Drugs can have serious mental and physical effects on a person, some with long-lasting consequences.

Can Drugs Cause Permanent Psychosis? - an image of a woman holding her head in her hands looking down whilst sat on the edge of a bed.

Suffering from addictions can make you more at risk of serious health problems.

One serious mental health issue that can be caused or worsened by drugs is psychosis. This is a serious and often misunderstood mental health issue that is terrifying for the person experiencing it and their loved ones.

Learning more about drug-induced psychosis – the signs of psychosis, how drugs can cause such a thing to happen and if the problem is permanent – can help you better understand your issues and help you decide what to do.

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis can be defined as a serious mental health condition, which is when a person suffers a break from reality, meaning that they perceive and interpret the world around them differently from everyone else. An episode is a culmination of different symptoms that come together to be a psychotic experience and can vary.

Someone suffering from psychosis may experience hallucinations (both auditory and visual), delusions and disorganised thinking. Disorganised thinking means that you may do things that seem impulsive or make no sense to anyone else.

Psychosis is the experience itself and a symptom of a larger issue rather than the diagnosis. Mental health problems such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and severe depression increase the risk of suffering from psychosis.

Psychosis is bound to have an impact on your daily life and well-being. It can make you feel overwhelmed and tired, lead to increased anxiety, and affect your thinking and concentration.

People suffering from psychosis can find themselves unable to work and find it hard to trust people. It may also lead you to engage in risky behaviour or cause you to harm others or yourself if you are unable to separate what is real and what is not.


How Drugs Cause Psychosis

There is no set answer on what causes psychosis, but drugs can be a factor. Psychosis is a change in how someone perceives reality, and drugs also change how a person sees the world. Whilst it is unlikely that drugs alone would cause a psychotic episode, some substances increase the risk of psychosis developing.

Substance-induced psychosis may occur due to drugs exacerbating existing mental health issues. Suffering from hallucinations and other symptoms of psychosis can also occur during drug withdrawal as your brain tries to compensate for the changes it is being put through.

Drugs are also inherently toxic, and this toxicity in your brain can lead to issues such as paranoia, which may develop into a full psychotic break.

It is near impossible to identify exactly what causes a person to suffer from psychosis, but some factors increase the risk of it happening. Genetics could play a role in psychosis development, as well as having family members who suffer from it. Specific psychosis-related issues such as drug-induced schizophrenia are more likely to occur if you are genetically predisposed to it – substances just may be the thing that kicks it off.

Not everyone suffering from drug addiction will encounter psychosis, but it may increase the risks.


What Drugs Cause Permanent Psychosis?

Some substances are more connected to drug psychosis than others.


Though cannabis addiction is viewed as a lesser issue than other addictions, the drug can be involved in the development of psychosis.

Cannabis can increase the risk of developing psychosis, especially in younger people. It can cause an earlier onset if you have other risk factors that make you more likely to develop psychosis. Cannabis also causes short-term paranoia, and chronic use could mean you suffer from this more consistently. Being paranoid is a symptom of psychosis.


Drugs such as LSD are perhaps the most known substances associated with psychosis.

Hallucinogens cause visual and auditory hallucinations, changing your perception of the world. Though the effects do not linger after the drugs have worn off, people have reported experiencing flashbacks, putting them through the experience again without warning long after taking the drug.


Stimulant-induced psychosis – caused by drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, and methamphetamines – may occur due to the impact on your central nervous system. These drugs can lead to paranoia, hallucinations, disorganised thinking and agitation. Whilst stimulant-induced psychosis is more commonly short-lived, constant usage and suffering from co-occurring disorders may lead to it becoming more permanent.

Prescription Medication

Even prescription drugs given by a doctor can cause potentially permanent psychosis. Some antidepressants, ADHD medications and muscle relaxers may increase the risk of psychosis. This can occur due to an overuse of the drug and mixing it with other substances. If you have a history of suffering from other disorders that psychosis may be a symptom of, it is important to share this with your doctor.


How Long Does Drug Psychosis Last?

It’s impossible to predict how long an episode of drug-induced psychosis will last. Some experiences may last only hours, whilst symptoms can persist for months or even years – long after you took any drugs.

The factors affecting the length of psychosis are many – dosage, taking a combination of drugs, and drug history. Psychosis can be caused by drugs or due to the withdrawal from them, it is impossible to know how and if you will be affected.

Psychosis is much more likely to last longer if you have a dual diagnosis, meaning you suffer from an adjacent mental health issue. That is what makes the combination of drugs and psychosis so risky – it has the potential to trigger both acute and long-term psychosis, potentially changing your life forever.


Can Drugs Cause Permanent Psychosis?

There is no research to suggest that you can develop permanent psychosis from drugs alone. However, you may be more at risk of developing chronic psychosis if you have been using substances for a prolonged period and/or are struggling with severe addiction.

Substance abuse and mental health are closely connected issues, this is no more apparent than when it comes to psychosis. Drugs can be the trigger but never the underlying cause. Each person is different, and drugs just raise the risk level for psychosis to occur.

Permanent psychosis is also not a death sentence. In fact, many people suffer from schizophrenia or bipolar and live normal, happy and fulfilling lives. This can be achieved with professional help, access to the right medicines and a support network around them.


Get Help Today

Psychosis and drugs are connected issues, but substances will never be the sole cause. Drugs bring with them many risks, and you must have the right information and get the help you need.

If you are worried about drug-induced psychosis or think it’s time to get professional help for your addiction, reach out to Asana Lodge today. We can help you at every step of rehabilitation, leading you towards a sustainable, long-term recovery. Call us on 01908 489 421 today for more information, or alternatively, fill out our contact form and a member of our team will reach out to you.

Back to all posts