Meth Psychosis: How Can Meth Use Cause Psychosis and Hallucinations
Methamphetamine, often shortened to meth, is an illicit drug that produces mind-altering effects. A potential side effect of abusing meth is meth psychosis, a mental health disorder that can affect a person’s senses and perceptions. People can experience meth-induced psychosis during a meth high or after the effects of the drug wear off.
A common question is, “What is meth psychosis?” People who use meth for a consistent amount of time are at risk of experiencing psychosis, which causes people to experience delusions, hallucinations, and obsessive thoughts or behaviors. Another effect of meth psychosis is increased aggression toward other people and an inability to manage impulses. When people become more impulsive and obsessive, they may pick at or scratch their skin causing visible wounds called meth sores.
There are meth-abuse stories from people who have severely struggled with a meth addiction that can explain how dangerous the substance is.
Meth also interacts with certain areas of the brain that manage emotions and impulses like fear, aggression and fight-or-flight responses. Continued use of meth can overstimulate these areas of the brain and create an increased amount of paranoia or a desire to commit acts of violence. These impulses and emotions are common symptoms of meth psychosis.
Anyone who abuses meth is at risk of developing meth psychosis. Whether someone uses the drug at the same dosage for a consistent amount of time or first uses the drug at a high volume, the stimulant is exceptionally potent and can significantly alter a person’s brain.
- Constantly scratching at the skin
- Skin sores on the arms, legs or face
- Increased aggression or violence to themselves or others
Additional information regarding each symptom can reveal meth’s impact on the brain and why meth psychosis occurs.
There are different types of delusions: persecutory and referential. Persecutory delusions involve beliefs that someone is being tricked, tortured, made fun or spied on. Referential delusions are situations where someone thinks a public message is a personal attack. Another typical example of a delusion is someone believing that the police are following them.
The aggression that someone expresses due to meth psychosis can be directed at other individuals or themselves. Seek medical attention if a friend or family member has shown increased aggression or made violent threats to you, another person or themselves
Researchers at the Mental Health Research Center of the Iran University of Medical Sciences studied a patient who had a history of meth, heroin and cocaine abuse. The patient reported meth-induced psychosis symptoms that involved hearing voices. During the first year after stopping consistent meth use, the patient reported irregular experiences of meth-induced psychosis.
“This report presents the course of a case of chronic methamphetamine-induced psychotic disorder during a 1-year follow-up,” doctors Seyed Vahid Shariat and Adele Elahi wrote in the report. “The patient experienced a short recurrence of psychosis while abstaining from methamphetamine, as well as another psychotic episode with methamphetamine use even though they were receiving antipsychotic medication.”
The treatment plan for psychosis may resemble that of schizophrenia or other paranoia-involved disorders. Treatment usually involves a combination of therapy and medication, which often includes antipsychotic drugs to diminish the effects and frequency of delusions or hallucinations.
Identifying a meth addiction is the first step toward beginning treatment. The Recovery Village’s meth self-assessment can provide insight into whether you or your loved one is addicted to the drug.
- Hallucinations are a common side effect of meth abuse
- Meth can alter the brain enough to induce delusions along with hallucinations which, when combined, are considered psychosis
- Types of hallucinations and delusions include hearing voices, seeing people or objects, and developing a false sense of danger
- Psychosis can include paranoia, aggression or violence
- Meth psychosis can last anywhere from a few hours to multiple weeks, and some people reported irregular psychosis instances for a year after consistent meth use ended
Treatment for meth addiction and psychosis often requires a dual diagnosis and individual treatment plans for each condition. The Recovery Village has facilities located throughout the country and provides support for treating addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. At one of The Recovery Village’s facilities, patients will be under the guidance of doctors, nurses and counselors who have helped many people recover from their dependence on drugs. If you or someone you know struggles with meth abuse and has experienced psychosis, call The Recovery Village to receive a free assessment and begin building a recovery plan for a better future.
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