The profile and structure of psychiatric symptoms in people who use methamphetamine (PhD exit seminar)

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A wide range of psychiatric symptoms are associated with methamphetamine use, and it is not clear how this profile of symptoms may differ between people with methamphetamine-associated psychosis (MAP) and those with schizophrenia (SZ). The current thesis aimed to investigate the profile and underlying structure of psychiatric symptoms in people who use methamphetamine. This aim was addressed in a series of studies that (i) canvassed the existing evidence for specific psychiatric symptoms with the MAP syndrome, (ii) investigated the underlying factor structure of psychiatric symptoms in frequent methamphetamine users, (iii) tested whether distinct typologies of methamphetamine users can be identified based on their profile of psychiatric symptoms, and investigated how these typologies correspond to a diagnosis of SZ , and (iv) examined whether methamphetamine use was associated with the prevalence of different psychiatric symptoms among people with primary psychotic disorders (study five). In this seminar, Alexandra will present findings from her PhD research and discuss implications for future research and clinical practice.

About Alexandra

Alexandra Voce is a Ph.D candidate at the Centre for Research on Ageing, Health & Wellbeing (CRAHW). Alexandra commenced her Ph.D in July 2015, after graduating from the University of Canberra with 1st class Honours in Psychology during 2014. Alexandra's research investigates the relationship between illicit drug use and psychotic disorders, with a particular focus on methamphetamine-related psychosis. With funding from ACT Health, Alexandra conducted an extensive survey of 189 people in the ACT region who frequently used methamphetamine, with this data forming the basis of her PhD research. This Ph.D was supervised by Rebecca McKetin (UNSW), Richard Burns (ANU), Bianca Calabria (ANU), and David Castle (UniMelb).