Drug Induced Schizophrenia, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

For someone with drug induced schizophrenia, the symptoms usually go away after a person stops using the drugs. Learn the top mental health treatment options that can help you and your loved one.

Drug Induced Schizophrenia & Mental Health Treatment

If you are diagnosed with drug-induced schizophrenia, it will often be part of a co-morbidity or a substance use disorder diagnosis and an underlying mental illness, which will need to be treated simultaneously. This means that you will undergo a medically assisted drug detoxification program to become medically stable and manage drug withdrawal symptoms before beginning an individual mental health treatment plan for any underlying mental health issues which may have contributed to the onset of psychosis symptoms.

Schizophrenia Drug Induced Overview

Can drugs cause schizophrenia? It can trigger schizophrenia, but it does not directly cause it. No test can conclusively diagnose drug-induced schizophrenia, though drug tests may confirm that a person is under the influence of drugs. Instead, doctors diagnose the condition based on symptoms. To confirm the diagnosis of schizophrenia caused by drugs, they will have the person stop using drugs. If symptoms disappear, then psychosis is drug-induced. A person may have schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder if they do not.

However, if you have an underlying mental health condition like anxiety or depression that led to excessive drug use or if you have been diagnosed with an existing psychotic disorder like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, additional treatment will be necessary to address these drug induced psychosis vs schizophrenia issues and support recovery.

Suppose drug use has caused schizophrenia as a coping mechanism for an underlying mental disease. In that case, a diagnosis must assess whether symptoms would persist in the absence of the drug, as this would not constitute drug-related psychosis.

When you quit using the drug, your initial symptoms, such as social withdrawal and a lack of drive, may gradually worsen, including hallucinations and delusions. This is when drug-induced psychosis becomes more obvious.

Antidepressants, antipsychotics, or other medications like clozapine (Clozaril) may be prescribed longer if the underlying mental health disease manifests as psychotic episodes, especially if delusions and hallucinations are frequent or extremely severe.

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Drug Induced Mental Illness FAQs

Is drug-induced schizophrenia permanent?

Both Yes and No. Schizophrenia from drugs can become permanent. If drug-induced schizophrenia is NOT treated, the person could experience a drug-induced form of schizophrenia, which will be a lifelong diagnosis.

Can drug induced schizophrenia go away?

Yes. Psychosis from drugs can become permanent. Some drug-induced psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, resolve without treatment, but other cases need medications to help relieve the delusions and hallucinations.

Can drugs lead to schizophrenia?

Drugs do not directly cause schizophrenia, but studies have shown drug misuse increases the risk of developing schizophrenia or a similar illness. Certain substances, particularly cannabis, cocaine, LSD, or amphetamines, may trigger symptoms of schizophrenia in susceptible people.

Drug Abuse Induced Psychosis Statistics

Schizophrenia affects approximately 24 million people or 1 in 300 people (0.32%) worldwide.

Source: wORLD HEALTH organization [1]

Research indicates that nearly 50% of individuals with schizophrenia have a lifetime prevalence of substance abuse.

Source: ncbi [2]

People with schizophrenia are 2 to 3 times more likely to die early than the general population.

Source: wORLD HEALTH organization [3]
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What Drugs Cause Schizophrenia Like Symptoms?

While substance misuse cannot directly cause schizophrenia, it can serve as a trigger in specific circumstances. After a period of heavy drug use, a person with genetic risk factors for the condition may experience an active instance of the illness. Additionally, using drugs like cocaine, marijuana, and amphetamines can aggravate and worsen the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Since the symptoms of the two disorders are similar, schizophrenia is sometimes confused with substance abuse. The diagnosis of co-occurring illnesses or schizophrenia may occasionally be challenging. To increase the precision of dual diagnosis, researchers continue to investigate the diseases separately and jointly.

Schizophrenia Vs Drug Induced Psychosis

What is drug induced schizophrenia? Both drug-induced psychosis and schizophrenia can cause symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. However, schizophrenia can have several causes, whereas drug-induced psychosis only occurs from drug use. It also has fewer symptoms than schizophrenia.

Drug Induced Schizophrenia
“Can schizophrenia be caused by drugs?” Drugs do not play a direct role in causing schizophrenia. However, studies have proven that misusing drugs increases your likelihood of developing this condition.

Drug-Induced Psychosis vs Schizophrenia

What are the symptoms?

  • Drug-induced psychosis must include delusions or hallucinations.
  • Schizophrenia must include delusions, hallucinations, or disorganized speech. They may also have disorganized behavior and catatonic behavior.

What are the causes?

  • Taking drugs, such as cannabis, hallucinogens, and amphetamines.
  • Genetic and environmental factors. Drug-induced psychosis can also transition into schizophrenia.

How long can it last?

  • Antipsychotic medications help manage the acute phase. Doctors may then try to address the underlying cause of the drug use.
  • Antipsychotic medications can help with the acute phase. They can also be useful in the longer term alongside nonpharmaceutical interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

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Is Drug Induced Schizophrenia Permanent?

The drug induced schizophrenia symptoms brought on by drug abuse may last forever. If drug-induced psychosis is left untreated, the person may have a lifelong diagnosis of drug-induced schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia and addiction, or substance use disorder (SUD), can often co-occur. An estimated 50% of individuals suffering from schizophrenia have a history of substance abuse. Drugs that cause psychosis often affect a person’s brain function for a brief period, lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours. Short-term drug-induced schizophrenia symptoms are typically followed by withdrawal symptoms from drugs that mirror the hallucinations and delusions of schizophrenia. Some drug-induced psychotic disorders go away on their own, but in other circumstances, medication is necessary to aid with the hallucinations and delusions.

Drug Induced Schizophrenia
Does drug induced schizophrenia go away? Schizophrenia or psychosis from drugs can become permanent if it’s not treated.

Drug-Induced Schizophrenia Symptoms

Drug induced schizophrenia symptoms include delusions and hallucinations. The following are symptoms of drug-induced schizophrenia:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized speech, which may be unfocused or incoherent
  • Highly disorganized or catatonic behavior
  • Diminished emotional expression or lack of motivation

Drug Induced Paranoid Schizophrenia

When a drug is consumed excessively, its toxic level results in paranoia and a psychotic episode. This is known as drug-induced psychosis. It may also happen if you mix two different medications or stop using a drug, whether it was prescribed to you or not.

Delusions or hallucinations, which are experiences that are very different from reality, are frequent characteristics of schizophrenia. Delusions are unreasonable ideas that a person maintains despite being confronted with facts to the contrary. Hallucinations are acute sensory perceptions of events that are not real; they are characterized by people having strong feelings for or vivid sensations of things that are not there.

Suppose you have an underlying mental health condition. In that case, the use of psychoactive drugs will likely worsen your symptoms, result in extreme paranoia, and can speed up the onset of psychotic disorders such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Addiction to drugs and alcohol can also cause symptoms of psychosis to occur even if you aren’t diagnosed with co-occurring mental illness.

Can Drug-Induced Psychosis Be Permanent?

Can drug induced psychosis be permanent? Both yes and no. Psychosis is a symptom and, therefore, temporary; however, if not treated early, it may develop into more intense experiences, including hallucinations and delusions. Psychosis can also signify a mental health condition like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Is drug-induced schizophrenia permanent? It depends. Transient psychosis comes and goes. It may last for a few hours or up to a week. However, persistent psychosis can linger up to six months after quitting meth. What drug causes schizophrenia? If the individual has abused meth repeatedly over time, they risk causing long-term brain damage. Psychosis can be very serious, regardless of what is causing the symptoms. Psychosis can lead to illness, injuries, legal and financial difficulties, and even death when not treated.

Drug Induced Schizophrenia
Can you become schizophrenic from drugs? Yes. Drug use, especially abuse or misuse, triggers schizophrenia symptoms in people already susceptible to mental illness.

Can Drugs Trigger Schizophrenia?

Yes. Drug use, especially abuse or misuse, triggers schizophrenia symptoms in people already susceptible to mental illness. For instance, many people abusing methamphetamines experience psychotic symptoms due to drug use. Drug-induced paranoia is common in these situations. But this only qualifies as drug-induced schizophrenia if there is an underlying case of schizophrenia. For people being treated for and recovering from earlier episodes of schizophrenia, this drug-induced psychosis can cause a relapse in those with schizophrenia.

This can happen to a person whether they know or don’t know that they have schizophrenia. For this reason, it can sometimes seem that people experiencing drug-induced schizophrenia symptoms develop a mental illness due to drug use. But really, they already had schizophrenia and may have even been showing signs of it, but this may not be apparent before a drug-induced schizophrenic episode.

According to The American Journal of Psychiatry, the DSM-5 distinguishes between schizophrenia and drug-induced psychosis in other ways, citing that the main difference is the length of the psychotic episode. Studies have also shown that individuals who experience substance-induced psychosis and then progress to schizophrenia are genetically vulnerable to schizophrenia. [4]

Further, those individuals who suffer from drug-induced psychosis and do not progress to schizophrenia do not show the same genetic vulnerability to schizophrenia. The implication, therefore, is that drug use does not cause schizophrenia, but it can trigger schizophrenic episodes.

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Can Drugs Give You Schizophrenia Disorder?

Not all drug use leads to drug-induced schizophrenia. Research has shown that several different drugs can cause them. These include:

  • Cannabis
  • Hallucinogens
  • Amphetamines
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Sedatives withdrawal

Causes of Psychosis

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) writes that no one cause for psychosis exists. [5] It may be a symptom of a mental health condition such as schizophrenia. Other causes include:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Some prescription medications
  • Alcohol misuse
  • Cannabis

Causes of Schizophrenia

Overall, scientists are uncertain about the exact causes of drug-induced psychosis vs schizophrenia. However, possible causes include having multiple issues within the brain’s neurotransmitters, which may sometimes have a genetic basis. Scientists have also identified environmental risk factors for schizophrenia. [6] These include:

  • Atypical fetal development
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Low birth weight
  • Having a complicated birth, such as the mother having an infection during pregnancy
  • Maternal malnutrition
  • Being born in the winter
  • Living in an urban environment

Drug Induced Schizoaffective Disorder

Can drugs cause schizophrenia symptoms? Yes. Stimulants like amphetamines, meth, and cocaine cause stimulant-induced psychosis. The overuse of stimulants can cause psychotic symptoms similar to the ones seen in schizoaffective disorders. Schizoaffective disorder is among the most frequently misdiagnosed psychiatric disorders in clinical practice.

The two types of schizoaffective disorder — both of which include some symptoms of schizophrenia — are:

  • Bipolar type, which includes episodes of mania and sometimes major depression
  • Depressive type, which has only major depressive episodes

The treatment of schizoaffective disorder typically involves both pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. The mainstay of most treatment regimens should include an antipsychotic, but the choice of treatment should be tailored to the individual. A study that reported obtained data on treatment regimens for schizoaffective showed that 93% of patients received an antipsychotic. 20% of patients received a mood stabilizer in addition to an antipsychotic, while 19% received an antidepressant along with an antipsychotic. [7]

Can drugs cause permanent psychosis? It will never be permanent with proper treatment. Before initiating treatment, inpatient hospitalization should be considered if a patient with schizoaffective disorder is a danger to themselves or others; this includes patients who neglect activities of daily living or those who are disabled well below their baseline of functioning.

Can Drug Use Trigger Schizophrenia?

Can you develop schizophrenia from drugs? Although studies have indicated that drug abuse raises the likelihood of getting schizophrenia or a comparable disorder, drugs do not directly cause schizophrenia. It should be emphasized that some medications, such as amphetamines, might have transient adverse effects that resemble schizophrenia.

A person’s altered brain function may occur when they take drugs over an extended period, a condition known as substance use disorder. Your dopamine systems may become overactive due to these permanent consequences, which are comparable to certain symptoms of schizophrenia. Drugs do not cause schizophrenia, although long-term drug use can have consequences like schizophrenia.

This correlation between “drug induced psychosis vs schizophrenia” is associated with the brain’s inability to release pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters such as dopamine and glutamate. When the brain becomes dependent on a powerful drug like heroin, the substance inhibits the mind’s ability to release gratifying neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and others. It fabricates a reward of euphoria that can only be achieved by using the drug.

Can long term drug use cause schizophrenia symptoms? Yes. Once addiction has taken hold, it can alter the brain’s chemistry and cause irrevocable damage that may lead to mental health issues like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Drug Induced Schizophrenia
Is drug induced schizophrenia permanent? Yes, it can be. If it’s not treated properly, it can be permanent.

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Drug Induced Schizophrenia Treatment

Regardless of whether there is a drug-induced schizophrenic episode, a sizable portion of those with schizophrenia also abuse drugs, which can make their schizophrenic symptoms worse or return. Due to this reality, dual diagnosis treatment is essential for people with both issues.

Unfortunately, schizophrenia continues to be widely misunderstood and stigmatized. People with this mental condition would be more able to receive the necessary care they need and deserve if more accurate information was available. Drug misuse can surely result in a schizophrenic episode, but there is no evidence to imply that it causes schizophrenia, according to a study.

The We Level Up FL primary mental health center stands ready to help. We Level Up FL can inspire a support system through our mental health treatments to make you feel valuable. You can trust the treatment backed by leading recovery specialists practicing evidence-based therapy. We Level Up FL Treatment Center offers therapy under one roof. Get comprehensive therapy for mind, body & spirit.

Drug Induced Schizophrenia
Can you get schizophrenia from drugs? The drugs that can cause psychosis are amphetamine, scopolamine, ketamine, phencyclidine (PCP), and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). But with a proper dual diagnosis treatment, you can recover.

Effective approaches to schizophrenia will allow patients, families, and care providers to engage in a collaborative paradigm rather than the antagonistic tug-of-war that characterizes relationships with illness-denying individuals and often tragically concludes with the losses of those relationships altogether. Successful efforts should permit early illness recognition, aggressive and sustained treatment, and chronicity and social disability prevention.

Call us now for a free mental health assessment! In addition, for the substance abuse or dual diagnosis approach, our inpatient treatmentinpatient medical detox, and residential primary addiction treatment may be available at our affiliated facility. For more drug induced schizophrenia treatment resources, call us about your symptoms, and we can help you determine the cause and develop a treatment plan.

Search Drug Induced Schizophrenia & Other Resources

[1] Schizophrenia – World Health Organization

[2] Smith MJ, Thirthalli J, Abdallah AB, Murray RM, Cottler LB. Prevalence of psychotic symptoms in substance users: a comparison across substances. Compr Psychiatry. 2009 May-Jun;50(3):245-50. DOI: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2008.07.009. Epub 2008 Sep 23. PMID: 19374969; PMCID: PMC2743957.

[3] Laursen TM, Nordentoft M, Mortensen PB. Excess early mortality in schizophreniaAnnual Review of Clinical Psychology, 2014;10, 425-438.

[4] Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorders and Schizophrenia: Pathophysiological Insights and Clinical Implications – American Journal of Psychiatry

[5] Understanding Psychosis – (NIMH) National Institute of Mental Health

[6] Hany M, Rehman B, Azhar Y, et al. Schizophrenia. [Updated 2022 Aug 15]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539864/

[7] Wy TJP, Saadabadi A. Schizoaffective Disorder. [Updated 2022 May 2]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541012/