Sadly, addiction can be one of the most severe illnesses; it can have many negative side effects on one’s health and life in general. Alcoholism specifically can even include fits of alcohol-induced psychosis. “But what is alcohol-induced psychosis?” you may be asking. In short, it is a rare but serious condition in which copious amounts of alcohol or withdrawals from alcohol can cause psychotic episodes in a person. Read on to learn more about alcohol psychosis, how it happens, why, and how we can treat it.
Although addiction can be one of the most challenging things to recover from, sobriety is possible with the right help. Fortunately, support is right here in front of you. Give us a call at 626-602-2966 to learn about all the options for treatment and recovery. Let us make this challenging journey a little easier for you.
Continue reading below for additional information about alcohol-induced psychosis and its symptoms. If you require further support then please reach out to our specialists today.
In medicine, the word “psychosis” refers to a condition or conditions that affect one’s mind, specifically when one experiences some loss of contact with reality. When a person experiences this, it is called a psychotic episode. During a psychotic episode, an individual’s thoughts and perception of reality become disturbed. This individual will often have a difficult time knowing and acknowledging what is real and not real. Symptoms of psychosis include the following:
- Hallucinations: when a person sees and hears something that is not real, the individual believes to be authentic.
- Delusions: a false belief, specifically a false belief in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is wrong. A common misconception is typically paranoia – the feeling that someone is out to get, lie to, or harm oneself.
- Disassociation: though it is less common, individuals feel detached from their bodies or the entire world. A person experiencing depersonalization may feel they, other people, or the world itself, are not real.
Other symptoms can include incoherent speech and, in some cases, inappropriate behavior, depending on the severity of the psychotic episode. Someone who lives with psychosis may also experience depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, withdrawal from their social life, a lack of motivation, and difficulty overall, daily functioning.
How Alcohol-induced Psychosis Occurs
Although it is rare, alcohol-induced psychosis is real, and it can occur in a person due to many alcohol-related reasons. As one might suspect, alcohol-induced psychosis can happen when one is severely intoxicated. This is due to alcohol’s effect on the brain. When drinking, alcohol blocks signals between brain cells, which is why the well-known symptoms of intoxication occur. In blocking these signals, a person becomes more impulsive, slurs their speech, has a poor memory, and impaired motor skills. This happens simply because a person’s brain is not functioning at its usual capacity. Due to this massive effect alcohol can have on the mind, it can pave the way for alcohol hallucinations, especially when ingesting alcohol in dangerous quantities over extended periods.
However, alcohol psychosis can also occur due to a lack of alcohol in one’s system. When one has alcohol addiction, the overuse of the substance changes the brain. In response to the signals alcohol blocks, the brain adapts and begins over stimulating neurotransmitters to send the alerts. This can present several issues when one decides to quit drinking and pursue a life of sobriety. When going through withdrawal, the brain adapts and continues to overstimulate the neurotransmitters. Doing so can cause a great deal of pain in the individual and potentially lead to psychosis and psychotic episodes in some individuals.
You do not need to suffer through this psychosis alone. We are here to help. Contact our specialists today, and we can provide you with the tools and resources you need to start living your best life. Let us help you get on the path to recovery.
Who is at Risk for Alcohol-induced Psychosis?
Sadly, many causes and factors play into the psychosis of any kind. While it can occur as a result of alcohol abuse, it is still a rare occurrence. Other psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, are much more common and can often cause what one perceives as alcohol-induced psychosis. To have an alcohol-induced psychotic disorder, that individual has to have done years of unsafe, heavy, and consistent drinking. Even then, it takes an experienced physician to determine if alcohol was the cause of one’s psychosis. There are many other variables these professionals must consider in psychosis cases, such as family history, medications one might be taking, and physical health issues such as hyperthyroidism.
Fortunately, researchers have narrowed down a few characteristics for these physicians, which can help distinguish alcohol-induced psychosis from other disorders like schizophrenia. The features associated with alcohol-induced psychosis include:
- Later onset of psychosis
- Higher levels of symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Fewer negative symptoms (than schizophrenia)
- Better insight and judgment (than in those with schizophrenia)
- Less functional impairment
In examining these qualities, physicians may be able to gain a clearer understanding if one is experiencing alcohol-induced psychosis or psychosis of another kind.
Treatment for Alcohol-induced Psychosis
Although alcohol-induced psychosis can be alarming, the solution is simple: sobriety. If one eliminates alcohol from their life, they will no longer be affected by it or go into any psychotic episodes produced by alcohol. But, while this solution is simple, it does not mean it is easy. Recovery takes time, treatment, and an abundance of support. Fortunately, some readily available treatment programs and centers can tailor a program to one’s needs, including those with an alcohol-induced psychotic disorder.
Detoxification and Rehab:
For anyone with alcohol addiction, detoxification is the first step for recovery. Detoxifying one’s system occurs naturally and purges the abused substance; however, it is painful and potentially dangerous when psychosis is involved. The process should be at an inpatient facility or treatment center and under medical professionals’ supervision only. This is especially true for anyone who has alcohol-induced psychosis; alcohol withdrawals may cause a psychotic episode during the detoxifying process.
Fortunately, doctors and nurses can then provide care for an individual, using medications to ease pain and discomfort. For those who may experience a psychotic episode while detoxifying, the medical team’s presence also keeps one from harming themselves or others as the body begins to adjust to life in recovery. After detoxifying one’s body, a rehabilitation facility can then start to help one identify triggers for their addiction and how to rebuild their lives in the future. For more information about the right treatment option for you, call us today to speak to an addiction specialist.
Help is Here
Despite how rare it is, alcohol-induced psychosis can have extremely detrimental effects on one’s health and life in general. Psychosis includes several harmful effects, including hallucinations, delusions, and even disassociation. Since alcohol, especially alcohol ingested in large quantities over extended periods, is so toxic to the brain, it can change the mind. By rewiring the brain, one can experience psychotic episodes either due to extreme intoxication or withdrawal. However, through sobriety, psychotic episodes caused by alcohol can no longer occur. Much like with alcoholism, you are committing to treatment and sobriety will effectively better one’s health and stop this form of psychosis.
If you or a loved one have an addiction to alcohol or even alcohol-induced psychosis, there is hope. While the path to sobriety is not easy, it is possible with the right help. Do not lose hope! Give us a call today at 626-602-2966. Our addiction specialists are happy to help find you the proper treatment to put you on a path to recovery as soon as possible. Remember, you can overcome it.
Written by: Richard Morris
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