Meth-Induced Psychosis: How to Recognize It And What to Do About It

by | Nov 18, 2020 | Drug Addiction

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Crystal meth is a dangerous and addictive drug that impacts the brain and central nervous system. Short for crystal methamphetamine, this illegal drug is manufactured solely with the intent to distribute to those desiring to get “high”.  However, the drug has intense and severe side effects, including drug induced schizophrenia and meth psychosis.

What Is Meth Psychosis?

Someone who experiences meth psychosis is likely to exhibit behaviors associated with psychosis. Healthline defines psychosis as a mental health disorder “characterized by an impaired relationship with reality”.

The following are common meth psychosis symptoms:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Distorted reality; lose touch with reality
  • Feeling like bugs are crawling under the skin (“meth bugs” or “meth mites”)
  • Extra energy
  • Erratic behavior
  • Grandiose feelings about self
  • Increase in anxiety
  • Incoherent speech
  • Suicidal ideation or thoughts

Research suggests that those that use meth regularly are 40 percent more likely to succumb to meth-induced psychosis or drug induced schizophrenia. Those that use the drug long-term are more than ten times likely to develop methamphetamine psychosis.

How Meth Causes Psychosis

When someone uses meth, the drug goes to the brain fast.  Once it reaches the brain, large amounts of dopamine get released, triggering immense euphoric feelings. But that “high” doesn’t last long. When it starts to wear off, the person will experience strong cravings for more.

As they continue to use meth, they will need more of the drug in order to experience the intense “high”.  Their tolerance increases, which means they will have to use more meth to feel the same results. Long-term, this can cause the brain to short-circuit so-to-speak, causing meth-induced psychosis.

Some people experience meth hallucinations or meth psychosis just a few months after using the drug regularly. Others may not experience such symptoms until a year or more of chronic use.  Still, there are some that develop psychotic symptoms after just using meth once.

Who Is More Susceptible To Experience Meth Psychosis?

Those that have schizophrenia in the family are more likely to experience meth-induced psychosis.  However, even if no one in the family is diagnosed schizophrenic, psychosis can occur when using methamphetamines. Even someone who has no mental health issues can experience meth hallucinations, delusions, and other meth psychosis symptoms.

The Gradual Onset Of Meth Psychosis

Not all methamphetamine psychosis symptoms occur at one time.  It’s more likely that symptoms will occur gradually over time.  If you or a loved one uses meth, learning the early signs of meth-induced psychosis can be beneficial.  You can reach out for help and get addiction treatment before the symptoms get worse.

Early meth psychosis symptoms include:

  • Disconnecting from self and others
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Not being able to focus or concentrate
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Isolation

How Long Does Psychosis Last?

Those that suffer from this kind of psychosis may struggle short or long-term.  There’s really no way to know how long a meth-induced psychosis will last. It could last for a few hours for one person and a few months for another.  Some people may only have symptoms one time, perhaps experiencing meth hallucinations and that’s all.

Also, note that sometimes methamphetamine psychosis symptoms occur when someone is trying to abstain from crystal meth. Once they successfully stop using the drug, the psychotic symptoms stop.

Treating Methamphetamine Psychosis

The best route for treating drug-induced schizophrenia or meth psychosis is attending an inpatient or residential treatment center. There are addiction recovery and mental health experts there that can assist the person with detox and addressing the psychotic symptoms. You’ll be able to have 24/7 care, as well as help to contend with some of the daunting withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes medication can be prescribed to curb symptoms too, such as antipsychotic medication.

Along with evidence-based treatment, you can meet with a mental health counselor to address any other issues that may be going on.  You can also learn better skillsets for addiction recovery, coping skills, emotional management, and more.

Are You Struggling With Meth Psychosis?

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addition to meth or meth-induced psychosis, know that help is available. Identifying if its meth induced or a mental health issue can be determined during treatment. Soul Surgery is a co-occurring mental health facility that can help. Call Soul Surgery today (833) 568-6619 and talk to an addiction specialist to discuss your options.

Dr. Ravi Chandiramani
Dr. Ravi Chandiramani is a Naturopathic physician with over 15 years experience working with those struggling with addiction and alcoholism. Over those 15 years he has worked with over 7,000 patients. He is the founder of the Integrative Addiction Medicine (I-AM) model which combines evidence-based conventional addiction medicine with the nurturing and rebuilding modalities inherent to the practice of Naturopathic medicine.

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