04 Aug Chemically Induced Psychosis
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know drugs are bad for you. That is not new or hot off the presses information. The fact that different drugs and even alcohol can cause psychosis just isn’t something people usually think about though. This information really needs to be put out there. If this can save even one person from psychosis I’d be happy. Users may occasionally think of the damage they are doing to their body, but they don’t really consider they may in fact lose their mind. Even scarier are the young kids who think they are just experimenting and will not be regular users so no big deal. It is a very big deal because we now know it doesn’t take long-term usage to damage your mental health. Depending on the drug used, chemically induced psychosis can be relieved at an addiction treatment center and stopping of the drug, or it can be permanent.
Cocaine ranks very high for chemically induced psychosis. The reason for this is that it doesn’t take long-term usage of cocaine for this to occur. It has been well-known and well studied that chronic use of drugs in the stimulant category causes psychosis. This psychosis is that of a paranoid Schizophrenic. However, the study of just cocaine users is fairly new and quite scary. One study that took place at Department of Psychiatry, Medical University of South Carolina. The study was a fairly small one. The results were staggering though. Twenty nine out of fifty five patients admitted due to cocaine usage over the month prior had psychotic episodes. There was no difference in amount of cocaine used. They were further separated into groups according to amount of cocaine used over the year prior to admission. The group with more usage had an astounding 96% having paranoid delusions. I have a family member who has Paranoid Schizophrenia and I would not wish this condition on my worst enemy. Yet, people who use stimulants continually risk ending up with the very same symptoms.
LSD is a hallucinogenic drug. People who take this drug actually take it for the whole “trip”, the hallucinating. What they do not realize is that it is not exactly a party when this “trip” never ends. There is no control or warning when they will be “tripping” again. This is called Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder, or HPPD. It used to be believed that this wold only happen after a certain amount of usage. I actually remember being taught in health class that six times was the magic number. Now it has been found that the number of times of usage of LSD has no bearing on whom may get HPPD. After all, the mind is a very complex organ. Different chemicals have different reactions in everyone. There can be no blanket statement because there are just too many variables. A doctor specializing in this disorder has seen patients that tried LSD once and had this disorder, which lasts a lifetime.
HPPD is different from the usual chemically induced psychosis as it actually isn’t a psychosis at all. Because of the hallucinations though, these patients are typically deemed mentally ill or in a psychotic episode. These sufferers typically don’t have auditory hallucinations or delusions. It is all visual. Their brain cannot shut off what is seen beforehand. If shown a blank surface, images are seen by HPPD patients. Doctors Dr. Henry David Abraham and Dr. Frank Duffy have done brain studies and found abnormalities within the brain itself. For people suffering this condition, or have a loved one you believe is experiencing this, I suggest a visit to Dr. Henry David Abraham, MD’s site as he is the top doctor in this field.
Huffing is a very deadly way to get high. Unfortunately, it is very available as the department of health recently recognized over 1000 household products that can be used for this illegal activity. If death isn’t caused by the usage, the damage is widespread to the body. All the possible effects are an article in itself. For the sake of this article though, I will stick to the psychosis and brain damage.
Acute psychosis, extremely aggressive behavior are just a couple of the mental impairments caused by huffing. Studies have shown that the amount of suicides of people who huff are around the same numbers of those with other mental illnesses. Hallucinations or delusions typically develop within one month of substance intoxication or withdrawal.
People who drink alcohol think maybe liver damage, stomach damage, not often do they think they are causing major damage to their brain. Many alcohol dependent people who did drugs in their youth will justify their drinking by saying it is much better than “drug” abuse. Alcoholics normally don’t see alcohol as a drug. Fact is, ethanol is the active ingredient in alcoholic drinks. Ethanol is actually a neurotoxin. This toxin after long use or an excessive binge changes the brain chemistry. Once dependent on alcohol, Alcohol Related Psychosis begins. These bouts can happen at any time.
Signs of Alcohol Related Psychosis include hallucinations and paranoid behavior. Just as with cocaine, there is a marked resemblance to the paranoid schizophrenic despite no history of any mental disorders. This is not permanant. Once the alcoholism is successfully treated, the person generally returns to their former mental state. The other organic damage to the brain is irreversible though.
Cannibus as long been thought of as a harmless “natural” drug. It is even a real help to those with cancer and other chronic painful diseases. The problem comes in with long-term usage, and especially when the usage starts in the teens. When psychosis is caused by cannabis, it is typically thought the person has schizophrenia. The patient a lot of times has not been honest about the drug usage. The symptoms are hallucinations and delusions such as they are in schizophrenic patients. This psychosis can be chronic. Even if and when this psychosis resolves, the person is at a high risk of permanent cognitive impairment.
In The End
There are many, many more drugs that cause psychosis, some even legal, prescribed drugs. The important thing is to get the information out there that some drugs can cause permanant psychosis, some temporary. No matter the length of time, this can and needs to be avoided. Children need to be taught early on that even “casual experimentation” can ruin their brains forever and destroy their life. Even many adults are ignorant to this fact.