Substance-induced psychotic disorder generally brings with it symptoms of hallucinations and delusions. Per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fifth Edition, seven to 25 percent of patients who report with an initial episode of psychosis end up meeting the diagnostic criteria for substance-induced psychotic disorder. The disorder is often secondary in nature and somewhat of a consequence itself of a primary problem, like alcohol use disorder.

Most often, data is gathered separately for alcohol- and drug-induced variations of the disorder. A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry: the Journal of Mental Science sampled 8,028 people and 0.5 percent had alcohol-induced psychotic disorder at some point in their lives, with men of working age holding the highest rate at 1.8 percent. At the eight-year follow-up mark, 37 percent of those who had the disorder had died, signaling a high rate of co-occurring disorders.

Fortunately for the alcohol-induced psychotic disorder sufferer, a full recovery can generally be expected post-detox as long as they abstain from alcohol use. Those who abused harder substances like cocaine and amphetamines may find themselves coping with the psychotic side effects for years to come. Hallucinogen drugs do have the ability to initiate psychotic symptoms, but it is only probable in those who used them repetitively for a long time. Most users of hallucinogens who believe they’re suffering from psychosis are really experiencing uncomfortable side effects of the drugs that mimic it.

How Does It Occur?

In cases of substance-induced psychotic disorder, the drugs known to most likely contribute to the condition include marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamines, per Medscape. Some over-the-counter medications are capable of inducing psychosis as well, such as corticosteroids, antimicrobials, and anesthetics.

It is always best to seek the care of a qualified psychotherapist when trying to assess the presence of this disorder, but if you suspect it, look for the following symptoms:
  • Irregular psychomotor behaviors
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Delusional behavior/experiences or hallucinations
  • Clustered or troubled speech patterns
  • Manic behaviors
  • Depressed mood

In addition, these symptoms must have started during the use of a substance or within hours or days of withdrawal. Likewise, substances being used must be capable of initiating these symptoms, and they cannot be attributed to another cause, such as an organic mental health disorder. If delirium is present, symptoms need to exist apart from it. If symptoms are present, but not severe enough to harm or hinder the patient’s functioning in social or occupational settings, a diagnosis of substance-induced psychotic disorder may not be correct and other options should be explored.

Patients suffering from this disorder may also experience feelings of lethargy and numbness that might be accompanied by turbulent and even violent behavior that is unpredictable in nature. Social isolation is also common in these patients. Symptoms can be lasting, but for many, they will come and go in waves, which gives them their erratic appearance. If this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place.

Treating the Psychotic Disorder Drug User

Dealing with addiction alone is hard enough, but coupling it with a mental health disorder can present an additional challenge. Just because your drug use brought on your disorder doesn’t mean ridding your life of drugs or alcohol will take your disorder away. For some, this is the case, but not always. Additionally, many will find themselves dealing with other diagnoses during treatment. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that having one mental health disorder makes you twice as likely to have another.

So you know you have a problem now. You’re ready to accept it. The next step is accepting that you can’t fix this alone. Treatment options vary from prescribed medications to relaxation techniques and intensive psychotherapy. Reach out to Black Bear Lodge at 706-914-2327 today and let us give you hope again.