Meth, which is short for methamphetamine, is a powerful and dangerous stimulant. People who abuse this drug put themselves at risk for considerable harm, including a phenomenon called meth psychosis. Luckily, meth psychosis and addiction to this drug can be treated at a methamphetamine detox center such as ours.
About Meth Psychosis
Psychosis refers to a variety of symptoms that impair a person’s ability to accurately perceive their environment and communicate with others. Psychosis can be a symptom of several mental health disorders, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder.
In the case of meth psychosis, these types of symptoms occur after a person has used methamphetamine. Though meth intoxication is associated with a variety of disorienting effects, the symptoms of meth psychosis will be much more severe. In addition, they can last much longer than a typical meth experience.
According to a September 2016 article by Suzette Glasner-Edwards, PhD, and Larissa J. Mooney, MD, of UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, experts estimate that as many as 40% of people who abuse methamphetamine will develop symptoms of meth psychosis.
What are the Signs & Symptoms of Meth Psychosis?
Glasner-Edwards and Mooney report that the following are the four most common signs and symptoms of meth psychosis:
This refers to the experience of hearing voices, music, or other sounds that are not emanating from any actual external source.
A common example of a tactile hallucination involves the sensation that bugs are crawling over (or beneath) one’s skin, even though this is not occurring.
Ideas of Reference
A person who has ideas of reference will believe that unrelated events throughout the world relate directly to them. Examples include believing that someone on TV is talking directly to them or that a popular song was written about them.
These delusions are rigidly held beliefs that have no basis in reality or that can be easily disproven. A person who has paranoid delusions may be convinced that they are being persecuted by the government or that someone they know is secretly plotting against them.
Paranoid delusions, Glasner-Edwards and Mooney note, can sometimes prompt people to act out aggressively or violently.
Dangers of Meth Psychosis
Meth psychosis can pose a range of dangers, such as the following:
- A person who acts violently due to paranoid delusions may harm others or become injured in the process. Their aggressive behaviors may also lead to their arrest.
- A person whose perceptions are distorted due to meth psychosis may be unable to defend themselves from being robbed, swindled, assaulted, or victimized in some other way.
- Meth psychosis can lead to the onset of anxiety and other mental health concerns. If a person is already struggling with a mental illness, meth psychosis may exacerbate their symptoms.
- A person who is in the midst of a psychotic episode may continue to abuse methamphetamine and other substances, which can intensify their risk for myriad physical and mental health problems.
What to Do if Someone is Experiencing Meth Psychosis
Caring for someone who is exhibiting signs of meth psychosis can be extremely challenging. Here are a few steps that may be helpful:
- Speak with your loved one in a steady, calm, and clear voice. Making accusations or issuing ultimatums may only make the situation worse.
- Listen to how your loved one responds to you and describes what they are experiencing. This can help you understand what they are going through.
- Protect yourself. If they react with violence or aggression, remove yourself from their presence until they have calmed down.
- Suggest treatment options, and volunteer to drive them to an appointment or to a treatment center (if you have coordinated with a facility ahead of time).
- Call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Hotline or visit their website. A trained professional can assess the situation and connect you with appropriate services in your area.
How Can You Treat Meth Psychosis?
Most cases of substance-related psychosis only last a few days after the person stops using the substance that caused the psychotic symptoms. However, in the case of meth psychosis, symptoms have been known to persist for a month or longer. This underscores the importance of connecting people with proper care as soon as possible.
Effective treatment for meth psychosis must focus on at least two important goals:
- Alleviating the person’s psychotic symptoms
- Ending the person’s meth abuse
To address the meth psychosis symptoms, a variety of prescription medications have proved to be beneficial. As the person experiences relief from their psychotic symptoms via medication, therapy can help them regain control of their thoughts and actions.
To help the individual end their meth abuse, detox and therapy may both be necessary. Detox can get the person through meth withdrawal with limited distress, and addiction therapy can help them make the changes that will support long-term recovery.
Contact Our Meth & Dual Diagnosis Treatment Facility at Los Angeles Detox Today
If someone in your life has been impacted by meth psychosis or any other negative effects of methamphetamine abuse, Los Angeles Detox is here to help.
Our treatment center in Los Angeles, California, is a safe and supportive place where your loved one can receive comprehensive care from a team of compassionate professionals. We offer multiple levels of treatment and an array of services that can be customized to meet your loved one’s unique needs.
To learn more or to schedule a free intake assessment, visit our Admissions page or call us today.