What is psychosis?
Psychosis is a term that refers to an experience in which an individual experiences sensory stimuli that are not actually present in reality. Hallucinations are a type of psychosis in which the individual sees, smells, hears and in some cases feels things that are not actually present. For example, a common hallucination is hearing a voice when there is no actual speaker or auditory stimuli in the environment.
Delusions are the psychotic experience of believing something that is obviously untrue. Psychosis is a clinical symptom of several major mental illnesses; can be a secondary symptom of various medical conditions; and can also result from acute and chronic use of substances.
Schizophrenia is the mental health condition most commonly associated with psychosis, while cocaine and amphetamines are the substances most commonly understood to produce psychosis in users.
Why do certain substances induce psychosis?
Psychosis as an acute or chronic feature of past or active substance use can occur for several reasons. Explicitly hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD, PCP, mescaline, peyote, mushrooms, and some strains of marijuana disrupt communication between neurotransmitter systems and affect the prefrontal cortex part of the brain as well as other areas that figure prominently in sensory processing.
All substances interact with the body’s native neurotransmitters and cognitive pathways, and the experience of psychosis is often a cumulative result of neurotransmitter disruption, the unique molecular profile of the individual, body weight, tolerance, amount of substance consumed, and other variables.
Treatment for Drug-Induced Psychosis
Early recognition is extremely important in treating dual-diagnosis. Dual-diagnosis is the medical condition of patients suffering from an addiction to drugs, as well as a related psychological disorder such as psychosis. It is recognised that dual-diagnosis is best treated in a residential rehabilitation environment.
At Castle Craig we offer the complex care that dual-diagnosis patients need in the Extended Care Unit, where they receive 24/7 medical and therapeutic care. Find out more about the specialised treatment we offer for addiction and drug-induced psychosis here.
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | June 14, 2021