Psychosis and oxidative stress

Dr. Weeks’ Comments:  Too much stress and leads to too much adrenalin. Too much adrenalin is life threatening. What happens when people are overwhelmed and experience too much stress and the resulting too much adrenalin?  Fortunately, the human “auto-pilot” takes over and lowers the adrenalin (despite on going high stress and sleep deprivation) converting excess adrenalin to the oxidized metabolite “adrenochrome” which is not a stressor but which is an hallucinogen.  So, seen in this light, the psychosis is NOT the problem. It is the SOLUTION to the problem.  The problem was excess adrenalin which can be lethal.  (Wortsman, Frank and Cryer recorded extraordinarily high plasma levels of adrenalin in patients resuscitated from cardiac arrest.)

The cost of lowering that adrenalin is transient, high adrenochrome and the resulting  psychosis. This is the healing stage. It is not the problem, it is the wise adaptive response to the problem.  I recommend that people treat the problem: high adrenochrome and not the symptom: psychosis.  

Now, the role of anti-oxidants and anti-stress agents are coming into focus.  Ask your doctor to learn about this biochemical process which underlies psychosis and which can be corrected without resorting to synthetic medications which are not entirely benign. We have recommended NAC which converts to glutathione – a naturally occurring anti-psychotic substance.  

(PS:   what is the human  “auto-pilot” I referred to above?  It is the wisdom within which responds to problems created by the “pilot”  (i.e. you making decisions)  by inducing diarrhea to eliminate toxins, to vomit up poison accidentally ingested – to get a fever to burn off bacterial infections. )


“…Our study shows a decrease in the antioxidant defense system in early onset first episode psychotic patients…”



BMC Psychiatry. 2011 Feb 14;11:26. doi: 10.1186/1471-244X-11-26.

Reduced antioxidant defense in early onset first-episode psychosis: a case-control study.

Micó JA, Rojas-Corrales MO, Gibert-Rahola J, Parellada M, Moreno D, Fraguas D, Graell M, Gil J, Irazusta J, Castro-Fornieles J, Soutullo C, Arango C, Otero S, Navarro A, Baeza I, Martínez-Cengotitabengoa M, González-Pinto A.


Department of Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Psychiatry, School of Medicine, CIBERSAM, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental. University of Cádiz, Spain.



Our objective is to determine the activity of the antioxidant defense system at admission in patients with early onset first psychotic episodes compared with a control group.


Total antioxidant status (TAS) and lipid peroxidation (LOOH) were determined in plasma. Enzyme activities and total glutathione levels were determined in erythrocytes in 102 children and adolescents with a first psychotic episode and 98 healthy controls.


A decrease in antioxidant defense was found in patients, measured as decreased TAS and glutathione levels. Lipid damage (LOOH) and glutathione peroxidase activity was higher in patients than controls. Our study shows a decrease in the antioxidant defense system in early onset first episode psychotic patients.



Glutathione deficit seems to be implicated in psychosis, and may be an important indirect biomarker of oxidative stress in early-onset schizophrenia. Oxidative damage is present in these patients, and may contribute to its pathophysiology….



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *