Woman going through alcohol induced psychosis

About Alcohol Induced Psychosis

Psychosis is typically associated with acute mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. But this condition can also be brought on by excessive substance abuse. For example, one of the many potential negative effects of chronic heavy drinking is the development of alcohol-induced psychosis.

What is Alcohol-Induced Psychosis?

Alcohol-induced psychosis can be referred to by several other terms, including alcohol-induced psychotic disorder, alcohol-related psychosis, alcohol hallucinosis, and alcohol psychosis. For the purpose of consistency, we will refer to this condition as either alcohol-induced psychosis or alcohol psychosis throughout this post.

By any name, alcohol-induced psychosis is a disruption in a person’s ability to accurately perceive and effectively interact with their environment. It is characterized by extreme disorientation, hallucinations, and delusions. 

A StatPearls article by a team of experts from St. Luke’s University reported that about 4% of people with alcoholism (alcohol use disorder) will develop alcohol-induced psychosis. 

It is important to understand that alcohol-induced psychosis is different from (and more serious than) extreme drunkenness. A person who develops this condition can continue to experience signs and symptoms of psychosis for weeks after they have stopped drinking.

What Causes Alcohol Psychosis?

Alcohol-induced psychosis can result from extreme alcohol intoxication or occur during withdrawal. It is most common among people who have become addicted to alcohol.

Experts don’t fully understand exactly why some people develop alcohol-induced psychosis while most others don’t – but they believe it is related to disruptions in the body’s ability to produce and disseminate certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. Abnormalities in various areas of the brain may also play a role.

According to the article that we cited in the previous section, the following factors can increase a person’s risk of alcohol-induced psychosis:

  • Becoming addicted to alcohol at a young age
  • Having low socioeconomic status
  • Being unemployed or living on a pension
  • Living alone

Various experts have estimated that as many as 20%-30% of people who experience alcohol-related psychosis will later develop schizophrenia or a similar disorder.

Signs & Symptoms of Alcohol-Induced Psychosis

As we noted earlier, alcohol-induced psychosis involves disorientation, hallucinations, and delusions. It can also cause a person to experience intense fear, to the point of paranoia. 

This is what it can feel like to have hallucinations as a result of alcohol psychosis:

  • Hearing music, voices, or other sounds that don’t actually exist
  • Seeing people, objects, or light patterns that no one else can see
  • Feeling that bugs are crawling over or underneath your skin

Here are a few examples of delusional thinking that can result from alcohol psychosis:

  • Becoming convinced that your spouse or partner is cheating on you, even though there is no credible reason to think this
  • Claiming that your thoughts and/or behaviors are being controlled by some external force
  • Expressing suspicion that you are being spied on, persecuted, or otherwise harassed

Understandably, these symptoms can undermine a person’s ability to work, go to school, or maintain healthy relationships. 

The delusions and paranoia that are characteristic of this condition can also prompt people to behave impulsively and aggressively. This can cause them to harm themselves or others. This, in turn, can lead to serious medical and legal problems.

Treatment Options for Alcohol Psychosis

Alcohol induced psychosis treatment center in Los Angeles, California

If someone has developed alcohol-induced psychosis due to heavy drinking, the most important first step in treating this condition is helping the individual quit drinking. If they develop alcohol psychosis during withdrawal, focused interventions may be needed to keep them safe.

In either case, the proper response to alcohol-induced psychosis should involve professional care from a reputable treatment provider. Depending on the needs of each patient, they may need to spend time in one or more of the following programs:

Treatment in each of these programs may include both medication and therapy.

The medical component of treatment for alcohol-induced psychosis may involve benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and sedatives. There is no single psychopharmacological approach that works best for every person. It can take a bit of time to identify the correct medication.

Sustained sobriety is essential to prevent a recurrence of alcohol-induced psychosis. This is why the therapeutic part of treatment is so important. Therapy can help people develop the skills they need to establish and maintain an alcohol-free lifestyle. 

Addiction Therapy Options

As with medication, the most effective types of therapy can vary considerably from one person to the next. In addition to the severity of the person’s struggles with alcohol abuse, the presence of co-occurring mental health concerns can also influence which therapeutic services may be most helpful.

Beneficial therapy options for someone with alcohol use disorder can include:

  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Individual, group, and family therapy
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
  • Other trauma-focused therapies
  • Holistic therapy
  • Neurofeedback
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

Remember: There is no single right way to treat someone who has been impacted by alcoholism, alcohol-induced psychosis, and co-occurring mental health conditions. What is most important is finding a treatment provider that will assess the full scope of the patient’s needs, then use the information from that assessment to develop a truly customized treatment plan. 

Contact Our Alcohol Rehab at Sanctuary Treatment Center in Los Angeles, California

If someone in your life has developed alcohol-induced psychosis or is struggling with other effects of alcohol addiction, Sanctuary Treatment Center is here to help. At our center, adults who are struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses receive customized services from a team of highly skilled and extremely dedicated professionals. Working together, we can help your loved one end their alcohol abuse, overcome the impact of alcohol psychosis, and build a foundation for long-term recovery.

To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact Us page or call us today.

Woman experiencing symptoms of meth induced psychosis

What is Meth-Induced Psychosis?

It is hardly a secret that methamphetamine abuse can cause considerable physical and psychological damage. What isn’t as widely known, though, is that abusing this drug can put a person at risk for a potentially debilitating mental health concern known as meth-induced psychosis.

What is Meth-Induced Psychosis?

Meth-induced psychosis refers to a variety of symptoms that can distort how a person perceives their environment. People who experience meth-induced psychosis may also have difficulty managing their emotions and interacting with others in a healthy manner.

As its name indicates, meth-induced psychosis is brought on by methamphetamine abuse. However, it is important to understand that meth-induced psychosis is not the same as meth intoxication. 

Meth abuse can cause changes in a person’s mood, attitude, and energy levels. However, these effects will typically dissipate within 12 to 15 hours. The symptoms of meth psychosis can be much more severe, and they may persist for 30 days or longer.

Symptoms of Meth Psychosis

A person who is in the midst of a meth-induced psychotic episode may exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Having auditory, visual, or tactile hallucinations (which means they may hear, see, or feel things that aren’t really there)
  • Developing rigid beliefs that have no basis in reality, such as claiming they have magical powers or are being sent secret messages through the TV or radio
  • Being overly suspicious of others, which may include fearing that a friend or family member is plotting to kill them
  • Acting with uncharacteristic and unpredictable aggression, anger, or violence

Dangers of Meth-Induced Psychosis

The following are examples of the many potential dangers of untreated meth psychosis:

  • Physical injuries due to fighting or other aggressive behaviors
  • Health problems due to poor self-care or inability to follow medical advice
  • Being arrested and jailed as a result of violent or aggressive behaviors
  • Being bullied, swindled, or otherwise victimized
  • Worsening of other mental health concerns
  • Continued abuse of meth and other addictive substances
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Homelessness

How Long Does Meth-Induced Psychosis Last? 

How long does meth-induced psychosis last? As is so often the case when discussing substance- or mental health-related timelines, the answer can vary.

To meet the clinical criteria for substance-induced psychosis as established in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a person must experience psychotic symptoms for no more than one month. According to the DSM-5, symptoms that persist for longer than a month would indicate that the person has schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or another primary psychotic disorder.

However, a September 2016 article in the peer-reviewed medical journal CNS Drugs reported that some people have experienced symptoms of meth-induced psychosis up to three months after ceasing their meth use. 

Obviously, both the intensity and the duration of psychotic symptoms can have a significant impact on a person’s meth psychosis recovery. This is one of the many reasons why getting professional treatment is so important. Professionals who are familiar with the meth psychosis recovery process will be prepared to address longer-than-expected symptoms and any other contingencies that may arise. 

Can Meth Cause Permanent Psychosis?

Many people who experience meth-induced psychosis develop long-term psychotic symptoms. 

This potential outcome was shown in the CNS Drugs article that we referred to in the previous section. That article shares a study that involved 1,000 subjects who had experienced at least one meth-induced psychotic disorder. Within six years of their initial psychotic episode, 40% of the study’s subjects were diagnosed with schizophrenia due to their ongoing struggle with psychosis.

How to Help Someone With Meth-Induced Psychosis

If someone in your life develops meth-induced psychosis, it is both common and understandable to be worried, fearful, or even angry. You can’t cure you’re loved one’s meth addiction, nor can you stop the psychotic symptoms they are experiencing. But you can play an important role in connecting them with the professional services they need.

Your first priority will likely be keeping your loved one safe. Depending on what types of symptoms they are experiencing, this can be a significant challenge. Ideally, you should not try to take this on all by yourself. If at all possible, get help from a small group of trusted family members and close friends. 

Once you are sure that your loved one is not in any danger, you should begin to research meth addiction treatment options. Your loved one may need to complete detox, then transfer into an inpatient program. Detox can help them get through meth withdrawal, while inpatient care can help them regain control of their thoughts and behaviors.

There is no single “perfect” way to treat someone who has developed meth-induced psychosis. When you are evaluating treatment programs, focus on finding the place that seems best prepared to meet your loved one’s specific needs. Any reputable facility that you contact should be happy to answer any questions you have about their staff, programs and services, treatment philosophy, typical length of stay, and related topics. 

Begin Treatment for Meth Addiction at Sanctuary Treatment Center

Sanctuary Treatment Center provides multiple levels of personalized care for adults who have been struggling with meth addiction. At our meth addiction treatment center, you can expect to receive a customized array of evidence-based therapies from a team of skilled and compassionate professionals. Untreated meth addiction can be devastating – but we can put you on the path to improved health and long-term recovery. Contact us today to learn more.

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