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How Long Does Drug-Induced Psychosis Last?

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Today’s post focuses on a dangerous potential effect of drug use that many people have never even heard of: drug-induced psychosis. Which types of drugs can cause psychosis? What symptoms are associated with this condition – and how long does drug-induced psychosis last? 

What Is Drug-Induced Psychosis?

Before we address how long does drug-induced psychosis last, it can be valuable to take a few moments to discuss what, exactly, this type of psychosis is.

Psychosis refers to disruptions in a person’s ability to perceive their environment and communicate with other people. When a person is in the midst of a psychotic episode, they may experience a variety of distressing symptoms, such as these:

  • Hallucinations – The most common forms of hallucinations are auditory (hearing sounds or other voices that do not emanate from an external source) and visual (seeing light patterns, people, or objects that don’t exist). 
  • Delusions – These are rigidly held beliefs that can either be easily disproved (such as believing that they are in a loving relationship with a celebrity that they’ve never met) or that have no basis in reality (such as believing that they have magical powers or other extraordinary talents).
  • Disorganized speech – This can involve jumping abruptly and illogically from one topic to another, using words due to their sounds or rhyming patterns instead of their meanings, using made-up words or nonsense sounds, or answering questions with completely unrelated statements.
  • Grossly disorganized behavior – Examples of this type of symptom may include dressing in an extremely inappropriate or bizarre fashion, acting in a childish manner, or holding one’s body in awkward positions.
  • Negative behaviors – These can include lack of facial expressiveness, no apparent interest in interacting with others, and minimal desire to even leave the house.

Psychosis can be a symptom of certain mental health disorders, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder. It can also result from some brain injuries, as well as substance abuse. In cases where people develop these types of symptoms after abusing cocaine, methamphetamine, hallucinogens, or other substances, the phenomenon is known as drug-induced psychosis.

How Long Does Drug-Induced Psychosis Last?

Given the intensity of the symptoms listed in the previous section, plus the significant disruption that they can have on a person’s life, it is understandable to want to know, how long does drug-induced psychosis last?

The good news is that this experience does not typically endure for an extended period of time, as is common when psychosis is the result of a mental health disorder or a brain injury. However, there is no single, universally applicable timeline.

The answer to the question, how long does drug-induced psychosis last, can be influenced by factors such as:

  • Which substance or substances the person has been abusing
  • The amount and frequency of their substance abuse
  • If they have co-occurring mental health concerns

In some cases, the symptoms of drug-induced psychosis will begin to wear off shortly after the effects of the drug itself start to subside. In other cases, the psychosis symptoms may persist for weeks, months or even years.

These estimations are supported by a variety of research efforts, including an October 2012 study in the Shanghai Archives of Psychiatry. In that study, Japanese researchers followed up with 189 patients who had been hospitalized with symptoms of drug-induced psychosis, primarily as a result of extended meth abuse. The research team found the following:

  • 60% of the patients experienced a resolution of their psychotic symptoms within 30 days of ending their drug use.
  • 30% of the patients continued to struggle with symptoms of drug-induced psychosis for one to six months after they stopped abusing drugs.
  • 10% of patients had symptoms for longer than six months. Of this group, just under half eventually had their diagnosis changed from drug-induced psychosis to schizophrenia.

How Is Drug-Induced Psychosis Treated?

As indicated by the study results in the previous section, for people to overcome drug-induced psychosis, they must first end their substance abuse. Given the amount of drug use that typically precedes the onset of drug-induced psychosis, a person may need to complete drug rehab before they can experience an easing of the psychotic symptoms.

At Nashville Treatment Solutions, patients may get professional help for addiction in one or more of the following programs:

  • Detoxification (which is commonly referred to as detox)
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Outpatient program (OP)

Within these programs, treatment for addiction and drug-induced psychosis may involve a combination of medication and therapy.

Medication can ease the cravings and other withdrawal symptoms that occur when people end their use of certain substances. Medication may also address some forms of psychosis, as well as the symptoms of some co-occurring mental health concerns.

During therapy, patients can learn about the disease of addiction, identify their triggers (the circumstances that could threaten to push them back into active substance use), and develop the skills that will help them remain in recovery. Therapy can also help people learn how to manage any psychosis symptoms that persist after they stop abusing substances.

If, during the course of drug addiction treatment at our center in Nashville, we determine that a patient’s struggles with psychosis are related to schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or another mental health concern, we can adjust our treatment efforts or make a referral to a trusted provider who can more effectively address the patient’s mental health concerns.

Find Addiction Treatment in Nashville, TN

If you or someone that you care about have been experiencing symptoms of drug-induced psychosis, or if you have been struggling with any other effects of addiction, Nashville Treatment Solutions can help. Our center is a safe and welcoming place where you can receive personalized treatment and comprehensive support from a team of skilled professionals. 

When you’re ready to start living a healthier life, free from compulsive substance abuse, our team is here for you. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact Us page or call us today.