Stimulant-Induced Psychosis

Psychosis is not a specific condition but rather a group of symptoms that come about through mental disorders or drug-induced symptoms. Psychosis is known as a ‘break from reality’ and involves hallucinations, delusions, and overall disrupted perception. A person experiencing psychosis may see, hear, or even feel things that are not actually there. Stimulant-induced psychosis can occur due to stimulant drug abuse. 

Certain drugs can have psychosis as a possible symptom. These episodes can be confusing and dangerous in some cases. Stimulant-induced psychosis in particular can be very stressful and complex. When in combination with constant drug abuse, it can become an intense problem. At the end of the day, psychosis may be just one of several negative symptoms a person will experience. 

Additionally, a person may experience psychosis through the intense withdrawal symptoms that emerge from not taking the drug. Dealing with psychosis can be a stressful and problematic situation for everyone involved. If you or a loved one is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, it may be time to get help. No matter how bad things may appear, Coastal Detox can be the guiding light in the darkness. 

Stimulant-Induced Psychosis

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis is a group of symptoms that disrupt a person’s perception of the world around them. These can include several hallucinations, a sense of confusion, and hearing/seeing things that aren’t there. Psychosis is always associated with another mental disorder or underlying cause; it is not a condition that is developed. This is where stimulant-induced psychosis comes into play. Certain drugs, such as stimulants, can have psychosis as one of its symptoms. 

Hallucinations vs. Delusions

Hallucinations and delusions are two of the biggest and most common indicators of psychosis. They both disrupt a person’s thoughts and feelings; however, they are different from each other. Hallucinations are auditory and visual disturbances or sensory simulations. A person will hear, see, or even feel things that aren’t actually there in reality. When someone abuses certain drugs, they will most likely experience visual or auditory 

Delusions are another prime example of psychosis symptoms. Delusions are different from hallucinations in that they are not sensory. Instead, delusions are exaggerated and unrealistic thoughts a person has. These can be far-fetched thoughts that change how a person thinks about the world around them. Delusions can include thinking you have a life-threatening condition when you don’t or thinking that the government is following you/spying on you. 

Delusions can include:

  • Grandiose delusions make a person believe they possess a certain power through wealth, royalty, or knowledge.
  • Paranoid delusions can include a variety of feelings like believing that you are being abused by someone somehow.
  • Somatic delusions make people believe that they have a life-threatening disease or believe there are bugs crawling in their skin among other beliefs.
  • Referential delusions include delusions based on the world around them. Perhaps they may think the TV or radio is talking specifically to them. Or they’ll believe the headlines are directed toward them.

Those who experience psychosis may not realize that their beliefs and sensations aren’t actually real. This happens in those who abuse drugs on a frequent basis (specifically drug-induced psychosis). There is a period of time where a person sees, hears, or believes things that are false because of drug abuse. 

Psychotic Episode

A Closer Look at Drug-Induced Psychosis 

The prevalence of psychosis is quite high when it comes to those who abuse different drugs. In some cases, even if a person uses medication as intended, they may also experience psychosis. There are different reasons why a person may experience the effects of drug-induced psychosis. 

Drug-induced or stimulant-induced psychosis can be a direct result of abusing a drug. This can be a symptom of using the drug or it can appear in the withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal occurs when a person stops taking a drug they have become physically dependent on. This can include a multitude of negative and disruptive symptoms including psychosis. Stimulant-induced psychosis along with the other withdrawal symptoms can be unpredictable and painful. 

In some cases of drug abuse, a person may not put together that their psychosis is being caused by their addiction. This is when the person would be diagnosed with a substance/medication-induced psychotic disorder. This involves hallucinations and delusions among the other psychosis symptoms during drug abuse or in the withdrawal stages. In order to be diagnosed in this way, the psychosis must be triggered by drug use and not an underlying mental condition.

Substances that Cause Stimulant-Induced Psychosis

Psychosis is not caused by all types of drugs but rather a select few. Stimulant drugs in particular have a chance of producing psychosis in its users. Over the years, stimulants like amphetamines have been used to understand more intense psychotic disorders like schizophrenia. The psychotic symptoms may differ from drug to drug but stimulants and other stimulants all have a high chance of creating these symptoms.  

These drugs create the aforementioned symptoms including hallucinations, delusions, mania, and aggression among other symptoms. Let’s take a look at some of the stimulants that are known for causing psychotic symptoms. 

  • Cocaine – Cocaine is known for producing temporary psychosis with more than half its users experiencing psychotic symptoms. Those who abuse cocaine usually experience some form of paranoia or delusions along with hallucinations, confusion, and aggression (among other behavioral changes). 
  • Amphetamines – Amphetamines have a high chance of inducing psychotic symptoms. So much so that amphetamine-related psychosis has been named amphetamine psychosis. Amphetamines include a number of different drugs such as methamphetamine, ephedrine, dextroamphetamine, and others. The symptoms include grandiose delusions, mania, and extreme/erratic behavior. 
  • Methylphenidate – This is the active ingredient in Ritalin and Concerta (two common stimulants. Abusing this drug has been said to include visual and auditory hallucinations as well as anxiety, delusions, aggression, and possible thoughts of self-harm. 
  • Caffeine – In some rare cases, very high amounts of caffeine can cause stimulant-induced psychosis in some people. 

Factors that Increase Chances of Stimulant-Induced Psychosis

As people continue to abuse a stimulant (or a psychosis-inducing drug), their psychotic symptoms may continue to worsen or become more intense. When it comes to experiencing stimulant-induced psychosis symptoms, there are a few different factors that increase a person’s risk. These include the following factors:

  • Age – Individuals who are older are at higher risk of stimulant induced psychosis because they are much weaker than younger individuals. They have much lower limits when it comes to doses and potential overdose. Additionally, they may be taking multiple medications at the same time. 
  • Mental Illness – Those who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder and abuse stimulant drugs at the same time (dual diagnosis) have a much greater chance of experiencing stimulant-induced psychosis. 
  • Previous psychosis episodes – If a person has already experienced stimulant-induced psychosis, their chances only go up if they continue abusing. Over time, these psychotic symptoms can get increasingly more severe. Of all the factors listed, this is the highest chance of stimulant-induced psychosis in the future. 
  • Drug abuse – It goes without saying that those who frequently abuse drugs are at much higher risk of experiencing stimulant-induced or general drug-induced psychosis. It is a safe bet that at one point (before or after using) a person will experience psychotic symptoms with continued drug abuse. Additionally, mixing stimulants with other drugs or alcohol only furthers the risk involved. 

Getting Immediate Help for a Psychotic Episode 

What is Psychosis?

Stimulant-induced psychosis can be confusing and problematic when it occurs. If you or a loved one is experiencing psychosis, it’s important to act fast and deliberate. If you begin to experience hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, aggression or other psychosis symptoms, you should immediately stop using the drug you are taking. After, get medical assistance immediately by dialing 9-1-1. 

As you wait for help, it’s important to move to a quiet area. Those who experience stimulant-induced psychosis can be overstimulated easily. Also, make sure to drink lots of fluids while avoiding alcohol, caffeine, energy drinks or other beverages. Try to remain in a cool environment if possible and stay calm until you get assistance. 

Never attempt to counteract the effects of the stimulant (self-medicate) with drugs/alcohol or other central nervous system depressants. This can create serious stress on the heart and body, which can lead to worsened effects. Experiencing stimulant-induced psychosis due to drug use is a serious situation and professional help is advised.

Overcoming Drug Abuse and Addiction at Coastal Detox

If you or a loved one is struggling with stimulant-induced psychosis along with other negative effects of drug abuse, it may be time to get help. It can be a stressful and potentially dangerous situation as time goes on. It is crucial to get professional treatment to increase your chances of recovery and a better life free of drugs. 

At Coastal Detox, we offer a number of comprehensive addiction treatment programs with you in mind. Detox, residential treatment, therapy help, and other resources are available to help you overcome addiction with comfort and support. Don’t wait until things get worse to get help. Contact us today to learn about our treatment methods and detox process.

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