What Drugs can Cause Psychosis: 7 Types

There are a variety of reasons why someone could experience psychosis. While natural illnesses may sometimes be the case, illegal drugs are often the cause behind why someone will experience psychosis or “paranoid delusions”.

As a general rule, Methamphetamine (Meth), Ecstasy, Cocaine, Crack Cocaine (Crack), “Bath Salts”, Phencyclidine “PCP” and Lysergic Acid Diethylamide “LSD” are the illegal drugs that are known to cause psychosis. These six types are the most commonly known to cause delusions and hallucinations.

In this article we’ll take a brief look at each of the drugs mentioned, what psychosis is and how these drugs cause psychosis. We’ll also discuss delusions and hallucinations as they are often experienced when psychosis is present.

Methamphetamine (Meth)

Meth is an illegal street drug commonly known as “crystal” (among other names). Meth is one of the most addictive drugs known. It has an intense high that can last up to 12 hours. People who use meth have been known to show aggressive behavior and even seizures. Anxiety and depression have been known to develop as a result of constant use as well.

Methylene Dioxy Methamphetamine (MDMA) aka Ecstasy

Ecstasy is the street name for the hallucinogen/stimulant MDMA. Other street names include “X”, “E” and “Molly”. Many who continuously use ecstasy will experience brain damage. In some cases, people can experience toxic effects and even death due to the tremendous effects ecstasy has on the nervous system. If someone has a conflicting health condition they could experience permanent damage or even death after only one use.

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Cocaine, aka “coke” or “blow”, is one of the most addictive and common of street drugs. It is known for it’s euphoric experience and heightened sense of energy and joy. Over time, cocaine can cause memory loss, loss of motor functions, brain damage and more. Those who continuously use cocaine will experience an increasing depression as it is difficult for the brain to regulate it’s natural chemical balance after continued use. Once someone becomes addicted, the spiral of depression and drug use begins and eventually sobriety may be painful and “numb”.

Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine is well-known for causing psychosis in many of it’s users. It is a form of cocaine that has been processed into a hard rock-like form. Crack cocaine is typically referred to as “crack” or “rock”. Unlike other drugs, crack has a relatively fast period when the “high” is experienced. Usually, the high only lasts up to 10 minutes which leaves the user craving more. Crack is highly addictive and while less than 10% of users die from the drug, most will experience permanent brain damage and other mental/physical health issues.

“Bath Salts”

Bath Salts are synthetic drugs which are created to mimic the effects of other drugs such as meth or cocaine. Mephedrone or MDPV are two common ingredients in bath salts. Mephedrone effects the brain like meth while MDPV results in similar effects as seen with the use of cocaine. Depending on the individual, bath salts can cause very serious side effects since the consistency is essentially like using meth and cocaine at the same time. Nearly half of users experience some sort of psychosis when taking bath salts.

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Phencyclidine “PCP”

PCP is an illegal street drug commonly known as “angel dust” (among other names). It has been known to cause aggressive behavior, confusion and psychosis experiences such as delusions and hallucinations. Hallucinations and delusions include seeing things that are not really there and hearing noises that never existed. People will also experience out of body experiences and detachment from their typical thoughts and feelings.

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide “LSD”

LSD is an illegal street drug commonly known as “acid” (among other names). It causes in increased release of serotonin which the brain is not able to filter. This causes a significantly increase in a variety of thoughts and sensations. These hallucinations will seem completely real and the user will not be able to tell what is reality and what is not. LSD can also cause schizophrenia rapidly develop in individuals who meet the criteria of those that develop it.

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis happens when your mind has been altered and you have simulated experiences outside of reality. Your mind will not agree with reality. During psychosis, hallucinations and delusions will occur. When an individual is having a delusional experience, they will believe certain things that are not true. They may believe that their partner is being unfaithful, be convinced that someone is out to harm them or any other delusional scenario that is not actually occurring. A hallucination is when someone is sensing something that is not real. They may hear voices or see things that are not truly there. Often, people may become deranged, irrational and aggressive.


How do Drugs Cause Psychosis?

Drugs cause psychosis (hallucinations and delusions) due to the reaction of the user’s brain to the stimulants in the drugs. Drugs like the ones discussed in this article, disrupt the typical function and chemical balances in the brain. Psychosis may happen as a result depending on the natural chemical function of one’s brain, preexisting mental disorders, or other previously existing mental issue. Psychosis may even occur in someone who is otherwise healthy as the use of drugs will change and damage the brain over time.

Schizophrenia, paranoid personality disorder, and delusional disorder are mental health disorders that can be developed due to the abuse of illegal drugs such as these.

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Hi, I'm Marissa! I'm passionate about mental and emotional health and want to share what I've learned over the years with others! I've seen first hand how mental health struggles can cause serious issues within relationships, work life, daily productivity, self-worth and more! I truly believe that we owe it to ourselves to bring more awareness to these life changing topics. Start your mental/emotional health journey by learning more today!

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