How to Treat Meth Psychosis

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If you have methamphetamine or meth psychosis then how should your rehab center go about treating it? Meth psychosis treatment typically entails behavioral therapy with the intention of dealing with the addiction itself in order to help the addict exist without using meth as a crutch. You might also be prescribed antipsychotics to immediately curb the more harmful effects of psychotic episodes, such as erratic behavior and even self-harm.

However, before going about meth psychosis treatment, you need to first know what it is and what causes it to happen in the first place.

Standard Practices for Meth Intoxication and Withdrawal Treatment

Here’s what rehab facilities usually give out to treat symptoms of meth intoxication and withdrawal. You should immediately see the pattern of treatment via the table below.

SymptomAcute IntoxicationAcute Withdrawal
Agitation
  • Supportive Care
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Supportive Care
  • Benzodiazepines
Anxiety
  • Supportive Care
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Supportive Care
  • Benzodiazepines
Insomnia
  • Sedative Antipsychotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Sedative Antipsychotics
  • Antidepressants
Psychosis
  • Antipsychotics
  • Antipsychotics
Depression
  • n/a
  • Antidepressants

As you can plainly see, the treatment for either meth intoxication or withdrawal tends to match save for one exception, which is depression. Acute intoxication doesn’t involve depression as a meth abuse or intoxication symptom but it does occur when you’re attempting to cease using the drug as a withdrawal symptom.

Some rehab centers might specifically treat acute meth psychosis with antipsychotic medications such as haloperidol. From there, meth psychosis can be mitigated or even cured. Antipsychotic drugs help treat the psychosis symptom itself but to get to the root of the problem, the meth abuse should be addressed.

What Is Meth Psychosis?

Ostensibly, meth psychosis is psychosis caused or induced by meth abuse. Meanwhile, psychosis itself is defined as a severe mental condition or sickness wherein your emotions and thoughts are impaired to the point where you’ve lost touch with reality. Using too much meth can lead to you becoming psychotic. It’s one of the symptoms of long-term meth abuse.

It’s no coincidence that anti-drug public service announcements highlight the more delusional aspects of meth addiction to scare people into never trying it. As the PSA says, “Meth. Not even once.”

  • Psychosis vs. Meth Psychosis: So what’s the difference between meth psychosis and “regular” psychosis? The former is the psychiatric disorder caused by meth abuse and can even persist long after you’ve stopped using the drug or have treated your dependence on it. When you’re psychotic, your behavior becomes so erratic and your mind becomes so delusional that it can lead you to your incarceration or even death.
  • The Same Neurotransmitter Is Affected: Abusing meth naturally leads to a host of side effects, particularly the induction of psychosis. The patient might get psychotic episodes or symptoms resembling schizophrenia due to the fact that methamphetamine affects the same neurotransmitter that’s impaired when someone has the conditions of psychosis and schizophrenia. They’re all connected or correlated to one another.
  • Paranoid Schizophrenia vs. Meth Psychosis: Meth psychosis and paranoid schizophrenia actually share several symptoms. Both include feeling, seeing, or hearing things that aren’t really there in real life as well as aggressive behavior and delusional thoughts. The fact that meth duplicates the symptoms of a primary health disorder like schizophrenia is more than a little disconcerting.
  • Watch Out for Delusions and Hallucinations: One of the more pernicious aspects of meth psychosis and attempting to kick your meth habit is the development of delusions or hallucinations. In fact, these symptoms develop during or soon after you’ve abused meth or you’re attempting to stop using meth and you’re dealing with withdrawal symptoms. However, psychotic symptoms don’t happen during delirium.
  • Medical Assistance and Picking Up The Pieces: You should immediately seek help if you have meth-induced psychosis. Medical assistance must be provided not only to keep you from hurting others or yourself due to your delusions from your psychosis. It’s also imperative that your addiction itself gets treated as soon as possible. It all starts with detoxifying you of all traces of the drug from your system then moving on from there to “pick up the pieces” that is your life.

What Causes Meth Psychosis?

Psycho lurking in the dark. Visible noise and harshness for scary atmosphere.

Meth-induced psychosis is directly linked to chronic meth usage. It’s not a correlation equals causation fallacy this time around. It really is caused by meth abuse and psychosis is one of the symptoms of abusing meth or meth addiction. To be more specific, brain changes happen to people who abuse the drug that are often worse than something like cocaine, which short-circuits the brain’s dopamine-based reward system for good, constructive behavior.

Thusly, there are factors that contribute to the development of meth-induced psychosis. They include the following.

  • Dosage
  • Duration of use
  • Addiction history
  • Frequency of use
  • History of sexual abuse
  • Presence of co-occurring disorders

Here’s a more in-depth look at methamphetamine being a trigger to psychosis and how meth addiction plays a role towards developing this complication.

  • Sexual Abuse and Co-Occurring Disorders: Among these factors, you’ll notice that co-occurring disorders and history of sexual abuse are those that have nothing to do with meth usage per se. Rather, they contribute or complicate a developing to the drug, since sexual abuse trauma and certain disorders (particularly those of a mental variety) can increase your risk for psychosis or at least make you more susceptible to it.
  • Mind-Altering Psychotic Stimulant: With meth, makes you more susceptible to a wide range of mental health problems including psychosis on top of making you more dependent on it because it’s a stimulant with side effects related to altering the parts of your brain that deals with your perception of reality are rewired and damaged by taking copious amounts of the drug.
  • High Risk of Psychosis Development: According to Edward Bednarczyk—University of Buffalo’s Director for the Center for Health Outcomes, Pharmacoinformatics, and Epidemiology—studies show that your risk of developing psychosis is high when you start using and abusing meth. This goes double to triple for abusers who have a family history of either schizophrenia or psychosis. In short, never use meth if you have schizophrenics or psychotics in your family line.
  • Meth Makes Schizophrenics Worse: One of the co-occurring conditions that meth abusers should watch out for is schizophrenia. There are studies showing that those who have schizotypal personality disorder, schizoaffective disorder, or schizophrenia experiences are more likely to develop psychosis when using meth due to their susceptibility to psychosis from the get go. Meth only pushes their symptoms to the extreme.
  • Studies Confirm The Mental Dangers of Meth: Anyone with a history of mental illness can exacerbate or trigger their condition as well as develop psychosis symptoms after meth use. This is according to the conclusions and findings by several University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers after reviewing existing meth psychosis research. Meanwhile, separate research reveals that meth can outright worsen psychosis symptoms among schizophrenics.
  • Long-Term Persistent Effects: There are permanent long-term side effects associated with meth abuse. Its psychosis symptoms can reoccur or persist for years after the patient has kicked his meth habit and completed rehab. This stimulant, which is also known as biker’s coffee, can take quite the psychological toll in your brain that coffee never could. More to the point, you can get psychotic episodes spontaneously or out of the blue as long as you’ve abused meth in the past.
  • Psychosis in Pill Form: Psychosis isn’t only a side effect or symptom of meth abuse. There are experts who claim that psychosis is so intrinsically linked with meth use and abuse that meth is practically psychosis in pill form the same way coffee is stimulation in drink form. It can also be psychosis in smokable crystal rock or injection form, if you want to get technical about it. It’s not merely a rare condition that might occur with meth abuse.
  • Even Healthy People Can Develop Meth Psychosis: Even if your family doesn’t have a history of schizophrenia or psychosis you can still develop meth psychosis as long as you’re meth dependent. To be more specific, those who never use meth or aren’t addicted to it are three times less likely than meth users to develop psychosis. According to a 2014 study, about 26-46 percent of people with meth dependency experience meth psychosis as a symptom or complication of abuse.

What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Meth Psychosis?

Depressed Teenage Boy Lying In Bedroom With Pills

It can be difficult for loved ones to recognize the signs of meth abuse up until they become too obvious or potentially too late. However, people who suffer from meth-induced psychosis exhibit some telltale signs and personality changes that are hard to miss.

Over time, they might start to show clear behavioral, psychological, and physical changes that should serve as red flags for you to get help. The signs of meth psychosis include the following.

  • Agitation
  • Self-absorption
  • Hyper-alertness
  • A tendency to be violent
  • Rashes caused by picking at the skin

There’s a 2015 study in the CNS Drugs journal showing that up to 40 percent of meth users suffer from psychosis symptoms. Meanwhile, the symptoms of meth psychosis include the following.

  • Delusions
  • Confusion
  • Intense paranoia
  • Self-consciousness in public
  • Erratic, unpredictable behavior
  • Hallucinations both visual and auditory

Meth addicts and abusers with psychosis symptoms might undergo alternations in many aspects of their lives directly rooted in their change in behavior and personality. They can range from poor hygiene to constant paranoia as their brains get more and more rewired by meth abuse.

The immediate dangers of untreated meth intoxication and overdose include the following,

  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Heart attack
  • Possible death

However, the more common long-term dangers of meth include brain changes that plague the addict and place a huge burden on resources for local addiction treatment, which are typically ill-equipped to deal with such an issue.

Different Meth Psychosis Treatments Available

When you’re undergoing meth psychosis treatment, your rehab treatment center will typically give you antipsychotic prescriptions as your first-line psychosis treatment and as part of your meth detoxification therapy. After all, detox also includes medication for symptom treatment to prevent the possibility of relapse or even some life-threatening complications.

You will also be given antipsychotics to help deal with the acute withdrawal symptoms of meth abuse. With that in mind, here are the things to keep in mind regarding the different meth psychosis treatments available to you.

  • How Meth Psychosis Complicates Treatments: Meth psychosis can make your addiction treatment lengthier than normal. Your inpatient treatment will have more frequent and longer stays. You might also end up with more court-ordered addiction treatment in line with your erratic behavior probably leading to you breaking the law or having law enforcement called upon you.
  • Approved Antipsychotic Medications: There are several particular brands or types of antipsychotic medications that have shown effectiveness in the treatment of psychosis induced by meth abuse. According to separate studies in 2009 and 2014, they include the following tolerable medications that relieve psychosis episodes in most people who take them.
    • Haloperidol
    • Olanzapine
    • Quetiapine

    Here’s a little disclaimer though. No studies exist in regards to the effectiveness of these medications in the treatment of teenagers and children who are suffering from meth psychosis. Many meth users experience meth-induced psychosis belong to those two age groups.

  • The Importance of Behavioral Therapy: There’s evidence that behavioral therapy—particularly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)—is among the most effective first-line treatments for meth psychosis. It’s more effective than emergency antipsychotics for long-term relief because it helps push you in the right direction towards unlearning your bad habits ingrained in your brain that led you to become dependent on meth in the first place.
  • CBT and Formal Studies on Its Effectiveness: To be clear, the effectiveness of CBT hasn’t been formally studied as a non-pharmaceutical antipsychosis treatment. However, the approach continues to be used for helping addicts learn better, more constructive habits that should keep them away from relapse and taking more meth that directly causes their psychosis in the first place. The way CBT reframes your perception also helps them cope when faces with psychotic episodes.
  • What The Matrix Model Brings to The Table: Another method of psychosis treatment is the Matrix Model. It encourages meth addicts to commit to sobriety and treatment. The Matrix Model involves a highly structured program where a therapist discusses planned topics in sequential order to reach him crucial relapse prevention skills. More importantly, it combines group, family, couples, marriage, and cognitive behavioral therapy together along with support groups and the 12-step program.
  • Inpatient Treatment Is a Must: Meth addicts who suffer from bouts of meth psychosis should get immediate medical attention. They can receive meth addiction treatment in a crisis intervention setting or inpatient facility in light of how sensitive and erratic their behavior can be while under the influence of meth and its psychosis complication. Outpatient facilities aren’t enough to handle such cases.
  • Dual Diagnosis for Co-Occurring Disorders: Many rehab centers help addicts with mental health disorders along with meth addiction through the service known as dual diagnosis. Facilities used to only treat addiction, believing that the other conditions will be treated along with it once the addiction is dealt with. However, newer treatment paradigms favor tailor-fitting individual treatment based on the severity of the addict’s addiction with any other issues he might have, from PTSD to depression.

How to Deal with Someone Who Has Meth Psychosis

Psychotic disorder confirm stamp

If a loved one, spouse, or family member has meth psychosis, you should tread lightly. It might feel like every interaction with them is like walking on eggshells but it’s important for you to avoid confrontation or to mistake an intervention for something violent or negative. Meth addicts with psychosis are powder kegs of energy and stimulation.

A person with meth psychosis can be quite unpredictable, pardon the understatement. Negotiating with them in regards to dealing with their substance abuse in the middle of a psychotic episode might not be the best course of action. For the time being, be careful with your words while being both supportive and reassuring. You should also use common sense when dealing with a drug-addicted person.

Talk to him about the benefits of going to rehab for his addiction when he’s sober instead of when he’s high on drugs. You should also do this in an intervention setting, along with his other friends and family members since there’s strength in numbers. Talk to him calmly. Don’t argue. If the person becomes belligerent, hostile, or outright violent then you can call 911 or have police on standby.

The Bottom Line

When treating meth psychosis you should keep in mind that it’s intrinsically tied with or even caused by meth addiction. Psychosis is also the reason why the insomnia symptom of meth abuse is treated with not only sedatives but also sedative antipsychotics to deal with both issues at the same time. It’s one of the primary complications of meth abuse the same way lung diseases are the primary complications of tobacco abuse.

Meth psychosis can lead to social awkwardness and poor mental and physical health as the addict becomes more and more obsessed or dependent on being high in order to feel normal, side effects and complications aside. Therefore, you better watch out and never allow yourself or others to even try out meth. It’s not worth it.

Take note that antipsychotic medication is for immediate emergency treatment of meth intoxication and withdrawal. Long-term treatment usually involves more psychological and behavioral therapies.

Contact Clarity Luxury Drug Rehab Today

Clarity Luxury Drug and Alcohol Rehab in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand provides excellent meth psychosis treatment that’s world-class because of its internationally trained staff of doctors. It’s also composed of counselors who are former addicts who’ve been there and done that when it comes to addiction recovery.

If you wish to put your life in the hands of proven professionals and experienced counselors then you should give Clarity a call right now. Contact them today and get quotes and assistance post-haste.

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