The Effects of Cannabis Use Disorder on Schizophrenia in Young Men

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The Effects of Cannabis Use Disorder on Schizophrenia in Young Men

More and more states are continuing to change their laws surrounding cannabis use. This drug has become legal for recreational use in many states. While many people view cannabis as a relatively safe drug, it has been linked to schizophrenia in young men. In fact, some studies show that if certain young men avoided cannabis use in the first place – and had not developed cannabis use disorder – they likely would not have ever developed schizophrenia in the first place.

This is a serious issue that deserves attention. Many people begin using cannabis at a young age without realizing that it can lead to potential problems down the road. We must work to spread awareness regarding the link between cannabis use disorder and schizophrenia in young men. Young people should know the risks involved before making the decision to engage in cannabis use.

At The Kimberly Center, we help our clients recover from cannabis use disorder and begin living a new sober lifestyle.

Understanding What Schizophrenia Is and the Link to Cannabis Use

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Mental Health Services in the Capital Region of Denmark conducted one of the most notable studies on the connection of cannabis use disorder to schizophrenia. They understood that men are statistically more likely to develop schizophrenia as a result of cannabis use disorder than women, but they were particularly interested in looking at what age range this typically occurs.

They gathered the health data of 6.9 million people between the ages of 16-49 over the course of 1972 and 2021. Then they looked specifically at people who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia that also had a cannabis use disorder. They determined that for men between the ages of 21 and 30, the risk of them developing schizophrenia was potentially as high as 30%. If they were to have avoided cannabis use altogether, they likely wouldn’t have developed schizophrenia.

What Is Schizophrenia?

Now that this link has been identified, it is important to understand what exactly schizophrenia is. Schizophrenia is a very serious mental health problem that can affect a person’s understanding of reality. They can appear very detached and may see, hear, or experience things that aren’t really there. Some people’s cases of schizophrenia are mild, while others may be more severe.

Schizophrenia can affect one’s mood and overall behavior. It can impact their ability to participate in daily activities. They may struggle at work or in school. The good news is that it is treatable, and there are some medications that can help provide relief.

In order to ensure someone struggling with schizophrenia gets the help they need as soon as possible, it is important to be able to recognize the signs of this mental health disorder. Schizophrenia is not common in young children and is typically diagnosed when the person is between the age of 16 and 30. Early diagnosis can play a critical role in the success of treatment.

The Signs of Schizophrenia in Young Men

Everyone with schizophrenia exhibits the signs in different ways. But in general, it is typically broken up into three different categories, including psychotic symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive symptoms. Someone with psychotic symptoms will tend to view the world in a skewed way. They may suffer from hallucinations during which time they see or hear people that aren’t there.

Someone with this type of schizophrenia may also cling strongly to false beliefs. For example, they may be paranoid and convince themselves that there are people out to get them. This can lead to obsessive fear and irrational behavior. They may also experience thought or movement disorders that can become visibly obvious to those around them.

Someone who experiences negative symptoms due to schizophrenia will often struggle with a severe lack of energy and motivation. They may have trouble getting out of bed and putting worthwhile effort into work. Things that they used to enjoy may no longer bring them a sense of pleasure. They may want to isolate themselves from others.

Someone with this type of disorder may appear listless and unwilling to contribute to the conversation. They may have a hard time finding joy in life.

Finally, someone with schizophrenia that experiences cognitive symptoms will have trouble with decision-making. They may struggle to focus on the task at hand and become easily distracted.

Treating Schizophrenia in Young Men

If a young man has developed schizophrenia and is currently struggling with a cannabis use disorder, the first thing they should do is discontinue cannabis use. They should also talk to their doctor about what treatment methods are best for them.

At The Kimberly Center, we have helped many individuals take back their lives from substance misuse. We offer both outpatient and inpatient treatment options depending on the person’s needs and unique situation.

While there are ways to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia, it is best if it can be prevented if possible. For young men in particular, this is why they should avoid cannabis use. It is important to continue to spread awareness about the connection between schizophrenia and cannabis use. At The Kimberly Center, we have helped countless clients begin living happier and healthier lives after addiction. We want to help you too. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction of any kind, our team is here for you. Don’t wait; call us at (855) 452-3683 today to learn more about our services and how we can support you and help you recover. 

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