Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is a powerful stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system. Long-term meth use can lead to meth hallucinations and meth psychosis, a serious condition characterized by delusions, agitated behavior, and paranoia. These hallucinations can appear so vivid that users may even experience sensations like bugs crawling under their skin, making meth psychosis a terrifying and dangerous experience. Beware of the frightening reality that lurks behind the already menacing stimulant.
Can Meth Cause Hallucinations?
Meth can cause hallucinations by overstimulating the brain, leading to mental health side effects. Hallucinations can include seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there. Since other people cannot hear, see, or feel what the person abusing the drug experiences, the hallucinations can be terrifying and disturbing for both. In some cases, former meth users may experience hallucinations for years after they have stopped abusing meth.
The following are signs that indicate a person is experiencing hallucinations.
- Meth-induced hallucinations can be both visual and auditory and can be extremely vivid and intense.
- Visual hallucinations can include seeing people or objects that aren’t present and hearing voices, while tactile hallucinations include feeling sensations that aren’t real.
- It’s not uncommon for people in the throes of meth psychosis to experience visual and auditory hallucinations simultaneously.
- People experiencing meth-induced hallucinations may have difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is not.
Can Meth Cause Delusions?
Paranoid delusions are a symptom of psychosis, a severe mental health condition that can occur during prolonged meth use. Meth affects the brain’s natural chemistry, leading to changes in thinking and behavior.
Delusions during meth use can range from believing people are out to harm them to feeling as though they have things such as insects covering their body to having supernatural powers and other hyperactivity. Meth-induced delusions can be dangerous to individuals and others, especially if they lead to aggressive or violent behavior. Seeking professional help through addiction treatment and mental health services is crucial for those struggling with meth use and associated delusions.
Symptoms of Meth Psychosis
Meth psychosis is a mental disorder that occurs when a person uses meth or has recently withdrawn from the drug. When a person abuses meth long-term, it can lead to permanent changes in the brain structure that can cause persistent psychosis.
Symptoms of meth psychosis include:
- Disordered thinking
- Extreme agitation
- Intense mood swings
- Irrational behavior
- Violent or self-destructive
- Weight loss
- Physical deterioration
The alarming effects of meth psychosis can be treated through a combination of medication and therapy, but its long-term impact on the brain and mental health is not fully understood. Prevention, including avoiding meth use altogether, is the best way to prevent meth-induced psychosis.
What Happens to the Brain During Meth Psychosis?
Meth works by increasing the dopamine in the brain, which can lead to reward-seeking behavior, but also disrupts normal brain function. This disruption can cause changes in the structure and chemistry of the brain, leading to alterations in cognitive processes, mood regulation, and impulse control. Meth psychosis and continued drug use can also cause long-term damage to the brain, resulting in persistent cognitive impairment, memory loss, and other psychotic disorders.
The treatment of methamphetamine-induced hallucinations and psychosis depends on the severity of the symptoms. In some cases, the individual may require hospitalization to receive treatments such as antipsychotic medication to reduce psychosis symptoms and sedatives to address agitation. In less severe cases, talk therapy and counseling sessions may be recommended to help the individual cope with the psychological aftermath of meth use.
Helping a Loved One Suffering from Meth Psychosis
Most importantly, if you have a loved one suffering from meth psychosis, it is essential to seek the support of a professional, as this condition can be severe and potentially dangerous. Encourage your loved one to see a doctor or mental health professional for evaluation and treatment and to discuss their family history, risk factors, and family mental health disorders that the abuser might be prone to developing.
While being there for your loved one, aim to be supportive and understanding, but set boundaries to protect yourself and others from harmful behavior. Educate yourself about meth psychosis, mental illness, drug abuse, and its symptoms, and encourage your loved one to avoid using meth as it can worsen their condition. Remember to take care of your own emotional and physical well-being as well.
How is Meth Psychosis Treated?
Meth psychosis treatment can vary depending on the severity of the case. Generally, treating the underlying meth addiction is the priority. Once the patient has stopped using the drug, they may receive antipsychotic medication to manage the psychotic episodes and symptoms. Therapy and counseling can address the patient’s emotional and psychological health, providing coping skills and strategies to control urges to use drugs. In some cases, hospitalization or residential treatment may be necessary. However, the best treatment approach depends on the patient’s unique needs and the severity of their symptoms.
In a case study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, antipsychotics, including risperidone and olanzapine, can manage acute MA-induced psychotic symptoms. In addition, patients also respond to other antipsychotics as well as mood stabilizers and anti-anxiety medications.
However, the most critical aspect of treatment is providing a supportive environment for the patient, counseling, and psychotherapy to help them cope with their symptoms. In some cases, inpatient treatment may be necessary for individuals with severe symptoms of meth psychosis, as this provides 24-hour care and monitoring.
Our Meth Addiction Treatment Program
Treating meth-induced hallucinations and psychosis typically involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Antipsychotic drugs such as haloperidol or olanzapine can effectively reduce psychotic symptoms. Detoxification from meth is also necessary and can be managed through medication-assisted treatment. In addition, cognitive-behavioral therapy or other talk therapy may help address underlying issues contributing to substance abuse and help individuals develop coping skills to manage symptoms. It is vital to seek professional help as methamphetamine-induced hallucinations and psychosis can be dangerous and require immediate attention.
At Southeast Addiction Center, our Meth Addiction Treatment Program provides comprehensive care for individuals suffering from meth addiction, including medical evaluation, clinical counseling, and holistic therapies. T
The programs at our treatment center are designed to help individuals suffering from meth addiction manage their symptoms and achieve long-term recovery, where they have access to evidence-based therapies that focus on addressing the underlying issues contributing to the development of meth addiction. Through our program, individuals can access 24/7 medical and psychiatric care while receiving treatment from three levels of care.
Our Levels of Care
Through our treatment programs, individuals can take control of their substance use disorder from varying levels of care.
- Detox: Through our medical detox program, clients are medically monitored as they go through the withdrawal process.
- Inpatient treatment: For this level of care, clients live at our facility 24/7. While clients do have the ability to leave, doing so means they are kicked out of the program.
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP): This option is a day treatment where patients receive healthcare services daily and return home in the evenings to continue working and attending school. Clients spend up to 30 hours a week at our treatment center.
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP): IOP is a less intensive option for patients to receive treatment 3-5 five days a week in the form of 3-hour sessions.
- Aftercare/Traditional Outpatient: Aftercare and continuous support are critical to maintaining sobriety. Support can include ongoing family and individual therapy or counseling, continued participation in support groups or 12-step programs, and regular check-ins with a therapist.
- Sober living homes: Our sober living homes offer structured housing that provides additional accountability in the form of drug tests and curfews. Sober living is often used in conjunction with PHP and IOP.
People suffering from meth psychosis may have difficulty functioning daily and need professional help, which can be treated with medications, psychotherapy, and other supportive care. It’s essential to seek help if you or someone you know suffers from meth psychosis. By contacting us at the Southeast Addiction Center, we can be the first step toward recovery.