Meth-Induced Psychosis: Why Dual Diagnosis Treatment Is Necessary for Long-Term Healing

When a loved one suffers from meth-induced psychosis, the struggle is overwhelming and the road to recovery is complicated. Both the short-term and long-term effects​ can be devastating for everyone involved. But early assessment and treatment bring hope​ for recovery from the addiction and from the induced psychosis. The revolution in treatment for dual diagnosis​ offers personalized, integrated therapy to rehabilitate and empower your loved one in the long term.

What started out as a one-time thing for Ben quickly spiraled into a destructive path that lasted for years. He tried meth with a girlfriend to satisfy his curiosity, and from that high onward, his priorities completely shifted. Looking forward to the next high quickly turned into desperation that put his job on the back burner, put his nieces and nephews almost out of his mind, put his bank account in the red, and put the 4-year relationship with his girlfriend entirely in the past.

From his sister’s perspective, Ben was living in another reality. In this personal reality, the people he used to call friends were really casing his house so they could rob him in the middle of the night, and he lost his job because his boss forgot that he existed. His girlfriend had been trying to put poison in his food and poisonous gases in the air to put him to sleep. Ben managed to live in this state of meth-induced psychosis for almost a full year as his family tried to reason with him and bring him back to reality. His sister finally reached out to a residential facility that would treat Ben’s immersive psychosis and his addictive processes simultaneously. The road back to himself and his life has been possible because of the professional and personal support he’s had along the way.

Need Help for Drug‑Induced Psychosis?

Begin Your Recovery Journey Today

The Short- and Long-Term Symptoms of Methamphetamine Use

The primary effect of methamphetamine use is an immediate and exaggerated rush of dopamine to the brain, which turns on feelings of pleasure; it’s the effect that keeps users coming back for more. Meth also stimulates the body, speeding up the heart rate and breath, raising body temperature, and giving the person a boost of energy. Too much of this kind of stimulation at once can have dangerous, even deadly, consequences. Over time, continued use of the drug wears down the heart and the body, and it confuses the brain.

Even that pleasurable dopamine high has its flipside because, with repeated use, the brain loses a grip on its natural and balanced release of dopamine to help integrate a person with their everyday life and experiences. The chemical and mental imbalances caused by prolonged meth use can create a volatile combination of aggression, paranoia, anxiety, irritation, and loss of impulse control. It has been estimated that as much as 40% of methamphetamine users are also affected by psychotic disorders or symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations involving any or all of the senses. A substance-induced psychotic disorder can itself be a short- or long-term experience, and the best prognosis depends on dual diagnosis treatment for both the addiction and the psychotic conditions.

Why Early Treatment Is Important for Meth Addiction and Psychotic Symptoms

The longer an individual suffers in addiction, the more the physical, mental, emotional, relational consequences compound. As Ben continued to live with addiction and meth-induced psychosis, the more destruction compounded around him; much of his vitality and many of his opportunities and relationships were lost. But getting into treatment allows for significant redirection from the addictive behaviors and their fallout and compassionate attention for psychotic experiences that may otherwise be out of control.

A diagnosis of meth-induced psychosis is not the same as a diagnosis of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, or depression with psychotic features. However, a clinician may assess the client for a primary psychotic disorder to rule out the possibility when the cause of psychosis is unclear. Early assessment allows for early determination of the best course of treatment for the individual. And the right treatment facility gives attention to both overwhelming experiences of psychosis and addiction.

What to Expect from Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Meth-Induced Psychosis

If you are a friend or family member of a loved one suffering with meth-induced psychosis, you probably feel ill-equipped to help them. It can be overwhelming to see this person so changed and under the power of a dangerous substance they’ll do anything to sustain. The care of experts is critical to bring someone with meth-induced psychosis to a turning point.

Because the simultaneous conditions of addiction and psychosis aggravate and stimulate each other, clients who struggle with these co-occurring disorders may not find a productive fit in a center designed only for addiction rehabilitation or only for mental health rehabilitation. Dual diagnosis treatment programs allow for integrated approaches to therapy with professionals trained to handle co-occurring disorders specifically.

Long-term residential treatment options with a dual diagnosis approach offer the best, most immersive opportunity for recovery. Here, clients are removed from many of the triggers that have helped to sustain their co-occurring disorders. They are consistently and compassionately monitored during some of the most challenging times of risky behavior, withdrawal, and facing difficult psychological content. Meanwhile, clients are becoming part of a community of peers who are also working hard to reclaim their lives. A meth-induced state can involve paranoia and distrust of people, even those who are close to the individual. In this context of long-term residential treatment, they can begin to rebuild trust in those around them and especially in those who are working hard to help them heal disconnected parts of themselves. Recovery depends on empowering the individual to overcome addictive tendencies into the future even as they peel back the layers of psychosis in the present.

If you’re concerned about a loved one and believe they may need residential care, we can help. BrightQuest offers long-term treatment for people struggling with complex mental health illnesses and co-occurring disorders. Contact us to learn more about our renowned program and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey toward recovery.