Meth Induced Psychosis: What Is It And How It Happens

Girl experiencing symptoms from meth induced psychosis having auditory and visual hallucinations.

Normally, individuals who abuse meth will eventually experience psychosis. Psychosis is usually a terrifying and dangerous condition, and is one of the worst consequences of amphetamine abuse. Meth induced psychosis, a mental state in which individuals experience unclear thoughts, hallucinations, false beliefs, and paranoia. If you or a loved one is suffering from a meth addiction it is vital to get the proper treatment as soon as possible. At Birmingham Recovery Center we offer a complete treatment program, from detox to outpatient, for individuals who are struggling with amphetamine substance abuse. 

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis is a mental state that can occur from drug abuse or from mental health illness. When someone is in a psychosis their perception of the reality of their environment, relationships, and experiences are falso. Unfortunately someone who is experiencing a psychotic episode cannot understand that their delusions are not true, which means it is vital to receive medical treatment immediately. Psychosis causes a person to behave and act erratically, which leads to potentially dangerous actions and severe consequences. The early symptoms of psychosis may be dismissed as simply erratic or unusual behaviors, but it can escalate extremely quickly and without much warning.

Meth-Induced Psychosis Signs And Symptoms

Meth-induced psychosis is a scary experience, but it’s also a common experience for individuals who are addicted to the substance. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2020 it was estimated that .6% percent of the U.S. population 12 or older are struggling with methamphetamine abuse. That may seem like a small percentage, but it actually equates to about 1.5 million people. Studies also show that over 35% of individuals who are addicted to meth have at least at one point developed meth-induced psychosis. A psychosis triggered by meth abuse is normally characterized by paranoia and hallucinations that include beliefs that someone is trying to harm them or is out to get them. It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of meth-induced psychosis in order to get either yourself or your loved one immediate medical attention.

Physical Signs Include:

  • Jumpiness
  • Erratic movements
  • Talking about false beliefs or strange thoughts
  • Picking or itching at skin
  • Dilated pupils 
  • Sweating
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Rapid eye movements

Behavioral Symptoms Include:

  • Agitation 
  • Emotionless
  • Mood swings 
  • Manic behaviors
  • Delusional behaviors 
  • Incoherent speech 
  • Acting paranoid
  • Running or hiding from things that are not actually there
  • Rapid speech
  • Behaving as though someone or something is after them

What Causes Meth-Induced Psychosis?

Psychosis can occur from both substance abuse and mental health illnesses. There has been extensive research on psychosis induced by mental illness. For example, physicians generally understand how and why psychosis occurs in individuals suffering from schizophrenia. Unfortunately, there is less knowledge surrounding why amphetamine-induced psychosis occurs. It is understood that the chemicals in meth change the chemistry and pathways of the brain, which most likely leads to the delusional state. Another factor at play is the insomnia aspect of meth abuse. Individuals who are addicted to methamphetamine will normally stay awake for days on end. Lack of sleep normally leads to a state of psychosis, whether an individual is abusing drugs or not. There is no specific timeline of meth abuse that will lead to a psychotic episode. The induced-psychosis is unpredictable and may occur after the first hit, or after days, months, or even years of meth addiction. Meth is a man-made substance and often contains a variety of chemicals that vary by the batch. Due to this fact, there is no way to predict how an individual’s brain and body will react to meth. To avoid meth-induced psychosis it is suggested that an individual participate in a treatment program if they are addicted. If required, they should be admitted into a detox facility and then they can move onto an addiction treatment program that will properly address their addiction and start them on a path towards long-term recovery. The only way to avoid amphetamine psychosis is to abstain from using amphetamines all together. 

Treatment For Meth Addiction In Birmingham, Alabama

Meth addiction is a serious and life threatening mental health illness. Addiction to methamphetamine harms your physical, emotional, and mental health. It will also lead to loss of relationships, an inability to maintain employment, potential homelessness, jail time, risk of an overdose, and potentially death.  If you or your loved one is abusing meth they will inevitably experience a meth-induced psychosis. A meth psychosis leads to erratic and dangerous behavior. The main characteristic of this type of psychosis in individuals is the delusion and belief that someone is after them or out to get them. Due to this, an individual in a psychotic episode could make irrational decisions that even physically harm themselves or others. These actions could lead to life change or even life-ending consequences. Here at Birmingham Recovery Center, in Birmingham, Alabama, we have a specialized treatment program for methamphetamine addiction. We offer a complete addiction treatment program with services from detox to outpatient therapy. Our staff takes the time to do a full and thorough pre-evaluation before an individual is admitted into our center, which helps us ensure that we place them into the correct level of care. We then create a personalized and comprehensive treatment plan that includes a wide range of therapeutic services in order to give our clients the best chance for success. If you or a loved one is struggling with methamphetamine addiction contact our admissions team immediately and we will help you start your recovery journey today. 


  • Ian Henyon, LPC

    Having worked in a variety of clinical settings since 2008, Ian brings well over a decade of treatment center experience to the leadership role at Birmingham Recovery Center. As Executive Director, he is responsible for all aspects of BRC’s operations and provision of services. Being firmly grounded in the notion of servant leadership, Ian is focused on establishing a supportive work environment as a foundation for providing superior clinical services to BRC’s clients. Ian combines his extensive knowledge of treating addiction and psychiatric illness with the recognition that addiction is a disorder of the brain, to ensure that all clients are treated with the highest levels of respect and compassion. Ian is a licensed professional counselor. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and he received a Master of Science degree from Prescott College.


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