Duration of Untreated Disorder and Cannabis Use: An Observational Study on a Cohort of Young Italian Patients Experiencing Psychotic Experiences and Dissociative Symptoms

Valerio Ricci, Giovanni Martinotti, Franca Ceci, Stefania Chiappini, Francesco Di Carlo, Julius Burkauskas, Ottavia Susini, Debora Luciani, Diego Quattrone, Domenico De Berardis, Mauro Pettorruso, Giuseppe Maina, Massimo Di Giannantonio

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Abstract

Background: The Duration of Untreated Psychosis (DUP) is the time between the first-episode psychosis (FEP) and the initiation of antipsychotic treatment. It is an important predictor of several disease-related outcomes in psychotic disorders. The aim of this manuscript is investigating the influence of cannabis on the DUP and its clinical correlates. Methods: During years 2014−2019, sixty-two FEP patients with and without cannabis use disorder (CUD) were recruited from several Italian psychiatric hospitals. The subjects were then divided into two groups based on the duration of the DUP and assessed at the beginning of the antipsychotic treatment and after 3 and 6 months, using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale, and the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES-II). Results: As expected, a longer DUP was associated with worse symptoms and cannabis use did not seem to affect the DUP, but both were related with more dissociative symptoms at onset and over time. Discussion: According to our study, cannabis use can be a predictor of FEP and DUP, and of disease outcome. However, several factors might influence the relationship between cannabis use and DUP. Preventing cannabis use and early diagnosis of psychotic disorders might impact the disease by reducing the persistence of symptoms and limiting dissociative experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12632
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH)
Volume18
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • DUP
  • cannabis
  • dissociation
  • first-episode psychosis
  • schizophrenia

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