Also known as crystal meth or meth, methamphetamine is a powerful and addictive central nervous system stimulant that’s illegally sold on the streets and used recreationally. Meth is most often linked to addiction and health problems like skin disease (meth face) and psychosis. Psychosis is an especially disturbing side effect of meth use that can lead to physical and psychological damage. To better understand this condition, today we’ll be looking into a common question: how long does meth psychosis last?
Crystal meth-induced psychosis is a mental disorder that affects a person’s thoughts and emotions, often producing extreme paranoia and anxiety. During psychosis, people often experience disturbing hallucinations, delusions, and obsessive thoughts or behaviors.
Meth causes psychosis because it produces a chemical imbalance in the central nervous system, overstimulating certain areas in the brain. As a CNS stimulant, methamphetamine works by increasing the brain’s activity and the production of a chemical associated with pleasure called dopamine.
When someone takes meth, an artificial and sudden spike in dopamine occurs, causing a chemical imbalance. This alteration then produces a high associated with alertness, energy, and extreme mood swings.
When used continuously, the brain doesn’t have an opportunity to recuperate, leaving it in a permanent state of imbalance that contributes to psychosis. This is why chronic meth users are most at risk of experiencing psychosis.
Meth also interacts with certain areas of the brain that play roles in managing emotions, impulses, fear, stress, aggression, and fight-or-flight responses. Long-term meth abuse can overstimulate these areas of the brain, leading to paranoia and violent or aggressive behavior.
Common meth psychosis symptoms also include:
How long does meth psychosis last? Do the symptoms come back like in other cases of psychosis?
Depending on the dose the person used, meth psychosis can last for just a few hours or a week. Persistent psychosis, which usually occurs in chronic users, can last for up to six months after the person quits meth.
Also, people who have abused meth for long periods usually experience long-term brain damage. It’s also important to note that psychosis can occur when the person is under the influence of meth, while they’re coming down off a high, or whenever they crave another dose.
Regarding long-term brain damage, symptoms of meth psychosis may linger in chronic users even if they’ve been sober for a while. When a person’s brain suffers from a chemical imbalance for such a long time, it struggles to heal (and often fails to do so) in the future.
The best way to treat meth psychosis is by receiving professional care at an addiction treatment facility. Our drug rehab in Naperville, IL, offers various levels of care, ranging from intensive outpatient treatment to partial hospitalization care, for patients struggling with symptoms of methamphetamine abuse.
Following a medically monitored detox at our sister facility, Banyan Heartland, patients can then begin their programs at our Chicago rehab. Methamphetamine is a difficult substance to recover from without the assistance of addiction treatment professionals, which is why we urge you to reach out if you need help.