Methamphetamine (also known as meth or ice) is a potent psychostimulant that can produce a condition known as psychosis as a result of long-term or chronic abuse.
If you’ve ever heard any meth psychosis stories, then you may know that many people compare the symptoms of meth-induced psychosis vs schizophrenia. While meth and paranoia go hand in hand, our Chicago rehab is hesitant to admit that the two are the same. We’re looking further into their relationship and whether meth use can cause schizophrenia.
What Is Meth-Induced Psychosis?
Psychosis itself refers to a mental disorder characterized by a disconnection from reality. So, a meth-induced psychosis is a psychosis that’s caused by methamphetamine abuse. Despite the dangers of ice abuse, many people are unable to quit on their own because this drug is so addictive. After a while of use, the body becomes physically dependent, making it nearly impossible to quit without the help of a meth addiction treatment.
Long-term meth use and psychosis are tightly linked. This condition is most common in people who have abused this drug for years, with the severity of symptoms depending on the excess of use.
Common meth psychosis symptoms include:
- Feeling agitated or jumpy
- Feeling anxious
- Talking a lot and very quickly
- Switching from one topic to another
- Having incomplete or distorted conversations that are difficult for others to follow
- Having very strange or unusual beliefs
- Feeling paranoid or believing others are scheming against you
- Having itchy skin, which may feel like there are bugs crawling on you (meth mites)
Although it’s possible to regain your sobriety with the help of a partial hospitalization program, the brain damage caused by meth isn’t always curable. With that being said, meth-induced psychosis may or may not be permanent in some people. It all depends on how long and how heavily they used this drug. Again, those with a history of mental illness are more likely to experience episodes of psychosis, so it’s crucial to avoid drug abuse at all costs.
What Is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder that affects a person’s ability to think, feel, and behave clearly. The condition is caused by a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and altered brain chemistry and structure, the last of which can be caused by abusing drugs like meth
Schizophrenia is characterized by thoughts or experiences that are disconnected or out of touch from reality. Disorganized speech and behavior, isolation, hallucinations, delusions, and decreased interest in activities are common symptoms of schizophrenia. A person with this condition may also struggle with concentration and memory problems.
Psychosis and Schizophrenia
Psychosis is a common symptom of schizophrenia. Rather than being a condition, psychosis is a group of symptoms that can be triggered by a disruption in the brain, such as drug use or a mental disorder. Although psychosis symptoms are common in people with schizophrenia, they aren’t the only symptoms this condition causes, and this condition isn’t the only cause of psychosis. In some cases, other mental illnesses can cause psychosis, including depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, and borderline personality disorder.
Comparing Meth-Induced Psychosis vs Schizophrenia
Psychosis caused by meth and schizophrenia are two completely different things. While psychosis may be a set of symptoms in people with schizophrenia, meth-induced psychosis is considered a separate psychotic disorder. In fact, drug-induced psychoses are distinguished from schizophrenia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Additionally, any psychosis that occurs during drug withdrawal is considered a substance-induced psychosis disorder.
However, these diagnostic guidelines begin to blur when the psychosis persists for a long period. The DSM-5 outlines that any psychosis that lasts longer than 6 months should be diagnosed as a primary psychotic illness, like schizophrenia. This means that while the likelihood of psychosis occurring from long-term meth use is understood, the potential for meth-induced psychosis to become schizophrenia is less clear.
Can Meth Use Cause Schizophrenia?
Considering everything we’ve gone over, you may now be wondering, “Can meth cause permanent schizophrenia?” Yes, meth can cause permanent schizophrenia for several reasons. First, meth can increase your likelihood or vulnerability to schizophrenia because of its impact on neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Early research has shown that meth-induced psychosis can progress into schizophrenia, producing symptoms like paranoia and anxiety.1
Second, people with schizophrenia or a family history of schizophrenia are more likely to experience drug-induced psychosis if they abuse methamphetamine. However, this isn’t guaranteed. Not everyone who abused meth experiences psychosis, and not everyone with meth-induced psychosis develops schizophrenia. However, any pre-existing mental disorder can increase the likelihood of meth-induced psychosis, and drug-induced psychosis can cause an onset of schizophrenia symptoms.
Also, because the high that vaping causes is short-lived, it encourages users to vape more in a short period. So, not only does vaping give you a buzz, but long-term use also increases your risk of developing nicotine addiction as well as potentially life-threatening respiratory and lung problems.
Treatment for Meth-Induced Psychosis
Although our drug and alcohol rehab Chicago refers our patients to our sister facility, Banyan Heartland, for medically monitored detox, patients are able to continue their recovery at our center. Most of our patients usually undergo medical detox before jumping into one of our levels of substance abuse treatment to slowly wean them off of drugs, monitor their withdrawal symptoms, and manage the drug cravings. Once that’s completed, they can then move on to our meth rehab program.
Whether it’s on a partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient level of care, patients in our drug treatment programs are offered addiction counseling and therapy in individual and group settings to help them overcome the psychological impact of addiction.
If you want freedom from drug or alcohol addiction, we can help. Call Banyan Treatment Centers Chicago today at 888-280-4763 to speak to a team member about our admissions process and how to get started.
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