JIS News

Health officials are appealing to the public to discourage schizophrenics from smoking marijuana (ganja).
This appeal comes against the background of recent deadly attacks on persons by a family member, with a history of mental illness, namely schizophrenia.
The illness is defined as any of a group of psychotic disorders, usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking and hallucinations accompanied in varying degrees by other emotional, behavioural or intellectual disturbances.
Dr. Earl Wright, Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in the Ministry of Health told JIS News that family and friends should do as much as was humanly possible to prevent schizophrenics from using ganja or any other substances. On a whole, the Director said individuals with schizophrenia were generally not violent. However, he added that health officials have observed that schizophrenics, while taking their medication, sometimes used ganja, which made them become violent. “It is absolutely important that individuals with schizophrenia do not smoke ganja. If they do, a lot of the time the illness will be exacerbated,” he stressed.
Explaining further, the Director said that persons with schizophrenia tended to be paranoid, having feelings that individuals were trying to harm them, coupled with irritability. Therefore, when using ganja, the paranoia increased along with the propensity to become violent.
“What the medication does is to help them not to be paranoid.it decreases it. The use of ganja actually increases the paranoia and negates the effect of the medication, therefore the need to stress the importance of not smoking ganja,” the Director pointed out.
“Even if you are not schizophrenic, sometimes individuals who smoke ganja can have paranoid ideation, but that depends on the individual,” he noted, adding that it was dependent also on the quantity used.

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