People With Schizophrenia May Smoke to Self-Medicate

Schizophrenia is associated with very high rates of tobacco smoking. The latter may be related to an attempt to self-medicate symptoms and/or to alterations in function of high-affinity β2-subunit-containing nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (β2*-nAChRs).

Smoking and nonsmoking subjects with schizophrenia (n = 31) and age-, smoking-, and sex-matched comparison subjects (n = 31) participated in one [123I]5-IA-85380 single photon emission computed tomography scan to quantify β2*-nAChR availability. Psychiatric, cognitive, nicotine craving, and mood assessments were obtained during active smoking, as well as smoking abstinence.

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