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'Meth' and psychosis

Vol. 6, No. 2 / February 2007

In “The ‘meth’ epidemic: Acute intoxication” (Current Psychiatry, November 2006), Drs. J. Michael Bostwick and Timothy W. Lineberry address the striking similarities between schizophrenia symptoms and the residual psychotic features after methamphetamine use. Several risk factors have been associated with methamphetamine psychosis, especially in recently published studies.

One such study associated increased met allele frequency of the catechol-O-methyl transferase with methamphetamine psychosis.1 Another recent study also suggested that Ala/Val polymorphism of the superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) gene could be a risk factor for developing methamphetamine psychosis.2 SOD2 normally protects cells from free radical damage.

Premorbid brain dysfunction and schizotypal and schizoid personality disorders also have been considered risk factors for psychosis among methamphetamine users.3,4

Adegboyega Oyemade, MD
Addiction psychiatry fellow
Yale University
New Haven, CT


1. Suzuki A, Nakamura K, Sekine Y, et al. An association study between catechol-O-methyl transferase gene polymorphism and methamphetamine psychotic disorder. Psychiatric genetics 2006;16(4):133-8.

2. Nakamura K, Chen CK, Sekine Y, et al. An association analysis of SOD2 variants with methamphetamine psychosis in Japanese and Taiwanese populations. Human genetics 2006;120(2):243-52.

3. Fujii D. Risk factors for treatment-resistive methamphetamine psychosis. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 2002;14:239-40.

4. Chen C, Lin S, Sham P, et al. Pre-morbid characteristics and co-morbidity of methamphetamine users with and without psychosis. Psychological Medicine 2003;33(8):1407-14.

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