How to Safely Treat Drug-Induced Psychosis
Treatment of drug-induced psychosis can ease symptoms or enable them to stop completely. Entering a rehabilitation program specializing in the treatment of psychosis can determine whether the symptoms are temporary or long-term. If the psychosis stems from a long-term induced condition, a rehabilitation program can be the start of treatment for the individual.
This article will explain the 4 steps of treatment for drug-induced psychosis and how they are used to ease or resolve symptoms.
4 Steps to Treating Drug-Induced Psychosis
When a person enters a rehabilitation program, these are the basic steps taken to treat substance-induced psychosis:
Step 1: Assessment
When a person enters a rehabilitation program or a hospital and presents with psychotic symptoms, they will receive an assessment from a medical professional and a psychotherapist.
A doctor or physician will draw blood, if possible, or take other samples from the new patient to determine the source of the psychotic symptoms.
If the person has traces of intoxicating drugs or alcohol in their system, the clinician will begin treatment assuming that the psychosis is induced, or worsened, by the chemicals.
A psychotherapist will determine the type of psychosis, which informs treatment with medication and therapy, and may begin to determine whether the person is experiencing short-term or long-term psychosis.
Step 2: Detox
Easing symptoms means ceasing drug or alcohol consumption. This means that the person must undergo medically monitored detox. This process occurs in hospital or rehabilitation programs, often simultaneously with medication treatment. Some of the medications, like benzodiazepines, work as both mood stabilizers and detox medications.
Detox is a very important step because many psychiatric medications interact poorly with illicit drugs or alcohol. People with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or other mental health conditions that increase the likelihood of psychosis may already take medication to treat their condition; however, mixing recreational and prescription medication can lead to worsening symptoms or prevent the prescription drugs from working.
Step 3: Medication
Antipsychotic medications can reduce the impact of psychotic symptoms, like hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking. These medications can be prescribed for temporary use, or they may be taken long-term to ease psychosis.
Antipsychotics used to treat psychotic symptoms include:
A person may receive treatment with atypical antipsychotics if the usual types of antipsychotics do not work or they are not appropriate treatment for the presentation of psychotic symptoms. Some atypical antipsychotic medications include:
There are other varieties of atypical antipsychotics that may be prescribed, and recent medical studies are finding that people with drug-induced psychosis may fare better on these medications than on other types. However, this depends on whether the person has a predisposition to a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia or if their symptoms are induced by substance use only.
Step 4: Psychotherapy
This is the most important component of drug rehabilitation and also a very important component in the treatment of any mental health condition. For those with long-term psychosis, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps clients notice early warning signs of psychotic symptoms, so they can seek appropriate treatment.
CBT also helps to manage mood symptoms like anxiety or depression, which otherwise may lead to self-medication with illicit substances.
For those undergoing treatment in a substance use rehabilitation program, psychotherapy helps to develop coping skills to avoid substance use and a plan of treatment for drug or alcohol relapse.
If psychotic symptoms were induced by substance use and subsequently dissipate when use is stopped, medication and therapy around those conditions can end; however, treatment for substance use should continue. After the rehabilitation program is complete, support groups can provide continuous social support to maintain ongoing sobriety.
If you or someone you love are experiencing drug-induced psychosis, help is available. At Sunrise House—an inpatient rehab in New Jersey—we personalize your treatment plan to provide the best possible care. Get admitted today by calling an admissions navigator at or completing our secure .