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NAMI Launches Schizophrenia Website

NAMI has launched a new website to provide up-to-date information on schizophrenia to individuals, families and others. The website is currently highlighting two areas of recent research relating to onset of schizophrenia:

Omega-3 Fish Oil: “Fish Oil” supplements may help prevent psychosis during critical years of brain development. One new study shows that taking Omega3 not only reduces the risk of psychotic disorders developing further, but may also prevent psychosis from developing in young children with a predisposition for psychotic states.

Marijuana: Smoking marijuana is increasingly seen as a casual factor that can trigger onset of schizophrenia in some people. As an environmental factor, marijuana is believed to “trigger” genetic factors, increasing the risk of psychotic incidents and ongoing experiences. Corroborating this evidence is a study released in February 2011 which found smoking of marijuana led to earlier onset of schizophrenia and almost always preceded the manifestation of the illness. The opinion that marijuana is a cause of schizophrenia as opposed to a byproduct is qualified by another study released in February which found that certain genetic variations increased the effects that marijuana had on triggering psychosis. This body of literature is strengthening the evidence for the risks that marijuana poses for the development of schizophrenia.

Treatment: A new antipsychotic medication named lurasidone was approved by the U.S.Food and Drug Administration in February 2011 and is distributed under the brand name Latuda. Lurasidone has been shown to be effective on both positive and negative symptoms, as well as possibly be efficacious in treating cognitive and memory deficits.

Anosognosia: About one-half of people living with schizophrenia and a smaller percentage who live with bipolar disorder have anosognosia, more commonly known as a lack of insight. This lack of insight is believed to be a result of difficulty in the neurological processes in the frontal lobe of the brain. The condition can lead to tension within families and complicate treat-ment. Why would a person go to appointments, take medication or engage in therapy if they don’t think they are ill? Assisted Outpatient Treatment, if implemented, can provide the intervention that is necessary to keep these individuals out of the hospital and out of jail.