Drug Induced Psychosis

Psychosis is a mental disorder characterized by impaired thinking and emotions that make a person lose contact with reality. Symptoms of psychosis can be quite frightening and often make sufferers to hurt themselves or others. It is a serious disorder and requires immediate medication intervention. While it is usually diagnosed in young adults, it can affect anyone at any age. There may be different causes of psychosis, but you should always be on watch for drug induced psychosis. Keep reading to learn more about it.

Which Drugs Can Induce Psychosis?

In drug induced psychosis, you fail to maintain contact with your surroundings. A study by Psychiatric Times has showed that as many as 74% of people experiencing an episode of psychosis had a substance use disorder in the past. About 62% of these people were currently abusing alcohol or some sort of drugs.

In drug induced psychosis, sufferers may experience hallucinations and delusions, both auditory and visual. Some people even develop substance-induced psychotic disorder. In fact, 7% to 25% of substance abusers experiencing psychotic episodes end up with the diagnosis. Here is information about certain drugs that may induce psychosis.


Drug Name


  • Ketamine
  • LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide)
  • PCP (Phencyclidine) or Angel Drug


  • Butane
  • Gasoline
  • Toluene

OTC Drugs

  • Antihistamines
  • Cold Medicines
  • Dextromethorphan

Prescription Drugs

  • Anticholinergics
  • Antiepileptics
  • Antipsychotics
  • Corticosteroids
  • Decarboxylase Inhibitors
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Isotretinoin (Accutane)

Synthetic Drugs

  • MDMA (Ecstasy)
  • Mephedrone ("Bath Salts")
  • Synthetic Cannabinoids


  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Methamphetamines
  • Methylphenidate
  • Khat


  • Benzodiazepines
  • Barbiturates
  • Marijuana
  • Opioids

Symptoms of Drug Induced Psychosis

It is usually difficult to decide whether the symptoms a drug user have is due to drug abuse or due to a mental illness induced by drugs. But the following information will shed some light on this issue.

1. Symptom May Be Unique for Each Person

While there are certain symptoms associated with psychosis triggered by drug abuse, these symptoms may vary from person to person. The type of drug used will also have an impact on what a drug abuser experiences after developing psychosis. What some people experience with cannabis-induced psychosis may be completely different from what people with methamphetamine-induced psychosis experience.

2. Some Generalized Symptoms

  • Symptoms of early stage psychosis usually include sleep changes, depressed mood, suspiciousness and difficulty concentrating.
  • The most common symptoms are blood pressure changes, aggressive behavior, delirium, body temperature changes, heart rate changes, diarrhea, rapid breathing, nausea, pupil dilation, restlessness, tremors, sleep deprivation, and psychomotor agitation.
  • Common symptoms of psychosis in later stage often include psychosis Hallucinations, delusions, depression, difficulty functioning and suicidal thoughts.

3. Recognize It via Symptoms After Abstinence

If the symptoms are not due to drug abuse, they will continue even after abstinence from the drug. However, in case of drug induced psychosis, the schizophrenic-like effects usually go away or become less severe after the drug wears off. Things may be different for people with frequent and prolonged use and many symptoms may continue even years after abstinence.

How to Treat Drug Induced Psychosis

There are certain ways to make yourself feel better if your symptoms are not related to a mental disorder that you had before you started abusing drugs. Here are some treatment options for psychosis induced by drugs.

1. Get Rid of the Drug

Whether it is cannabis, cocaine or another drug, the first step to recovery is to discontinue using the drug that may have caused it in the first place. Not doing this may make you experience more severe psychotic symptoms.

You'd better stop all legal or illegal drugs unless you doctor says something otherwise. Using substances like alcohol, nicotine or caffeine may also hinder your recovery, so you should stays away from them for a while.

2. Alleviate Your Symptoms

Treatment depends on your root cause, so does the drug you take.

  • In some cases, no drug is needed and doctors will help keep you sober for weeks and this method is especially useful for those without preexisting mental diseases.
  • In most cases, a medical professional who will give you low doses of antipsychotics to relieve your symptoms, which help control excessive dopamine levels and stabilize your mental state.
  • Rarely, some people experience psychosis by using a standard therapeutic prescription drug. Your doctor will lower the dose or even recommend discontinuing it for some time to alleviate psychotic symptoms.

3. Counteract the Effects

Your doctor will pay attention to the mechanisms of the drug that may have caused psychosis in your case. They will prescribe medications to help counteract the effects of that drug. They may prescribe a receptor antagonist if the drug you have been taking has inhibited the reuptake of dopamine. This will block the effects of dopamine and help manage your symptoms better. What's more, because most of the drug induced psychosis is related to overproduction of dopamine, the most popular treatment is using antipsychotics.

4. Try Therapy

It is of immense importance to get medical help when you or someone you know is experiencing drug-induced psychotic episode. There is always a chance that sufferers will experience life-threatening effects of the drugs and may stay in a state of excited delirium all the time. Medical supervision can help stabilize the patient if he has a fever, experiences changes in heart rhythms or has high blood pressure.

Besides, a psychotherapist can company a patient to walk out of a psychotic break, guiding them to make cognitive behavioral changes. This also gives the therapist a chance to assess the dangerous level of a patient, both to himself and the society.