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When you think of drug-related psychotic symptoms, images of LSD or magic mushrooms may come to mind. Hallucinogenic drugs, such as acid, psilocybin, peyote, mushrooms, or PCP, have always been known for the perceptional distortions they commonly cause. It can be truly frightening when experiencing psychotic hallucinations and/or delusions, as a break with reality leaves the person confused and afraid.
Believe it or not, just about any substance that alters consciousness can cause psychotic events. Even the seemingly benign marijuana, especially in its current, more potent form, can cause hallucinations. For some who experience substance-related psychosis, the experience dissipates as the drug cycles through the bloodstream. Others, however, may have lingering psychotic symptoms that persist, impairing daily life and disrupting relationships. For these individuals, drug induced psychosis recovery programs can safely guide them back to normal functioning while also treating the drug addiction.
What Causes Drug-Induced Psychosis?
Psychosis is defined as a loss of contact with reality, including symptoms of visual, tactile, and auditory hallucinations, delusional thoughts, and paranoia. Behavior may become erratic, even violent, and thoughts and speech may be incoherent. While true that someone may experience perceptional anomalies the first time they use a particular intoxicant if too much was ingested, in most cases psychotic symptoms are the result of repeated use over a lengthy period of time. Other causes of psychosis can be due to the side effects from mixing more than one intoxicant, or possibly an adverse effect caused by the body’s reaction to the drug.
Some prescription medications can have rare psychotic side effects, including:
- Muscle relaxers
- Blood pressure medications
- Chemotherapy drugs
Which Drugs Cause Drug-Induced Psychosis?
While any intoxicant is capable of causing psychotic symptoms, certain drugs have a much higher potential for these effects. They include:
- Methamphetamine. Using meth can cause a sensation of bugs crawling on the skin, paranoia, auditory and visual hallucinations, and persecution delusions.
- Marijuana. Heavy cannabis users are six times more likely to develop schizophrenia than non-users.
- Cocaine. About half of regular cocaine users will develop symptoms of psychosis, including persecution delusions and tactile hallucinations.
- Alcohol. Mental confusion, delusions, and disorientation can be caused by alcohol abuse.
- Psychedelic drugs. After repeated use of drugs such as LSD or PCP individuals may experience psychotic symptoms
- Ecstasy. Even one time using ecstasy can cause persistent psychosis, antisocial behavior, and panic attacks.
- Ketamine. Ketamine can cause psychotic symptoms such as disordered thoughts, incoherent speech, delusions, and cognitive impairment.
Symptoms of Drug-induced Psychotic Disorder
When the symptoms that mimic psychosis do not subside once the drug is out of the system a mental illness, such as schizophrenia, may be the cause. Most drug-related psychosis will dissipate after abstaining from the substance of abuse. However, in cases when the drug abuse is prolonged and extensive, the psychotic symptoms may not only emerge, but may persist.
According to the diagnostic criteria for drug-induced psychotic disorder, a diagnosis is likely when the psychotic symptoms are severe and continue after usual withdrawal symptoms. The criteria include:
- When the symptoms are not explained by a psychotic mental health disorder
- When evidence from a medical exam, lab reports, and patient history show that psychotic symptoms developed during drug use, or within one month of withdrawal
- When there are delusions and/or hallucinations present
- When psychotic symptoms do not occur only during episodes of delirium
- When symptoms cause serious impairment in daily functioning
Inpatient Treatment and Drug Induced Psychosis Recovery
Acute stabilization in a hospital setting may be necessary if the psychosis is severe or if the individual is a danger to him or herself, or others. Once someone is ready to enter treatment, a thorough intake evaluation will be conducted, including a physical exam, review of past mental health and medical histories, an intake interview, and various psychological assessments to determine whether the psychosis is drug related or not. If it is determined to be drug-related, the individual may need to complete a medically supervised detox before entering treatment. Detox may last one week or longer depending on the history of drug abuse and how much of the substance was usually ingested.
After detox is completed, the individual will begin to receive psychotherapy, both individual and group formats. Peer support, medications, such as anti-psychotic drugs, 12-step meetings, and holistic therapies round out the addiction recovery program for individuals diagnosed with drug-induced psychotic disorder.
Solutions 4 Recovery Assists Drug Induced Psychosis Recovery
Solutions 4 Recovery is a leading addiction and dual diagnosis center located in Orange County, California. Solutions 4 Recovery provides the necessary treatment for someone who is experiencing psychotic features due to substance abuse. Once it is determined that the psychosis is related to a substance and not due to mental illness, the expert clinical team at Solutions 4 Recovery will devise a custom treatment plan. The integrated program is designed to promote drug induced psychosis recovery through a blend of evidence-based and experiential therapies. For more information about the program, please contact Solutions 4 Recovery today at (888) 417-1874.