According to scientists, smoking increases schizophrenia risks, new study finds after comparing the medical records of psychiatry patients who smoke with the ones of non-smoking patients. Researchers blame nicotine and dopamine for patients’ potential psychotic behavior.
The research was conducted by Dr. James MacCabe, one of the leaders of the study group at the Kings’ College London in an attempt to establish whether there is a link between the high number of patients suffering from psychosis and their smoking habits.
Results have shown that, indeed, smoking can increase schizophrenia risks among smokers. By comparing the medical data, scientists noticed that the chances of developing mental illnesses triple in the case of smokers.
The study was conducted on a batch of 67 observational experiments, involving 15,000 smokers and 273,000 non-smokers. Statistics have indicated at the end of the experiment that 57 percent of tobacco addicts also had a history of mental illnesses, according to the findings of the study. Thus, psychotic patients tend to become tobacco users, unlike non-smokers in the study group, who did not experience any mental problems prior to the experiment.
Based on this newly found percentage of smokers suffering from mental affections, Dr. MacCabe has concluded that psychiatry experts should consider smoking as one of the factors leading to schizophrenia, instead of regarding it as a mere consequence of this bad habit.
There are several explanations that the scientist has further provided for the causality link existing between tobacco addiction and schizophrenia. In his opinion, smoking causes dopamine levels in the brain to reach outstanding levels; hence the psychotic behavior of many tobacco users.
Excessive dopamine appears in the striatum region of the brain, which is responsible for the development of schizophrenic behavior. The recent study suggests there could be something in the composition of cigarettes that causes excessive dopamine production.
While further studies are required in this sense, experts believe nicotine has the ability to increase dopamine. They have made this assumption after observing that dopamine levels were higher among chain-smokers. MacCabe plans to carry out additional studies in the future to determine the exact connection between the amount of tobacco that is consumed and the mental affections that these patients could develop.
The findings of the recent study were published in the medical journal Lancet Psychiatry. The new experiment was placed in connection to previous researches indicating that there is a causality link between cannabis consumption and psychosis, especially in the case of people suffering from depressions.
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