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Misusing some substances can cause people to experience short- or long-term psychosis symptoms. According to Frontiers in Psychiatry, “[P]lenty of findings prove that illicit substances (i.e., cannabinoids, cocaine, amphetamines, and hallucinogens) have psychotomimetic properties . . . their use can induce transient psychotic symptoms due to acute intoxication, but also possibly leading to a syndrome directly resembling a primary psychotic disorder.” The Redpoint Center uses evidence-based methods to treat substance use disorder (SUD) and drug-induced psychosis.

What Is Drug-Induced Psychosis?

Some mind-altering substances cause people to experience short- or long-term symptoms similar to clinical psychosis. Withdrawal from substances may also cause psychosis. The effects of misusing illicit or prescription drugs and alcohol sometimes create manic or psychotic symptoms. In some cases, the symptoms are misdiagnosed as psychotic disorders. Accurate diagnosis is essential to ensure clients receive the proper treatment for their condition. Redpoint Center uses comprehensive assessments and screening tools to determine the cause of psychotic thoughts, beliefs, or behaviors.

The most common forms of substance-induced psychosis include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Memory problems
  • Delusions
  • Extreme disorientation
  • Paranoia
  • Mania
  • Anxiety
  • Unusual aggression, irritation, anger, or violence

Psychedelic drugs, amphetamines, methamphetamine, cannabis, and alcohol have the highest risk of causing temporary or long-term symptoms of psychosis. Substance abuse physically changes the brain and causes some people to experience long-lasting adverse side effects, including severe or recurring psychotic episodes. The type of substance and severity of symptoms impact how a person copes with experiencing alcohol or drug-induced psychosis.

Risk Factors for Experiencing Drug-Induced Psychosis

According to Comprehensive Psychiatry, “A majority of users dependent on illicit substances experience psychotic symptoms in the context of use of, or withdrawal from, these substances.” In addition, “Psychotic symptoms increased with the severity of the substance use disorders.”

Not everyone experiences aspects of psychosis when misusing mind-altering substances. Some of the risk factors include:

  • Genetics
  • Family history of psychotic episodes or disorders
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • History of psychiatric hospitalization
  • Co-occurring mental health issues

Individuals who have a close blood relative diagnosed with a mood disorder or schizophrenia have an increased risk of developing substance-induced psychosis.

How Long Does Drug-Induced Psychosis Last?

In most cases, drug-induced psychosis lasts for between 5 to 10 days. During a psychotic episode, people may experience a wide range of reactions, symptoms, and side effects. In most cases, if people stop taking the drug causing the psychosis, the symptoms resolve with treatment.

How long a psychotic episode lasts depends on multiple factors, including:

  • The type of substance
  • Co-occurring mental health disorders
  • History of psychosis
  • Severity of symptoms
  • Treatments used to counter the psychosis

In rare cases, substance-induced psychosis may last for several years. Methamphetamine has the potential to cause severe and long-lasting psychosis symptoms. Some individuals who misuse methamphetamine may also experience recurring episodes of psychosis. According to CNS Drugs, “Long-term management of individuals who present with recurrent and persistent psychosis, even in the absence of methamphetamine use, may include both behavioral treatment to prevent resumption of methamphetamine use and pharmacological treatment targeting psychotic symptoms.” Some people may have a more difficult time processing long-term or recurring episodes of psychosis. Professional mental health treatment alongside treatment for SUD provides the best outcomes.

Treatment Options at The Redpoint Center

The treatment programs at The Redpoint Center provide clients and their families with essential information about recovering from drug-induced psychosis. Psychoeducation is an important tool clinicians use to help people understand what caused the psychosis and how to manage lingering symptoms or mental health issues caused by the episode.

Some of the treatments offered at The Redpoint Center include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Peer support
  • Group therapy
  • Alternative holistic therapies

Periods of psychosis can be highly emotionally destabilizing. Peer support and traditional therapies provide clients with the tools they need to regain emotional stability and manage their condition during recovery from SUD. Antipsychotic medications may be necessary to manage symptoms until they resolve. Psychotherapy and other treatment methods provide clients with the structure and guidance they need to successfully recover from substance-induced psychosis.

Processing the Experience

People under the influence of substances may develop delusions, paranoia, and other symptoms that impact their quality of life. Processing the experience after recovering from a psychotic episode may feel overwhelming for some people. Individuals under the influence of substances may make decisions affecting their careers, relationships, education, and personal health. Finding ways to process those decisions and find healthy ways to cope with them may be difficult without the support of mental health professionals. Treatment provides clients with the time and space to process their experiences.

How to Support a Loved One Recovering From Drug-Induced Psychosis

The friends and family of individuals recovering from drug-induced psychosis support their loved ones by doing the following:

  • Educating themselves about the condition and any lingering symptoms their loved one experiences
  • Being willing to forgive things their loved one said or did while experiencing substance-induced psychosis
  • Providing emotional and practical support to loved ones in treatment

The Redpoint Center encourages clients and their loved ones to heal and grow together. Clinicians collaborate closely with families to help them overcome challenges related to traumatic or emotionally distressing experiences.

Drug-induced psychosis feels frightening and profoundly distressing for many people. Often, the symptoms are unexpected and unpredictable, making it difficult to process them after the psychotic episode ends. Trauma-informed care and evidence-based treatments, including psychotherapy, help clients recovering from substance misuse find healthy ways to cope with the effects of substance-induced psychosis. Psychoeducation is an essential tool that provides clients with insights and context into their condition and any lingering symptoms or side effects. The Redpoint Center helps clients manage their condition and cope with the impact of substance-induced psychosis using talk therapy and peer support. To learn more about our programs and services, call our office today at (303) 710-8496.

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The Redpoint Center
1831 Lefthand Cir, Suite H
Longmont, CO 80501

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