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Meth-Induced Psychosis: How to Recognize It & What to Do About It

Meth-Induced Psychosis: How to Recognize It & What to Do About It

Meth, or methamphetamine, is a drug that stimulates the central nervous system. 

It can sometimes be used to treat ADHD, but it is often abused. It has a high propensity for addiction, and many users find themselves unable to stop using without some level of addiction treatment. Long-term users of methamphetamine will start to notice damaging effects on their appearance, personal lives, mental health, and physical health. In some cases, some users may also experience episodes of meth-induced psychosis.

What Is Meth-Induced Psychosis?

This occurs when someone on methamphetamine or in the process of withdrawing from the drug experiences psychotic symptoms. As many as 40% of meth users are believed to experience psychotic symptoms or syndromes.1 Another study suggested that recreational meth users are two to three times more likely to experience psychotic symptoms than the general population.2 

In some cases, these symptoms may persist, and it becomes hard to determine if psychosis is meth-induced or the result of a primary psychotic disorder. Either way, psychosis can put a person at greater risk of self-harm or suicide, so it’s important to get someone experiencing these symptoms immediate help.

Meth-Induced Psychosis Symptoms

The symptoms of meth-induced psychosis are usually easy to spot because they can quickly become severe. What is important to remember is that ignoring these signs can end up causing even more problems down the line.

Signs of meth-induced psychosis may include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Disorganized speech
  • Formication – specific hallucination that bugs are crawling under their skin
  • Paranoia
  • Violent behavior 1,2

These meth psychosis symptoms can escalate very quickly, especially if the person continues to abuse the drug in question. What makes this situation even more tragic is that some people simply don’t care. They grow so dependent on the rush they get that the devastating consequences of these actions are more of an afterthought than anything. 

What Causes Meth-Induced Psychosis?

Meth and crystal meth-induced psychosis may occur for several reasons. In some cases, meth-induced psychosis may be the result of meth exacerbating underlying psychotic disorders. Some scientists also cite sleep deprivation as a contributing factor to meth psychosis since many meth users may go on binges that lead to little or no sleep for several days. Formication, in particular, is a meth hallucination that may also be caused by the chemical changes in the meth user’s sweat.

The truth of the matter is that addiction and psychosis have the power to destroy a person’s life when left unaddressed. Oftentimes such a dependency comes from a place of pain, and their drug use was an attempt to escape that. Sadly, this means that even people who have stopped using may still feel inclined to do it again if these core issues are not properly addressed. Luckily, our Southern California rehab is here to help.

Treating Meth-Induced Psychosis

Chronic meth users were 5 times more likely to experience psychotic symptoms during times of meth use than they were during times of meth abstinence.2 Because meth use makes these symptoms more prominent, quitting meth should be the first step to treating meth-induced psychosis. A medical detox can help wean the body off of meth while under the supervision of medical personnel who can monitor and safely address any psychotic symptoms that appear. Luckily, these services are offered at our California detox center, where meth withdrawals can be handled in a controlled environment.

Unfortunately, relapse may lead to the reappearance of meth psychosis, so it is important that the recovering addict takes measures to avoid relapsing after detox. One of the best ways to do this is with psychosocial therapies in residential addiction treatment or another treatment program offered at our Palm Springs rehab. These programs not only help people stay on the right track but can also address underlying mental health problems at play, such as anxiety or depression, that could be contributing to substance abuse disorder and psychosis.

In cases where psychotherapy and abstinence are not successful, antipsychotic medication and other mental health treatment may be necessary.

If you are interested in helping someone with drug-induced psychosis, or you yourself are struggling, do not wait until problems persist or get worse to get help. Call Banyan Palm Springs today at 888-280-4763 to learn more information.


  1. NCBI - Methamphetamine Psychosis: Epidemiology and Management
  2. Frontiers - A Comparison of Methamphetamine-Induced Psychosis and Schizophrenia: A Review of Positive, Negative, and Cognitive Symptomatology

Related Reading

Long-Term Effects of Meth Addiction

How Long Is Meth in Your System?

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Meth-Induced Psychosis: How to Recognize It & What to Do About It
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