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Mol Psychiatry. 1999 Nov;4(6):512-23.

Neurobiological basis of relapse prediction in stimulant-induced psychosis and schizophrenia: the role of sensitization.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Jichi Medical School, Tochigi 329-0498, Japan.


A number of consistent clinical observations provide direction for the hypothesis that pathological sensitization of neuronal systems may be an important factor for relapse or the onset of stimulant-induced psychosis (eg, methamphetamine or amphetamine psychosis, cocaine psychosis and phencyclidine psychosis) and schizophrenia. First, psychotic symptoms can be produced in normal subjects by stimulants. Secondly, a large portion of schizophrenic patients exhibit exacerbation of psychotic symptoms in response to stimulants at doses which would not be psychotogenic in normal subjects. Lastly, the ability of stress to precipitate the onset and relapse of schizophrenia is well documented. In this regard, acute responses to stimulants provide useful information for relapse prediction of schizophrenia and substance abuse. This paper addresses the nature and role of pathological sensitization in relapse of stimulant- and phencyclidine-induced psychosis and schizophrenia, and its relation to pathophysiology of schizophrenia.

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