Stimulants and the Risk for Psychosis: A Study of Individuals at Clinical High Risk and the Relation of Symptoms with Use of Stimulant Medication Open Access

Ryan, Arthur Thomas (2012)

Permanent URL:


Clinical high risk (CHR) individuals display attenuated versions of psychotic symptoms, and are at an increased risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders when compared with the general population. Illicit psychostimulants, such as methamphetamine, are known to exacerbate the symptoms of individuals with schizophrenia. Prescription psychostimulants are chemically similar to illicit psychostimulants and are commonly used to treat the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). No published report has examined the effects of prescription psychostimulants on individuals with CHR.

CHR individuals were administered the Structured Interview for Prodromal Syndromes (SIPS). Participants' prescription drug history was also recorded, along with their use of illicit drugs. Analyses were conducted to compare participants who had used prescription psychostimulants with those that had not, as well as those who had used illicit psychostimulants with those that had not. No significant differences were found between these groups on the positive, negative, disorganized, and general symptom scales of the SIPS. Analysis of the effect of duration of stimulant use also failed to yield significant results. Results suggest that prescription stimulants do not exacerbate the symptoms of CHR individuals and their use in the treatment of attentional problems in CHR individuals is not contraindicated.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents Introduction 1

The Nature and Course of Psychosis 2

Stimulants and Psychosis 4

Other Drugs and Their Relationship to the Symptoms of Psychosis 23

Attention in Schizophrenia and the Prodrome 26

The Overlap of ADHD and the Symptoms of CHR 28

Study Goals and Hypotheses 32

Method 33

Participants and Procedure 33

Measures 34

Results 36

Hypothesis 1 39

Hypothesis 2 40

Hypothesis 3 41

Discussion 41

Findings 41

Limitations 44

Future Research 45

References 47

Table 1 66

Figure 1 67

Figure 2 68

Figure 3 69

Figure 4 70

Figure 5 71

Figure 6 72

Figure 7 73

Figure 8 74

About this Master's Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files