Can drugs drive a person crazy?
If crazy means hallucinations, delusions, self-destructive behavior, and unpredictability, then yes, drugs can make a person insane.
What actually happens is people who use drugs and other substances can tend to have induced mental conditions, with psychosis being one of them.
What is psychosis?
Psychosis is a mental condition when people experience hallucinations, delusions, impaired memory, breaks in attention, bizarre behavior, and incoherent thoughts and speech. While some may already have this condition, it can also be induced by substances such as alcohol, methamphetamine, and marijuana. It can be temporary or enduring, and can even be felt for weeks after ceasing the use of the substance. Psychotic episodes can also happen during stressful situations.
Research has also shown that those who are predisposed or vulnerable to psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and manic depression have a higher risk of experiencing a psychotic episode induced by using drugs or alcohol.
Psychosis Caused by Meth and Similar Substances
Psychosis can be caused by stimulants like amphetamine and methamphetamine, especially if people has been taking large doses and over long periods of time.
Those who experience stimulant-induced psychosis can lose contact with reality and may become fixated on a place or action. They may also perform repetitive, meaningless, and goalless acts such as sorting objects or trash, pacing, cleaning, or searching for things. They may also pull their hair, nails, and teeth or pick at their skin as a response to their delusions. They may also be violent and create holes in their bodies to remove what they imagine as bugs under their skins.
Typically, those who experience these episodes of psychosis may stop having them once they stop using. Although they may have some signs of paranoia remaining, it will still come back each time they use again. However, there will be cases when medical intervention is required.
Psychosis Caused by Cocaine
Cocaine is another drug that is associated with psychosis. Repeated bingeing on cocaine can not only increase tolerance and the risk of overdose, but also cause psychotic episodes. Most common with people using crack cocaine, symptoms include anxiety, agitation, restlessness, and hallucinations. Some may also become irrationally violent.
Psychosis symptoms are also exhibited when people are under the influence or are coming down off the drug, especially if they haven’t been getting any sleep. Over time, this may develop into more serious psychosis and other psychiatric conditions.
Psychosis Caused by Marijuana
Chronic and heavy use of marijuana can also cause psychosis. A person under the influence of marijuana may experience anxiety, restlessness, paranoia, and visual and auditory hallucinations. They will also be unable to concentrate and may not be able to coherently communicate.
Studies have shown that marijuana use increases the risk of psychotic episodes and can also contribute to long-term psychiatric problems. This is particularly true for those who already have a predisposition or a family history of mental illness.
When a person is experiencing psychiatric episodes, they could be at risk of many immediate and life-long mental problems. They may see or hear things that are not there, or even cause harm to themselves and to other people.
If your loved one is experiencing psychotic episodes due to long-term and hard drug use, seek medical and professional help.