Tag Archives: psychosis

Drug Induced Psychosis

Drug induced psychosis–also known as substance induced psychotic disorder–refers to an episode of hallucinations and/or delusions experienced as a result of a substance.

This condition can result from the use, misuse, or stop-use of a certain drug. People most often experience drug induced psychosis due to:

  • having too much of a substance
  • an adverse reaction to combined substances
  • during withdrawal from a drug, or 
  • when underlying mental health issues collide with substance use or abuse

Whether it is brought on by prescription medication, illegal drugs, or mental illness, psychosis is a state where the person has “lost touch” with reality.

When the use, misuse, or stop-use of a substance causes psychosis in an individual, the state can generally be described as 'drug induced psychosis"

Drug Induced Psychosis from Meth and Cocaine

Methamphetamine and cocaine are two of the most dangerous illicit stimulants to be discovered. People may seek them out to experience the euphoric “high” effect they give, but use of either can result in an instance of drug-induced psychosis. 

What Is Methamphetamine Induced Psychosis?

In a study examining the potential psychotic effects of methamphetamine use, scientists found that around 40% of people who used meth experience some kind of psychosis. 

Many individuals experienced drug-induced psychosis symptoms consisting of agitation, violence, or delusions. Of the patients who experienced these acute symptoms, some had permanent psychological impacts to the degree that they required continuous psychiatric treatment.  

Other patients experienced even more severe psychotic symptoms including hallucinations, paranoia, and schizophrenic behavior. In short, this study revealed that repeated meth-induced psychosis is capable of causing long-term psychological damage.

What Is Cocaine Induced Psychosis Like? 

In another study, a greater number of cocaine users were recorded as experiencing psychotic symptoms as compared to the earlier meth study. Cocaine saw drug-induced psychosis symptoms in as many as 84% of the individuals who used it. 

Cocaine’s effects have been studied extensively. Research suggests that an overabundance of dopamine in the brain is to blame for cocaine-related symptoms of psychosis. Under normal circumstances, the brain carefully regulates the amount of dopamine that is produced. However, the presence of cocaine causes an overabundance of this neurotransmitter, which results in the “high” that cocaine users seek, closely followed by psychosis. 

In every way that meth psychosis is extremely dangerous, cocaine induced psychosis appears to be even more-so. Cocaine drug induced effects are similar to those of methamphetamines, but also include more violent versions of each manifestation, including:

  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Suicidal and Homicidal Thinking

What Are Long-Term Drug Induced Psychosis Effects?

When someone develops a substance use disorder (SUD) with long-term use, the drug begins to fundamentally alter the brain. This can have a devastating impact on a person’s ability to function normally.

Drug users may feel that meth or cocaine helps them cope with or diminish symptoms of a pre-existing mental illness. However, abuse or even “regular” use of illicit stimulants have been proven to worsen psychological conditions. 

Psychiatric Symptoms of Cocaine Use: Agitation Paranoia Hallucinations Delusions Suicidal and Homicidal Thinking

Is There Such Thing As Alcohol Induced Psychosis?

As a depressant, alcohol may not appear as an obvious threat for causing psychosis, but intoxication or alcohol abuse can lead to psychotic symptoms. 

Often, other symptoms associated with too much alcohol consumption manifest before psychosis has a chance to emerge. Reckless decision-making, slurred speech, lack of coordination, and poor vision are some of the more easily observed warning signs of drunkenness. A person may be too occupied with addressing these other signs to even be aware of whether or not they are experiencing alcohol induced psychosis. 

One study estimated that individuals who have an alcohol dependence only have a four percent chance of experiencing alcohol induced psychosis. Additionally, external factors that can increase the odds of psychotic symptoms occurring include living alone, being unemployed, or having an early-life dependence on alcohol. 

The symptoms of alcohol induced psychosis are similar to those of cocaine and meth, but usually at a lesser level. While not as immediately life-threatening as drunk driving or blood poisoning, an alcohol induced psychosis episode can have lasting impact on a person’s mental health

A psychotic episode can lead to subtle but long-term impacts on the individuals and close loved ones.

The exact reason for why this type of psychosis occurs is unknown. Some have hypothesized that an interference with dopamine or serotonin is to blame. Others guess that the hallucinations are the result of poor circulation in the brain. However it happens, alcohol induced psychosis is not something to be taken lightly.

Recovery from Long Term Drug Induced Psychosis

No matter the affecting substance, drug or alcohol induced psychosis is a serious condition that can lead to life-altering effects. 

If you or someone you know has experienced psychosis after using drugs or alcohol, reach out to us today. Our holistic approach to dual diagnosis therapy can help you get your life back drug-addiction and drug induced psychosis-free.