What is Drug-Induced Psychosis and How To Get Help

To understand the term drug-induced psychosis, first, we must understand the definition of psychosis, and second, we need to realize that psychosis is a symptom, not a condition.  According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “Psychosis is characterized as disruptions to a person’s thoughts and perceptions that make it difficult for them to recognize what is real and what isn’t. These disruptions are often experienced as seeing, hearing, and believing things that aren’t real (hallucinations) or having strange, persistent thoughts, behaviors, and emotions (delusions).” 

Drug-induced psychosis (DIP), also known as substance-induced psychotic disorder, is any psychotic episode that is related to the abuse of substances. DIP can occur from taking too much of a drug, having an adverse reaction after mixing substances, or during withdrawal from a drug. Also, those with severe mental health illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder who are already prone to psychosis can be triggered by becoming overly intoxicated. For example, in those with bipolar disorder with manic episodes, stimulants will make the mania worse, eventually resulting in psychosis. 

What Substances Increase The Risk of Psychosis?

DIP is often caused by the abuse of hallucinogens (LSD, Ketamine), amphetamines, cocaine, or certain prescription medications. When it comes to illicit drugs, the potential of psychotic symptoms appearing varies from substance to substance. For example, taking a large amount of cocaine all at once can cause psychosis very quickly. Psychedelic drugs like LSD affect the user in a way that mimics actual psychosis, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. These drugs, however, are not shown to induce psychosis with the first use. The symptoms are more prevalent after repeated use of the drug over a period of time. 


People who have a chronic alcohol use disorder that has lasted for several years are vulnerable to intense paranoia and psychosis, especially when they stop drinking. This occurs due to a set of withdrawal symptoms referred to as delirium tremens or severe mental or nervous system changes. 

Drug-Induced Psychosis, Addiction, and Treatment

As stated earlier, psychosis is a symptom, not a condition and DIP is typically temporary, resolving in a few hours or days. However, it’s very serious and often requires medical intervention and effective treatment. In the case of drug-induced psychosis, addiction can make it difficult to stop, and withdrawal symptoms are unavoidable after long-term substance abuse. In those with pre-existing mental health disorders, proper treatment is vital to ensure that the individual does not feel the need to self-medicate. 

If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction or substance use disorder and a mental health disorder, get help now. Mental health and substance use disorders often co-occur and must be treated simultaneously as a dual diagnosis for the best success in recovery. Make the life-saving, life-changing decision to get help and contact us today at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT.