A substance-induced psychotic disorder is a mental health condition in which the onset of your psychotic episodes or psychotic disorder symptoms can be traced to starting or stopping using alcohol or a drug (onset during intoxication or onset during withdrawal). You could experience psychotic episodes just when you’re using, or just when you are not using. You may even develop this disorder when you’re in recovery from a substance use disorder.

With a psychotic condition, you may develop an inability to understand what is real and what is not. This disconnection from reality can be further complicated with the effects of any drugs or alcohol that you may be using. Substance-induced psychotic disorder can be a serious condition, and requires medical attention.

Symptoms of Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder

If you or a loved one is experiencing a psychotic episode, you should contact your doctor for testing and to learn about treatment options. While not everyone experiences a psychotic episode the same way, certain characteristics can let you know that you or someone you love is experiencing a psychotic episode, including:

  • Hallucinations, including hearing, seeing, or smelling things that are not present
  • Delusions, including hearing voices or believing that you're being watched
  • Religious delusions, like thinking that a deity is sending you special messages
  • Problems distinguishing between fantasy and reality, like imagining a special relationship with a celebrity
  • Trouble taking care of yourself, including forgetting to eat and bathe, or hoarding things
  • Paranoia and suspicion, including suspecting loved ones, institutions, or other people of harming you or being “out to get you”
  • Difficulty communicating clearly, including disordered speech and thoughts
  • Hypersensitivity to sounds, smells, or others sensory input
  • A flat affect or lack of emotional expressions

Causes and Risk Factors for Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder

Substance-induced psychotic disorder is typically caused by the misuse of alcohol or drugs. Some other risk factors may make you more prone to developing this type of disorder, like:

Treatment for Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder

Your care team can help you come up with a combination of medications, therapies, and a support structure that can help put you on the road to recovery and better mental health. 

Medication: Your doctor may prescribe antipsychotic drugs and other types of medication to help control your symptoms and treat other conditions that may be affecting you like anxiety, depression, or PTSD

Therapy: Therapy can be essential to helping you find out what triggers your episodes and how to handle your condition. If your condition is serious, inpatient treatment might be your best choice. Learn more about your therapy options at Sheppard Pratt. 

Support: Finding the right support group can make a world of difference - especially if you’re in recovery for drug or alcohol use. Talk to other people who have been in your shoes. Find a support group now.