Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that disrupts the lives of millions, yet no clear cause or cure is known. The clues are there, but where do we go from here to come up with better solutions for this complex mental health issue, which often erupts during the already-stressful college years? Jeff St. Clair of WKSU (89.7 FM) spoke recently with Erik Messamore, M.D., Ph.D., to gain a better understanding the changes the brain undergoes as people transition into adulthood.
Excerpted from the interview:
“While mostly genetic, environmental risk factors can trigger the onset of symptoms, says Messamore. Stress, certain infections, and a plant that’s gaining popularity as a medicine: marijuana. Messamore believes society is drastically underestimating the risks young people face from cannabis use.
‘During adolescence the brain is rewiring itself – it’s doing massive amounts of reorganization,’ he says, ‘and this potently brain active chemical can interact in who knows how many ways.’’’
Dr. Messamore, an associate professor of psychiatry, is also the medical director of NEOMED’s Best Practices in Schizophrenia Treatment (BeST) Center. He serves as an advocate for improved identification and treatment of schizophrenia.