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

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 meth will start to notice damaging effects to their appearance, personal lives, mental health, and physical health. In some cases, some users may also experience episodes of psychosis.

What Is Meth-Induced Psychosis?

Meth-induced psychosis occurs when someone on methamphetamine or in the process of withdrawing from methamphetamine experiences psychotic symptoms. As many as 40% of meth users are believed to experience psychotic symptoms or syndromes.1Another 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.

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

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 meth user’s sweat.

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 time 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.

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. 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 the 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 someone you care about is abusing meth or you struggle with an addiction yourself, do not wait until problems persist or get worse to get help. Call us today at 888-280-4763.


  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
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