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Psychosis is a mental condition marked by hallucinations and delusions that causes a disconnection from reality. Hallucinations are sensory distortions that occur without the presence of an actual external stimulus. They might be aural, olfactory, visual, or related to any other sensory modality. A delusion is a mistaken perception of reality that an individual clings to despite the availability of opposing evidence. As per the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 3 out of every 100 people may experience a psychotic episode at a certain point in their lives (NAMI).

Psychotic symptoms can arise in the context of a variety of mental health conditions as well as substance abuse. Psychotic episodes can occur in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Psychosis can also be linked with alcohol or drug abuse in some cases. LSD, peyote, PCP, and magic mushrooms may be the first drugs that spring to mind when thinking of hallucinogenic drugs. While these medicines may cause radically altered frames of consciousness as well as certain psychotic symptoms on a regular basis, drug-induced psychosis can be caused by a variety of other substances when taken over a long length of time and in big enough doses.

In some circumstances, psychosis is caused by the withdrawal from a substance rather than the main intoxication. Some types of substance abuse may also increase the likelihood of developing schizophrenia in people who are predisposed to it. A higher psychotic response to certain substances, such as LSD, may be linked to having a hereditary predisposition for schizophrenia development.

In a study of first-episode psychosis patients brought to the hospital, 74 percent had been identified with a substance use disorder (SUD) at a certain point in their lives, and 62 percent fit the criteria for SUD at the onset of the psychotic episode. These types of studies highlight the link between substance addiction and psychosis. When substance abuse or withdrawal causes psychotic symptoms, crisis intervention techniques and medical detox may be required.

While different psychoactive medications have distinct effects on the brain, they all do so in some fashion, and taking too much of one or mixing drugs might cause a psychotic reaction. Alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, hallucinogens, opioids, marijuana, and sedative-hypnotics are all substances that can lead to or produce psychosis.

Psychosis is a mental health condition characterized by the inability to distinguish between thoughts, reality, and perceptions. Delusions and visual hallucinations are the most common symptoms of drug-induced psychosis, which create a shift in the person’s consciousness. This makes it difficult for him to tell the difference between what is genuine and what is a product of his or her own thoughts.

Some people use hallucinogenic chemicals expressly for that goal, while others have delusions or hallucinations as a side effect of a drug they were taking for another reason. For example, psychedelics, which include LSD, magic mushrooms, and mescaline, are a type of drug that consumers use for their potential to produce hallucinations and alter perceptions. Cocaine, on the other side, can create hallucinations, though it is rarely used for this purpose.

It’s crucial to remember that, while hallucinations and delusions are common in psychosis, they don’t always indicate the presence of psychosis. Many people who take LSD or other psychedelic substances have these symptoms, but not full-blown psychosis, which is marked by an inability to distinguish reality from fantasy. In other words, most people who use these medicines realize that what they’re seeing or hearing isn’t genuine, but rather a side effect.

How Long Does Drug-Induced Psychosis Last?

It is usually just transient, lasting only a few hours or days at most. It is, however, a highly significant symptom that frequently necessitates immediate medical attention. One out of every 5 people who have a history of psychosis will attempt suicide.

The symptoms usually appear gradually, with the medication’s toxicity increasing as the dosage and frequency of the substance use increases with habit. If you have a mental health problem, taking psychoactive drugs will certainly exacerbate your symptoms, cause excessive paranoia, and hasten the onset of psychotic diseases including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Even if you aren’t diagnosed with a co-occurring mental condition, heavy drug and alcohol use might lead to psychotic symptoms.

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of drug-induced psychosis:

  • Paranoia
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Antisocial conduct
  • Confusion

Symptoms of Delusion

Delusions occur when you think and feel something is happening that is not reflective of reality, and you dismiss any objections to these views from others because it feels genuine to you.

Delusions can take many forms, including:

  • Persecution delusions are when you think someone is watching you.
  • Jealousy delusions frequently involve a partner, in which you assume they have been disloyal despite the lack of evidence.
  • Grandiose delusions occur when you have an inflated sense of power, such as believing you have magical talents or have made a significant discovery.

Symptoms of Hallucination

The sensory judgments of what is going on around you are warped in hallucinations. They are most commonly associated with visual or auditory changes, although they can also be linked to smell and touch.

Hallucinations come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including:

  • Hearing voices, like a voice recounting your movements or deeds, or two independent voices disagreeing with each other, are examples of auditory hallucinations.
  • Visual hallucinations are disturbing because they occur when you experience a different reality than others, with shadows, objects, and people that aren’t really there.

Can drug-induced psychosis be permanent?

Although there is no evidence that drug-induced psychosis is irreversible, psychotic symptoms settled in about 60 percent of cases within one month of ending illegal drug use, in about 30 percent of cases psychotic symptoms remained for 1 to 6 months after abandoning illegal drug use, and in about 10 percent of cases, psychotic symptoms remained for more than 6 months after ending illicit drug use.

Substance-induced psychosis is a mental health disorder in which the beginning of psychotic episodes or signs of the psychotic disorder can be linked to the use of a drug or alcohol (onset during withdrawal or onset during intoxication). You might have psychotic episodes only when you’re using or only when you’re not. It’s possible that you’ll get this disorder while recovering from a substance use problem.

When you have a psychotic disorder, you may lose your capacity to distinguish between what is genuine and what isn’t. The impact of alcohol or any drug you may be doing can exacerbate this sense of separation from reality. The substance-induced psychotic disorder is a serious illness that necessitates medical treatment.

If you or a dear one is having a psychotic episode, see your doctor for testing and information about treatment options. While not everyone has a psychotic episode, in the same way, certain signs and symptoms can indicate that you or someone you care about is having one, including:

  • Seeing, hearing, or smelling things that aren’t there are known as hallucinations.
  • Delusions include believing you’re being watched or hearing.
  • Religious delusions, such as believing that a deity is communicating with you in a specific way
  • Problems separating fantasy from reality, such as picturing a close relationship with a superstar
  • Problems with self-care, such as forgetting to bathe and eat, or hoarding items
  • Paranoia and suspicion, including suspicions that loved ones, organizations, or others are attempting to hurt you or are “out to get you.”
  • Difficulty speaking clearly, including stuttering and disorganized speech
  • Sound, odor, or other sensory stimulation causes hypersensitivity.
  • A lack of emotional reactions or a bland affect

In persons who are already predisposed to schizophrenia, drug use, particularly overuse or misuse, is thought to induce symptoms. Many persons who abuse methamphetamines, for example, develop psychotic symptoms as a result of their drug usage. In these settings, drug-induced paranoia is prevalent. However, if there is an underlying diagnosis of schizophrenia, this qualifies as drug-induced schizophrenia. This drug-induced psychosis can cause a recurrence in persons who are being managed for and recovering from previous bouts of schizophrenia.

This can happen to anyone, whether or not they are aware of their schizophrenia. As a result, it may appear that people who have drug-induced schizophrenia symptoms are developing mental illness as a result of their drug use. But, in reality, they had schizophrenia and may have even had symptoms of it, though this may not have been obvious prior to a drug-induced psychotic episode.

The DSM-5 divides drug-induced psychosis and schizophrenia in other ways as well, as per The American Journal of Psychiatry, with the key distinction being the length of the psychotic episode. People who develop schizophrenia after experiencing substance-induced psychosis are genetically susceptible to schizophrenia, according to studies.

Furthermore, persons who experience drug-induced psychosis but do not develop schizophrenia do not share the same genetic predisposition to schizophrenia. As a result, while drug use does not cause schizophrenia, it does have the potential to precipitate schizophrenic episodes.

Unfortunately, schizophrenia continues to be widely misunderstood and stigmatized. People suffering from this mental disease would be better able to seek the therapy they need and deserve if more and more reliable information was provided. While drug misuse can certainly lead to a schizophrenic episode, there is no evidence that it causes schizophrenia. This is what the term “drug-induced schizophrenia” refers to.

Regardless of whether a drug-induced schizophrenic episode occurs or not, a considerable percentage of people with schizophrenia consume drugs, which can lead to the recurrence of schizophrenic symptoms or make them worse. This is why dual diagnosis treatment is so important for those who have both of these issues.

Treatment must tackle both mental illness and drug usage in order to help those who truly need it. Dual diagnosis treatment allows you to do just that. Many people suffering from mental problems are well-known for self-medicating using risky and destructive substances. As a result, in order to successfully refrain from drug and alcohol consumption, it is required to address both the mental disease and the substance usage. It’s doubtful that a person would make a full recovery if only the addiction or mental disease is addressed because there will be other residual problems linked with the untreated condition.

You must understand the severity of drug-induced psychosis. It’s a bad idea to assume the person will be fine once they’ve come down from their high. Psychotic outbursts caused by drugs can be quite harmful. Several persons who have had similar experiences say they have seriously pondered suicide.

A drug-induced psychosis requires immediate medical attention. If the person refuses to seek care on their own, you may have to make every attempt to get them to the emergency department.

A healthcare professional can provide drugs to someone who is suffering from drug-induced psychosis. These drugs lessen the severity of certain symptoms, particularly dangerous hallucinations.

Some of the most fundamental things you can do to assist someone suffering from drug-induced psychosis is:

  • Allow the person to speak without being interrupted.
  • Avoid making quick judgments.
  • Inquire about what might make them feel better.
  • Allow the individual to communicate at their own pace.

After you’ve obtained all of the information, you can contact an outside source for assistance with the next stages. A 911 call should be made if the person is contemplating self-harm or injuring others. A call to a physician or a rehab clinic is a sensible next step if the person appears stable but is just troubled. The sooner the person receives the necessary assistance, the better.

It’s also important to keep in mind that this might not be a one-time occurrence. Symptoms of drug-induced psychosis might last for years in some persons. Fergie, the singer, had visual hallucinations for a year after she became sober. It’s possible that you’ll need to keep talking about psychosis and hallucinations long after the person is sober. You can provide a great lot of aid and comfort to the person you love by acting as a trusted outsider, and this could be crucial to their rehabilitation.

What to Avoid

Psychosis is a serious and dangerous condition. That is to say, you should not dismiss anything the other person says during the interaction. Although the thoughts and experiences described by the individual may not appear genuine to you, they are extremely real to the person with whom you are conversing. Take those remarks seriously and make sure you take the necessary steps to protect the individual you care about and your community.

It’s also important to remember that warning signs, even if they’re subtle or slow to appear, should not be ignored. Psychosis does not always manifest itself in the form of strong, obvious symptoms. You might only notice a minor change in behavior. Taking action on those minor modifications could be crucial in halting the damage before it becomes too severe to control.

Steps to Take Next

When someone you care about is suffering from psychosis, as previously stated, you should seek help. This is not something you can treat at home, and despite your best efforts, it is unlikely to go away. Someone suffering from drug-induced psychosis need treatment to quit using the drugs, as well as ongoing support to deal with the symptoms when they reappear.

When someone in your family exhibits these symptoms, you must seek treatment for them. The police may be able to assist you in some circumstances. Medical professionals are also required in some cases. Do not be frightened to seek assistance. The person you care about is counting on you.

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