Substance use and cognition in early psychosis.J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2003 Jan; 28(1):48-54.JP
To determine the relation between substance use and cognition in individuals experiencing their first episode of psychosis.
Prospective cross-sectional and longitudinal study.
An Early Psychosis Treatment and Prevention Program, an outpatient clinic in a psychiatry department at a university-affiliated hospital.
Individuals with a psychotic illness who were admitted to an Early Psychosis Program; 266 patients were assessed at initial presentation, 159 at 1 year and 90 at 2 years. Most were outpatients.
The effects of substance use (alcohol, cannabis, hallucinogens, cocaine, stimulants) on cognition were assessed. Substance use was determined by DSM-IV criteria, and the Case Manager Rating Scale was used to determine the level of substance use. A comprehensive cognitive battery of tests was used, and the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale for schizophrenia was administered to all subjects to determine levels of positive and negative symptoms.
Overall, both cross-sectionally and longitudinally, there were no significant associations between cognitive functioning and the use of various substances. Substance use was associated with higher positive symptoms.
Individuals with psychotic disorders who show mild-to-moderate abuse of substances, in particular alcohol and cannabis, do not exhibit more cognitive impairment than those who do not do use the substances. However, substance use may have other detrimental effects on the process of the psychotic illness.