeap!!! Embalming fluid used for dead people, the kids dip cigarettes & marijuana in this stuff. He was drug tested in the ER and tested positive for PCP & Embalming fluid in his system via laced marijuana. Prior to this, he was fine, but continued to use this stuff because of the "high". Now he has been diagnosed as a Paranoid-Schizophrenic. He is a very different person now and I find it very odd to diagnois him with such a illness based upon his mental state when he is not using the drug of his choice or taking prescribed medicines to keep him from getting whacked out. I am curious if the street drugs really played a major role in changing his life & mental state. Thank you

Answer:

Marijuana alone has been shown to significantly worsen symptoms in certain individuals with schizophrenia. (maybe bipolar disorder) Wet/dip is when marijuana has been treated with formaldehyde/embalming fluid with at times PCP. Psychotic symptoms are not uncommon with this formulation. Differentiating the symptoms from schizophrenia is extremely difficult.

Long periods of being drug-free are required to clarify the symptoms along with a detailed history. An evaluation of the prodromal period before drug use can sometimes help.

It is not likely this "caused schizophrenia" but it can cause symptoms indistinguishable at times.

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Response by:

Nicholas A Votolato, RPh BCPP Nicholas A Votolato, RPh BCPP
Formerly:
Introductory Clinicxal Psychopharamcology
Advanced Clinical Psychopharmacology
Clinical Pharmacokinetics
Clinical Therapetics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University