Teen Psychosis, Linked To An Unexpected Urban Factor

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It seems that, according to the latest reports, urban life has a hidden danger. CNN reported that psychotic experiences are more common among teens who are exposed to the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide and more forms of air pollution.

“One of the most consistent findings over the past few decades has been a link between cities and psychosis,” Joanne Newbury, lead author of the study stated.

She continued and explained that “Children who are born and raised in urban versus rural settings are almost twice as likely to develop psychosis in adulthood.”

Not a cause-effect relationship

The important study has been published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

In it, Newbury and her co-authors analyzed whether psychotic experiences are more common among teens who are exposed to higher levels of air pollution.

Experts used data from a study that involved over 2,000 participants, and all of them were born in England and Wales in 1994 and 1995.

During the study, experts followed up all kids at ages 5,7, 10, 12 and 18. The study’s authors asked them whether they hear strange voices and whether they feel spied on or followed by others.

Dr. Helen Fisher who is a study co-author and a reader of developmental psychopathology at King’s College London, explained that psychotic experiences involve “people who are experiencing things like hearing or seeing things other people don’t or feeling very paranoid.”

Milder symptoms compared to more severe disorders 

She said that such symptoms are softer compared to other extreme forms of psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions which are commonly seen in people with more severe disorders such as schizophrenia.

The study mentioned above has revealed that 623 teens who represented 30% have reported at least one psychotic experience between the ages of 12 and 18 years old.

These were more common among teens who lived in conditions which were more exposed to pollution.


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