Politics Magazine

Psychosis Is Bad for Your Brain

Posted on the 16 March 2018 by Calvinthedog

The problem of psychosis is not only the devastating social and societal effects it has on individuals and their effects on society. New research suggests that going psychotic is bad for your body itself.

These active psychotic processes seem to cause actual damage to the brain – consequently the negative symptoms seen later which may be a manifestation of that. In acute psychosis, you often get excess dopamine flooding out of dopamine neurons – in fact, L-Dopa, a dopamine drug given to Parkinson’s Disease characterized by dying dopamine neurons has the side effect of acute psychosis. It is thought that the excess dopamine flooding out of these neurons may damage these neurons or the connections.

Damaged dopamine neurons could cause the flattened affect, boredom and “staring at  your shoe for 10 hours” negative symptoms that occur later in the illness as some of these same symptoms are characteristic of Parkinson’s. Any major flooding you get out of neurons might damage the neuron. MDMA causes massive outflows of serotonin and it definitely damages serotonin neurons or more precisely the connections between them. The connections are damaged and become shorter and frayed. They do grow back but they typically don’t grow back to their full length and breadth. You get massive outflows of dopamine with methamphetamine also, and increasing evidence shows that this drug can also damage the brain, once again more the connections (dendrites) rather than the cells themselves.

You hear over and over how drugs kill brain cells but they don’t usually do that. It is more common that they damage the connections or they make it so a certain receptor on a particular type of cell does not work quite as well. Your brain cells are dying off all the time anyway, as they peak at age 23 and then drop off every year until death (this is why musical and mathematics prodigies peak very early in life – music and math benefit by high fluid intelligence or sheer brain speed.

Bottom line is being psychotic is bad for your brain. That’s as good a reason as any to get a handle on any active psychotic process.


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