Methamphetamine is an extremely dangerous drug that can have a profound negative impact on virtually every part of a person’s life. People who abuse this drug expose themselves to considerable harm, which can include developing meth-induced psychosis.
What is Meth-Induced Psychosis?
Meth-induced psychosis, which is also sometimes referred to as methamphetamine psychosis, is a set of symptoms that are similar to schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or other psychotic disorders.
As established in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the clinical term for meth-induced psychosis is substance/medication-induced psychotic disorder.
The primary differentiator between meth-induced psychosis and similar mental health concerns is what causes a person to experience these symptoms.
In the case of meth-induced psychosis, symptoms will begin to become apparent during or soon after a person uses methamphetamine, or during withdrawal. These symptoms may last for several weeks after their onset.
According to a September 2016 article in the journal CNS Drugs, research indicates that 26%-46% of people who become addicted to methamphetamine will struggle with meth psychosis. This article also reported that a person’s risk for meth-induced psychosis can be influenced by factors such as:
- Polysubstance abuse
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Family history of mental illness (especially having a parent or sibling with schizophrenia)
- Sleep deprivation
- Means of ingestion
Regarding the final bullet point, studies suggest that people who smoke meth may be more likely to experience psychotic symptoms than those who abuse the drug via IV injection.
Signs & Symptoms of Meth-Induced Psychosis
The two most common signs and symptoms of meth-induced psychosis are delusions and hallucinations
Delusions are rigid beliefs that are easily disproven or that have no basis in reality. Examples of common delusions include the following:
- Believing that you have special talents or magical powers
- Believing that you are in a relationship with a famous person that you have never actually met
- Believing that you are being spied on or persecuted by the government (when there is neither evidence nor legitimate reason to suspect that this is actually occurring)
Hallucinations are perceptions that are not caused by actual stimuli. The two most common types of hallucinations are:
- Auditory, which means that you hear voices or other sounds that are not coming from a real external source
- Visual, which refers to seeing light patterns, objects, or people that do not exist
Though less common, hallucinations can also involve the senses of taste (gustatory), smell (olfactory), and touch (tactile).
People who develop meth-induced psychosis may also engage in abnormal behaviors or demonstrate negative symptoms, such as lack of facial expressiveness and an unwillingness to interact with other people.
Dangers of Meth-Induced Psychosis
Untreated meth-induced psychosis can expose a person to physical, psychological, and social harm. Potential damage includes:
- Physical injuries due to impaired perception
- Being assaulted, swindled, or otherwise victimized
- Being arrested and jailed due to abnormal behaviors
- Substandard performance in school or at work
- Academic failure, job loss, and unemployment
- Inability to establish an independent lifestyle
- Onset or worsening of other mental health symptoms
- Continued substance abuse and addiction
- Social withdrawal and isolation
- Suicidal ideation
- Accidental or intentional death
How Long Does Meth-Induced Psychosis Last?
The length of time that a person experiences meth-induced psychosis can vary considerably.
In some cases, psychotic symptoms can begin to dissipate as the effects of the drug (or the distress of withdrawal) begin to subside. In other cases, symptoms may persist for up to a month after a person’s last dose of meth or the end of withdrawal.
By definition, if the symptoms of meth-induced psychosis are still present more than a month after the person ended their meth use, then the individual should be diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or another psychotic disorder.
According to the September 2016 CNS Drugs article that we referenced earlier in this post, one large study found that almost 40% of people with meth-induced psychosis were diagnosed with schizophrenia within six years of first experiencing symptoms.
Can Meth-Induced Psychosis be Treated?
Meth-induced psychosis can be terrifying, both to the person who experiences the symptoms and to those who care about or depend upon them. Thankfully, both meth addiction and meth-induced psychosis are treatable conditions.
Treatment for both concerns may involve a combination of medication and therapy. Medication can alleviate certain symptoms, while therapy can help people learn how to regain control of their thoughts and behaviors, as well as manage symptoms that are not eased by medicine.
Depending on the nature and severity of a person’s struggles with meth addiction and meth-induced psychosis, they may benefit from receiving care at one or more of the following levels:
- Methamphetamine detox
- Inpatient rehab for methamphetamine addiction
- Outpatient methamphetamine addiction care
Within these various levels of care, treatment may include elements such as:
- Individual psychotherapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- EMDR and other trauma-focused services
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Holistic therapies
Contact Our Methamphetamine Treatment Center in California
If your life has been disrupted by compulsive meth abuse, Renewal Health Group is here for you. Our methamphetamine addiction treatment center in Los Angeles, California, is a place of both hope and healing, where dedicated professionals provide our services in a safe environment. With our help, you can end your meth abuse and build a foundation for successful, long-term recovery.
To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact Us page or call us today.