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PHENCYCLIDINE PSYCHOSIS - PHENOMENOLOGY AND TREATMENT (FROM PHENCYCLIDINE (PCP) ABUSE - AN APPRAISAL, 1978, BY ROBERT C PETERSON AND RICHARD C STILLMAN)

NCJ Number
53659
Author(s)
P V LUISADA
Date Published
1978
Length
13 pages
Annotation
THE DIAGNOSIS AND CLINICAL MANAGEMENT OF PSYCHOSIS ASSOCIATED WITH PHENCYCLIDINE (PCP) USE ARE DISCUSSED, WITH REFERENCE TO EXPERIENCES WITH PCP USERS IN A WASHINGTON, D.C., COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH CENTER.
Abstract
ADMISSION RATES FOR WHAT APPEARED TO BE UNUSUALLY LONG, SEVERE, TREATMENT-RESISTANT INITIAL SCHIZOPHRENIC PSYCHOSES REACHED EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS AT THE CENTER ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS. ALL OF THE PATIENTS ADMITTED WERE FOUND TO HAVE SMOKED PCP (ALSO KNOWN AS ANGEL DUST) PRIOR TO THE ONSET OF THEIR PSYCHOSES. VIOLENTLY AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR WAS CHARACTERISTIC OF THAT ONSET, AND OFTEN 2 WEEKS OF INTENSIVE INPATIENT TREATMENT WAS REQUIRED BEFORE RESOLUTION BEGAN. THE SYMPTOMS OF PCP ARE DESCRIBED, AND THE HISTORY OF THE DRUG AND ITS ILLICIT MANUFACTURE AND ABUSE IS REVIEWED BRIEFLY, AS IS THE HISTORY OF THE MENTAL HEALTH CENTER'S EPIDEMICS. THE COURSE OF THE PSYCHOSIS AND ITS THREE-STAGE CLINICAL MANAGEMENT IS TRACED FOR 11 PATIENTS. THE CENTER'S EXPERIENCE WITH THESE PATIENTS IS SAID TO SUPPORT FINDINGS OF STUDIES LINKING SCHIZOPHRENIA WITH SENSITIVITY TO PCP. HOWEVER, RATHER THAN BEING EXTREME FOR SCHIZOPHRENICS AND MILD FOR OTHERWISE NORMAL PERSONS, SENSITIVITY TO PCP APPARENTLY COVERS A WIDE SPECTRUM, WITH MANY PATIENTS FALLING BETWEEN THE TWO EXTREMES. ONE IMPLICATION IS THAT THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN HAVING AND NOT HAVING SCHIZOPHRENIA MAY NOT BE CLEAR CUT. THE LIKEHOOD THAT THE INCIDENCE OF PCP PSYCHOSIS IS UNDERREPORTED IS NOTED. DIRECTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH AND PREVENTIVE ACTIONS ARE SUGGESTED. IT IS PREDICTED THAT, BECAUSE POTENTIAL USERS ARE IGNORANT OF THE UNPREDICTABLE EFFECTS OF PCP AND BECAUSE THE DRUG IS RELATIVELY EASY TO MANUFACTURE ILLLICITY, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA'S EPIDEMIC MAY BECOME THE NATION'S. A LIST OF REFERENCES IS INCLUDED. (LKM)