The profile of psychiatric symptoms exacerbated by methamphetamine use

McKetin, Rebecca, Dawe, Sharon, Burns, Richard A., Hides, Leanne, Kavanagh, David J., Teesson, Maree, Young, Ross McD., Voce, Alexandra, & Saunders, John B. (2016) The profile of psychiatric symptoms exacerbated by methamphetamine use. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 161, pp. 104-109.

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Methamphetamine use can produce symptoms almost indistinguishable from schizophrenia. Distinguishing between the two conditions has been hampered by the lack of a validated symptom profile for methamphetamine-induced psychiatric symptoms. We use data from a longitudinal cohort study to examine the profile of psychiatric symptoms that are acutely exacerbated by methamphetamine use.


164 methamphetamine users, who did not meet DSM-IV criteria for a lifetime primary psychotic disorder, were followed monthly for one year to assess the relationship between days of methamphetamine use and symptom severity on the 24-item Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale. Exacerbation of psychiatric symptoms with methamphetamine use was quantified using random coefficient models. The dimensions of symptom exacerbation were examined using principal axis factoring and a latent profile analysis.


Symptoms exacerbated by methamphetamine loaded on three factors: positive psychotic symptoms (suspiciousness, unusual thought content, hallucinations, bizarre behavior); affective symptoms (depression, suicidality, guilt, hostility, somatic concern, self-neglect); and psychomotor symptoms (tension, excitement, distractibility, motor hyperactivity). Methamphetamine use did not significantly increase negative symptoms. Vulnerability to positive psychotic and affective symptom exacerbation was shared by 28% of participants, and this vulnerability aligned with a past year DSM-IV diagnosis of substance-induced psychosis (38% vs. 22%, _2 (df1) = 3.66, p = 0.056).


Methamphetamine use produced a symptom profile comprised of positive psychotic and affective symptoms, which aligned with a diagnosis of substance-induced psychosis, with no evidence of a negative syndrome.

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2 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 95081
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: methamphetamine, amphetamine, psychotic disorders, schizophrenia, substance-related disorders
DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.01.018
ISSN: 0376-8716
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Health Clinical and Counselling Psychology (170106)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Deposited On: 26 Apr 2016 02:56
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2016 01:07

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