Friday, August 31, 2007

Self Medication Tragedy

My friend Eric at Classical Values tells of a self medication tragedy:
Most people who suffer from schizophrenia smoke. A lot.

This is one of those stereotypes that not only happens to be true, but there's a special reason why schizophrenics smoke:
Cigarette smoking may improve attention and short-term memory in persons with schizophrenia by stimulating nicotine receptors in the brain, according to a study by Yale School of Medicine researchers in the June issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry.
This explains not only why they smoke, but why they smoke so much more than people who don't have schizophrenia. They are engaged in self medication.
Why is this a tragedy? Read the whole thing.

And, if the subject of self medication interests you I have written a little on the subject.

PTSD and the Endocannabinoid System
Addiction or Self Medication?
A well known secret

I forgot to mention that nicotine is an anti-depressant, as is marijuana.

Cross Posted at Power and Control


Reliapundit said...

self-medication is almost always bad.
using ciggies or beer or anything for medical reasons is almost always bad.

people who need medication should get it from a professional.

some people who use illegal substances for medical reasons should get implants of legal safe drugs.

M. Simon said...

Well sure.

Get it from professionals. At $40 a visit once a month. Plus a trip to the pharmacy. Plus time and transportation.

Easier to go to the cigarette store down the block. No waiting. And you always get your medicine.

Did I mention that because of the drug war Drs. don't like to give out anti-depressants except in minimal quantities for short stretches?

You know. Because those kinds of drugs have black market value. Because of the stupid drug war. Because Drs. would rather under prescribe than go to jail.

We have pain patients undermedicated because of the drug war.

We have medical research not getting done because of the drug war.

We used to have a right to self medicate. Fortunately we still have the right to visit practitioners licensed by the medical cartel and by drugs from pharmacists licensed by the medical cartel.

There was a time when I needed Tagamet on a regular basis. $40 a month Drs. visit. Plus $40 a month for the medicine. I asked the Dr. why, for a medicine so safe I had to keep coming back to his office. He told me it wasn't safe and would never be over the counter.

Two years later: over the counter.

I appreciate the pharma companies had to get the return on their investment. Why was the Dr. in the loop more than once? Medicine is a racket - to some extent.

Once upon a time people had the right to any drug they wanted for any purpose. That right has been taken away. Now without the imprimatur of the medical shaman you are out of luck.

Better hope that they don't get a hold of Advil or Aspirin. Both of which are dangerous drugs. You can buy an overdose of aspirin for a few bucks. Advil taken regularly can destroy the liver.

Or why is self medicating for colds the normal route? Because we don't have enough doctors to treat all the colds.

BTW the illegal drugs would be safer if they weren't illegal.


OK you are right. Were are we going to find enough prescribers who can get past DEA checks to serve the 50 million or so tobacco smokers who are self medicating?

The only way to serve such a large population cost effectively is to let them self medicate.

We could let them smoke pot - because it is a good, mild anti-depressant and actually seems to kill lung tumors rather than induce them. However, the cigarette cartel wouldn't like that. People might grow their own medicine to keep the costs down. Can't have that.

BTW the folks in the house were known schizos. Why couldn't they get medicated? Something is wrong with the delivery system.

M. Simon said...

Let me give you the short version.

Why did these folks use tobacco instead of getting suitable medicine?

Reliapundit said...


by dr prescription OR COURT ORDER.

they can't be "shared" for profit OR fun.

implant nicotine, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, etc.