The number of hospital admissions for people who are suffering from a drug-related mental health condition has hit an all-time high in the UK, according to new figures released by the NHS.
There were 82,135 hospital admissions in the period between April 2016 and April 2017 with a primary or secondary diagnosis of drug-related mental and behavioural disorders. This compares with 81,904 over the same period a year earlier and just 38,170 back in 2006-07.
Many of the mental and behavioural disorders that were included in the statistics are likely to have been caused by the taking of cannabis or amphetamines, according to experts.
“Think of the name of a drug and add psychosis on the end,” said Ian Hamilton, a former mental health nurse who now researches substance use and mental health at the University of York, as reported by The Guardian.
“Amphetamine psychosis and cannabis psychosis are the main ones on the acute wards.”
But the increase in drug-related mental health problems may also be as a result of various new trends in recreational drug taking. The increased use of synthetic cannabinoids and other psychoactive substances, even Xanax, are likely to have had an impact on the shocking stats.
Plus, when patients are treated, they are often unwilling to disclose the exact drugs they have consumed. All medics have to go on are rudimentary urine tests to determine the general category of drug the patient has ingested. “Those toxicology screens are crude to say the least,” York added. “Most of it is urinalysis. It will give you a yes or no. It may give you a cannabinoid but it won’t tell you what that is.”
The use of cannabis has been scientifically linked to various mental health conditions. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists:
“There is growing evidence that people with serious mental illness, including depression and psychosis, are more likely to use cannabis or have used it for long periods of time in the past. Regular use of the drug has appeared to double the risk of developing a psychotic episode or long-term schizophrenia.”
One particular study on the links between cannabis usage and depression was particularly shocking:
“A study following 1600 Australian school-children, aged 14 to 15 for seven years, found that while children who use cannabis regularly have a significantly higher risk of depression, the opposite was not the case – children who already suffered from depression were not more likely than anyone else to use cannabis. However, adolescents who used cannabis daily were five times more likely to develop depression and anxiety in later life.”