Drug Psychosis-Signs and symptoms
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Psychosis? What is it?
The word psychosis describes a condition that affects the mind. In short, you lose touch with reality. When someone loses touch with reality, begins behaving quite strangely, and cannot function. You've lost your marbles, the cheese has slipped off the cracker, Elvis has left the building, one card short of a full deck, one can shy of a six pack, the machine is running, but no one is behind the wheel. You're no longer the brightest star in the sky. Basically, it's the ultimate betrayal of the mind. That's fun right?
Early psychosis means that someone is experiencing psychosis for the first time. This could be chemically drug induced (which is what I'm covering) or can be caused from mental disorders, like schizophrenia, other neurological disorders, disease, or sleep deprivation.
Hallucinations, delusions (no you are not god), paranoia (they're coming to get you Barbara), disorganized speech and thoughts are some symptoms of psychosis. So are smelling odors that do not exist, physically feeling or tasting things that are not there, also known as olfactory (smelling), and tactile (feeling, yes you are covered in tiny bugs trying to eat your skin), and gustatory (tasting..mmmm...it all tastes like fried chicken and watermelon).
Some symptoms seem so real to the person experiencing psychosis that they often don't even realize they are in it. Psychosis can also affect behavior and feelings, obviously right? People in psychosis are often animated, or terrified.
Psychotic episodes are periods of time when psychosis is strong and interferes with functioning in life. A few moments here, a few moments there. Or these episodes can last a few hours or days, although the lengths of episodes vary in each individual.
Psychosis, on the other hand is most likely to continue for weeks, months or even years, if no treatment is provided. And worst-case scenario, it can become permanent.
This is usually a scary event, not only to the person experiencing it, but to the family and loved ones that witness it, and try to provide help dealing with it.
What drugs cause psychosis
What drugs cause it?
- All drugs, including, but not limited to; Marijuana, Alcohol, Stimulants, Depressants, Opiates , prescription medications, etc...you name it, it can cause it. It all depends on how your specific brain chemically reacts to it.
However, your odds of experiencing drug induced psychosis go up with certain drugs. Using stimulants such as cocaine or meth put you at a higher risk, as do hallucinogens, like LSD, or the ever popular "magic mushrooms".
In most cases, removing the drug from the system returns the user to reality, but sometimes damage can be so severe and toxic to the user that damage does not fully reverse. And users acquire permanent or temporary bouts of psychosis or psychotic episodes which most often require medical assistance.
Have you ever experienced drug psychosis?
Symptoms of drug induced psychosis can include the following symptoms, with no typical pattern or occurrence. Sometimes psychosis episodes will vary depending on how much drug is taken, how it is taken, what drugs are combined, when/where/who/what/why, frequency, health status, etc...
No single episode of psychosis remains to exactly repeat or replicate itself, although some users will get fixated on a specific portion of it.
True story- I once witnessed a girl grating her arms with a cheese grater, high on LSD because she thought she was made of cheese.
The devil is on the radio. There are bugs under your skin, something smells like a giant rotting tomato, there are shadow people in the bushes yielding large knives waiting for you to step outside.
Psychosis is not always this drastic though, sometimes it appears as harmless as mania, or bi-polar disorder...disguising itself!
- Hallucinations (all 5 senses can be affected)
- Spiritual disturbances
- Thought and speech disorder
- Catatonia (loss of motor skills, staying in bizarre positions, unresponsiveness to external stimuli)
- Anxiety and panic
- Mood and behavior changes
How to prevent and treat drug psychosis
The best way to prevent drug psychosis is to stay away from drugs. Duh! Or at least stop or seek treatment for the ones that send you over the reality cliff.
If someone you know is in active psychosis from using a specific drug, try to talk them down and cut them off dammit! No matter how much they try to convince you that more of the drug(s) will solve the problem. Keep them in a safe location and away from things that they could harm themselves or others with. Keep them away from strangers, or sudden environmental changes. Lots of things can send someone over the edge if they are to high to realize they are on planet earth. Changes in music/sounds, temperature, places, people, you get the point. Try to keep things even and steady until the drug wears off. Then put them somewhere safely to sleep or recover from the havoc the drug(s) have done. Slow and steady wins the race.
Sometimes it helps to get them to a location or frame of mind they are familiar with, or to talk about things they love, like hobbies or other interests. If they are violent, or extremely paranoid, you may need to call for help.
If you happen to be as high as they are, but in a non-psychotic state, god help us all! One high idiot leading a crazy high idiot is not a good combo.
When someone is high and comes down only to realize they've done some whack nut damage to their brain or nervous system that is not going to repair itself overnight, fear can really set in. These people need treatment and they need it as soon as possible. Don't be afraid to pursue outside help. You may be saving their life.
Medication can be an important part of treating psychosis. It can relieve symptoms and prevent relapse. Most medications used for treatment are called anti-psychotics (or sometimes neuroleptics). Typical anti-psychotics include haloperidol, and loxapine. others still; include; risperidone, olanzapine, quetiapine, Risperidone (Risperdal), Olanzapine (Zyprexa),Quetiapine (Seroquel),Ziprasidone (Geodon),Aripiprazole (Abilify),Paliperidone (Invega),Chlorpromazine (Thorazine),Haloperidol (Haldol),Perphenazine (generic only),Fluphenazine (generic only), ziprasidone and clozapine.
Often medications used together in unison (depending on the best course of treatment determined) are anti-depressants and mood stabilizers. All of these have a fun list of side effects to add to your already gooey mind and body. They need careful monitoring, and when a patient is well they should also be removed from use. If and when that time comes that is.
Just say NO!
How can someone tell if drug induced psychosis will be temporary or permanent? They can't. No one can scientifically determine the limitations of each individuals mind, brain, or nervous system health.
Follow the old ad, "Just say no to drugs" and you can avoid this terrible non-sense all-together.
Get high on life and love, and hang out with others you hope to be like. Learn how to tap into creative parts of your mind naturally without medication and do some soul searching.
© 2013 Rebecca