Effects of illicit drug consumption include a host of unpleasant physical side effects that are well known by many – people are often made aware at an earlier age of the way drugs can impact liver and heart functions, cause poor respiratory rates and may lead to death if too much of a substance is ingested. 

A lesser discussed side effect, called drug induced psychosis, is a severely negative impact of drug use that can arise at any stage of addiction. Psychosis can be dangerous, and knowing the signs of psychosis from drug use is an important tool in keeping yourself and/or your loved one safe.

What is psychosis?

In order to understand drug induced psychosis, it’s important to first know what psychosis itself entails. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Psychosis refers to a collection of symptoms that affect the mind, where there has been some loss of contact with reality. During an episode of psychosis, a person’s thoughts and perceptions are disrupted and they may have difficulty recognizing what is real and what is not.”

Oftentimes psychosis involves hallucinations, delusions and false beliefs where the individual believes things that are clearly untrue. “As many as 3 in 100 people will have an episode at some point in their lives.” 

Several factors contribute to the development of psychosis, and studies have shown that changing hormones during puberty cause teens to be particularly susceptible. Other factors that may play a role include genetics, trauma, physical illness or injury, an underlying mental illness and substance use/abuse.

What is drug induced psychosis? 

Drug induced psychosis (also known as substance induced psychosis) is an experience of psychosis as a result of substance use. Hallucinations and delusions may arise as a side effect of the substance use, and loss of touch with reality may occur when under the influence. 

“To be considered substance-induced psychosis, the hallucinations and delusions should be in excess of those that typically accompany simple substance intoxication or withdrawal, although the patient may also be intoxicated or withdrawing.”

Drug induced psychosis may occur upon consumption of the drug, when one is withdrawing from a substance, as a result of an adverse reaction to mixing substances or alcohol and drugs or if a pre-existing mental health condition is present. Those predisposed to psychosis may be even more prone to drug-induced psychosis due to the way substances impact chemicals in the brain. 

An episode of drug induced psychosis may occur once and never be experienced again, it may subside and return, or an episode may be the catalyst which triggers a more serious mental health condition like schizophrenia. 

Some wonder whether drug use causes psychosis, as studies show that 51 percent of individuals with a newly diagnosed psychotic disorder have a co-occurring substance use disorder. While it may be possible that the chemicals within the substances altered brain chemistry to the point of causing such a disorder, it is also possible that those who develop a psychotic disorder were predisposed to developing one and the substance abuse simply triggered its arousal. 

What drugs cause drug induced psychosis?

Not all drugs will cause symptoms of psychosis to arise, but certain substances are more likely to trigger drug-induced psychosis than others. 

The most common psychosis inducing substances include:

  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamines
  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Hallucinogens
  • Opioids
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Sedatives/hypnotics

“[T]he likelihood of psychotic symptoms appearing, and what that looks like, varies from substance to substance. For example, taking a large amount of cocaine all at once can cause psychosis in minutes…Hallucinogens can, of course, cause visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations, but this is not the same as psychosis. However, an adverse reaction or taking too much of this kind of drug can also cause delusions and paranoia.”

Knowing the symptoms of drug induced psychosis better allows individuals to know whether what they are dealing with is an expected, normal side effect of the drug consumed, or if it is actually a psychotic episode caused by drug consumption and/or withdrawal.

What are the symptoms of drug induced psychosis?

To better understand what you are dealing with in challenging moments like episodes of psychosis, it is crucial to know what symptoms of psychosis look like. 

The more common ones include: 

  • An inability to remember things 
  • Anti-social behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Panic attacks 
  • Delusions
  • Confusion or disorganized, jumbled thoughts
  • Unexplained emotional responses, like laughing or becoming increasingly angry for no apparent reason 
  • Feeling disconnected from your environment
  • Struggling to uphold conversation

If you begin noticing these symptoms in your life, or in the life of a loved one, and they have repeatedly interfered with quality of life and daily routine, it may be time to consider reaching out for treatment.

Seeking relief from drug induced psychosis symptoms?

If you have noticed signs of drug induced psychosis in your life or in the life of a loved one, help is available. The staff at October Road can help diagnose and treat addiction and any co-occurring disorders, including psychosis as a result of drug misuse. 

To get in touch with our treatment team and begin discussing your options today, contact October Road by calling 888-201-5086 or contact us online to learn more. 

Nervous guy, Dramatic dark portrait with strong contrast and film grain of young man sitting in the room with sadness and depression in his eyes thinking about lifeCan You Experience Withdrawal Symptoms After MAT?
Shot of a man looking stressed while sitting on the sofa at homeDoes Drug and Alcohol Abuse Cause Anxiety?