Drug-Induced Psychosis

Ongoing substance use rewires the brain. In some women, drugs like cannabis and prescription pills cause hallucinations and delusions: a phenomenon called drug-induced psychosis.

What is Drug-Induced Psychosis?

Put simply, when someone smokes, injects, or otherwise consumes a drug, that substance begins to send messages within the mind and body. These signals cause the person using drugs to feel disoriented and confused. In extreme circumstances, they may affect one’s ability to recognize reality. This leads to:

  • Hallucinations – Seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t really there.
  • Delusions – Disordered thought patterns that often include harmful, persecutory beliefs.

The most common hallucinations reported by women in our practice are distorted or shadowy shapes, faces, blurry figures, voices, out-of-body experiences, and the movement of solid objects. Delusions are typically very upsetting beliefs like “everyone is out to get me” or “I can’t trust anyone.” While everyone’s experience is unique, a common thread exists: drug-induced psychosis poses a major risk to the health of women.

What Drugs Cause Drug-Induced Psychosis?

Drug-induced psychosis can be triggered by:
  • Opioids, especially strong ones like fentanyl
  • Barbiturates and benzodiazepines (sedatives/hypnotics)
  • Stimulants like cocaine, meth, and ecstasy (MDMA)
  • Hallucinogens (LSD)
  • Inhalants (glue, paint thinner, butane, gasoline)
  • PCP (phencyclidine)
  • Cannabinoids can catalyze marijuana-induced psychosis

A Note About Alcohol-Induced Psychosis

While it often goes unreported, heavy alcohol use can induce psychotic symptoms. Women who are intoxicated, attempting unsupervised withdrawal, or dealing with a co-occurring eating disorder may begin to experience visual, auditory, and haptic hallucinations. Researchers have found that drinking can triple a woman’s risk of psychotic disorders later in life if left unaddressed.

Can Psychosis Be Cured?

If left untreated, drug-induced psychosis may culminate in a diagnosis of schizophrenia. A 2019 meta-analysis found that a person’s substance of choice impacts the likelihood of this outcome. Fortunately, swift and effective addiction treatment helps many women to overcome substance use disorder before lasting damage can occur.

Rising Roads Recovery specializes in the treatment of drug-induced psychosis. We know how frightening and disorienting this experience can be, and we strive to create an optimal healing environment for each client. By working with our clients on a one-on-one basis, we can provide the feedback and grounding needed to recover. Our medical and clinical interventions are tailored to each woman’s needs, and our gender-specific facility promotes an atmosphere of safety. Our center is the best place for women to embrace reality and create the futures they want.

Contact our admissions team to learn more about our programming for drug-induced psychosis.

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