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Predictors of paranoia amongst regular methamphetamine users

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Ebert, Russ Harvey (2010) Predictors of paranoia amongst regular methamphetamine users. Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

LITERATURE REVIEW Use of methamphetamine is associated with considerable physical and
psychological burden. Methamphetamine-induced psychosis has been recognised as
having considerable impact on emergency services. The condition is characterised by
severe paranoid ideation. Whilst much research has been carried out in the respective
fields of paranoia and of methamphetamine-induced psychosis, little research has
been conducted into the predictors of subclinical paranoia amongst regular
methamphetamine users. Such research is important as it may lead to greater
awareness amongst methamphetamine users of the precursors to clinical psychosis
and aid health practitioners in the management of such cases.
Biological models of paranoia implicate the role of excessive dopamine in the
mesolimbic pathway. Use of methamphetamine leads to a substantial increase in
synaptic dopamine levels along this pathway. It is likely that this action is
responsible for the increased risk of paranoia and associated psychotic symptoms
amongst methamphetamine users. Existing literature suggests specific predictors of
methamphetamine-induced psychosis include drug purity, dependence and
concomitant cannabis use. Cannabis may contribute to paranoia via a unique,
possibly non-dopaminergic, mechanism, further increasing the risk of psychosis
amongst regular users of both drugs. Psychological models of paranoia vary but
commonly implicate role of anxiety. Future research into the relationship between
methamphetamine and paranoia should seek to identify the strongest predictors of
paranoid ideation amongst regular methamphetamine users. EMPIRICAL STUDY Methamphetamine-induced psychosis places considerable burden on the
individual and on broader society. Paranoia is a core symptom of this condition. The
present study identifies several key variables that predict sub-clinical experience of
paranoia within a population of methamphetamine users. Participants were 239
regular substance users who had consumed methamphetamine in the 6 months
preceding interview. Participants were interviewed about their history of substance
use and provided detailed demographic data. Levels of methamphetamine
dependence, anxiety and paranoid ideation were assessed using the Severity of
Dependence Scale, Kessler-10 Psychological Distress Scale (Kessler et al., 2002) and
Paranoia Scale (Fenigstein & Vanable, 1992) respectively. Results indicate that
anxiety is the strongest predictor of paranoia amongst the sample, accounting for
40% of the variance in the latent paranoia variable. In addition to anxiety,
methamphetamine dependence, pre-existing mental health conditions and
concomitant frequent cannabis use were all found to be significant predictors of
paranoia after controlling for demographic variables. There is some evidence that
methamphetamine purity, route of administration and frequency of use are also
factors in the development of paranoid ideation. These findings are generally
supportive of existing literature and have implications for the treatment of
individuals who are dependent on methamphetamine or suffer elevated paranoia.

Item Type: Thesis (Coursework Master)
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2010 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Available for use in the Library and copying in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968, as amended. Thesis (MPsych(Clin))--University of Tasmania, 2010. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 00:14
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:53
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