Perspectives of cannabis use in the life experience of men with schizophrenia

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Abstract

Substance use amongst people with schizophrenia is well-established: up to 50% report using illicit substances. The occurrence of both conditions can also induce people to disengage from mental health services. The research question sought to understand, from the perspective of both service users and clinicians, cannabis use within the experience of people with schizophrenia. The transcripts of the seven participants and the two focus groups were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Service Users and Clinicians were recruited from Assertive outreach community-based teams. seven male service users who described their ethnic identity as ‘black’, diagnosed with schizophrenia and a history of treatment disengagement and 12 clinicians who worked with this client group. The two component study involved semi-structured interviews with the Service Users and two focus groups with the Clinicians. Service Users perceived cannabis use as a means by which they could ‘reestablish their identity’ that had been damaged and the social consequences of diagnosis. Clinicians similarly perceived drugs, cannabis in particular, as a significant part of the service users' life. This study provides greater depth to understanding cannabis use within the experience of people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

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