Drugs Q & A

Does Drug Induced Psychosis Go Away?

What is drug-induced psychosis?

Drug-Induced Psychosis, also known as toxic psychosis or substance-induced psychosis, is a form of psychosis that is attributed to substance use. It is a psychosis that results from the effects of chemicals or drugs, including those produced by the body itself. Various psychoactive drugs have been implicated in causing or worsening psychosis in users.

Psychosis manifests as disorientation, visual hallucinations, and/or haptic hallucinations. It is a state in which a person’s mental capacity to recognize reality, communicate, and relate to others is impaired, thus interfering with the capacity to deal with life demands. While there are many types of psychosis, drug-induced psychosis can be pinpointed to specific chemicals.

How long does a drug-induced psychosis last?

Studies indicate that in about 60% of cases, psychotic symptoms resolved within one month of terminating illicit drug use, in about 30% of cases, the psychotic symptoms persisted for 1 to 6 months after stopping illicit drug use, and in about 10% of cases, psychotic symptoms persisted for more than 6 months after stopping illicit drug use.

Does Drug-Induced Psychosis Go Away Completely?

Not all forms of drug-induced psychosis can be cured. The good news is that drug-induced psychosis is treatable, and abuse and/or addition to substances can be addressed simultaneously using a medical detox and a comprehensive, long-term treatment plan.

Does Drug Induced Psychosis Go Away

List of medications, recreational drugs, and plants that can cause drug-induced psychosis

Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines can cause psychotic disorders in some people. Sometimes following initial periods of delirium, benzodiazepine-induced psychosis can include visual or auditory hallucinations or anxious delusions. People experiencing benzodiazepine-induced hallucinations or delusions may become completely disoriented and end up in emergency rooms, where clinicians might initially misdiagnose them with a psychotic disorder. The risk of benzodiazepine-induced psychosis significantly decreases when people discontinue use under medical supervision.

Alcohol: Alcohol is a common cause of psychotic disorders or episodes, which may occur through acute intoxication, chronic alcoholism, withdrawal, exacerbation of existing disorders, or acute idiosyncratic reactions. Research has shown that excessive alcohol use causes an 8-fold increased risk of psychotic disorders in men and a 3 fold increased risk of psychotic disorders in women.

Opioid: Studies show stronger opioids such as fentanyl are more likely to cause psychosis and hallucinations.

Cannabinoid: Some studies indicate that cannabis may trigger full-blown psychosis. Recent studies have found an increase in risk for psychosis in cannabis users.

Other drugs, chemicals, and plants that can cause drug-induced psychosis includes:

  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Hallucinogens (LSD and others)
  • Toluene
  • Butane
  • Gasoline (petrol)
  • Fluoroquinolone drugs
  • Dextromethorphan (DXM) at high doses.
  • Cold Medications (i.e. containing Phenylpropanolamine, or PPA)
  • Prednisone and other corticosteroids
  • Isotretinoin
  • Atropine
  • Scopolamine
  • Antidepressants
  • L-dopa
  • Antiepileptics
  • Antipsychotics, in an idiosyncratic reaction
  • Antimalarials
  • Mepacrine
  • MDMA (ecstasy)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Ketamine
  • Hawaiian baby woodrose (contains ergine)
  • Morning glory seeds (contains ergine)
  • Jimson weed (Datura, angel’s trumpet, thorn apple)
  • Belladonna (deadly nightshade)
  • Salvia divinorum
  • Organophosphate insecticides
  • Sarin and other nerve gases
  • Tetraethyllead
  • Aniline
  • Acetone and other ketones
  • Antifreeze – a mixture of ethylene glycol and other glycols
  • Arsenic and its compounds
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