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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