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Neurobiological basis of relapse prediction in stimulant-induced psychosis and schizophrenia: the role of sensitization


A number of consistent clinical observations provide direction for the hypothesis that pathological sensitization of neuronal systems may be an important factor for relapse or the onset of stimulant-induced psychosis (eg, methamphetamine or amphetamine psychosis, cocaine psychosis and phencyclidine psychosis) and schizophrenia. First, psychotic symptoms can be produced in normal subjects by stimulants. Secondly, a large portion of schizophrenic patients exhibit exacerbation of psychotic symptoms in response to stimulants at doses which would not be psychotogenic in normal subjects. Lastly, the ability of stress to precipitate the onset and relapse of schizophrenia is well documented. In this regard, acute responses to stimulants provide useful information for relapse prediction of schizophrenia and substance abuse. This paper addresses the nature and role of pathological sensitization in relapse of stimulant- and phencyclidine-induced psychosis and schizophrenia, and its relation to pathophysiology of schizophrenia.

Additional information

An edited symposium of the XXth Collegicum Internationale Neuro Psychopharmacologicum (CINP) Congress held on June 25, 1996 at Melbourne, Australia. This paper included four manuscripts contributed by the four presenters of the XXth CINP Congress.

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Correspondence to S F Ali.

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About this article


  • sensitization
  • stimulant
  • methamphetamine psychosis
  • spontaneous recurrence
  • stress
  • cocaine psychosis
  • noradrenaline
  • dopamine
  • schizophrenia
  • phencyclidine
  • rotational behavior

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