Drug psychosis

Synonyms in a broader sense

Drug-induced psychosis, colloquially: "get stuck"


Drug psychosis is a loss of reference to reality caused by intoxicants, which outlasts the actual intoxication and, in the worst case, remains permanent.

Drug psychosis can deal with all symptoms of non-drug-related schizophrenia (see schizophrenia) express such as B. optical and acoustic delusions, thought disorders or delusions.

Under certain circumstances, the one-time use of a drug can trigger a psychosis, but drug psychosis can also develop "new" after long-term, "routine" abuse. The mainstay of the treatment is the avoidance of triggering substances, in addition, the therapy is similar to that of a non-drug-induced psychosis. The course and prognosis of drug psychosis differ from case to case and are hardly predictable. A psychotic episode that has already been overcome can be brought about again by renewed consumption of triggering substances.


Drug psychoses are psychoses caused by intoxicants, i.e. states of loss of reality that outlast the actual duration of the substance consumed (= the intoxication).

Also read our main page on the topic psychosis

root cause

Drug psychosis: cocaine

How drug psychosis ultimately develops is not yet fully understood. It is assumed that various intoxicants have a “triggering” effect on a subliminal predisposition to psychotic disorders. The fact is that there are a multitude of legal and illegal ones Intoxicants (e.g. Ecstasy) are able to cause a psychosis that goes beyond their own intoxication. A drug-induced psychosis can occur after long-term abuse as well as after only one-time use.

Note: Hallucinogenic substances

Hallucinogenic substances such as LSD or mescaline are particularly dangerous in this regard, but cannabis, amphetamines, “magic mushrooms”, cocaine or alcohol can also lead to drug psychosis.


A drug psychosis can express itself with all symptoms of a non-drug-related schizophrenic psychosis (see Schizophrenia). These include, among other things Delusion, Thought disorders or False perceptions of images or sounds. It is not clear to what extent certain substances cause characteristic symptoms. As with other psychoses, those affected can become so alienated from reality that they cannot cope with everyday life independently and they are dependent on long-term care.


Recognizing a psychotic illness as caused by drugs is not always easy in practice, as drug use is sometimes hidden, e.g. Sometimes, however, it is also difficult to detect. A blood test can be used for laboratory medical detection of suspicious substances.

The differentiation of other mental disorders is important in terms of differential diagnosis (see also Mental disorder / Personality disorder) that can occur in connection with the consumption of intoxicants. This includes first of all the drug effect itself, that delirium (acute restlessness with simultaneous clouding of consciousness), Withdrawal symptoms and "Flashbacks" (Reverberation effects of some drugs, sudden recurrence of an intoxicating state after long periods of abstinence).


This is the basis and decisive for the success of drug psychosis therapy Avoidance of triggering substances.

Further treatment follows the principles of therapy for non-drug-induced psychoses. For the treatment of psychotic symptoms, drugs come from the class of Neuroleptics for use, these are available in various formulations both for administration in the acute phase and for long-term use to prevent relapses.

Existing anxiety symptoms (see also fear) can be used at short notice Benzodiazepines be alleviated, however, the addictive effect of drugs of this class must be taken into account. In addition, have socio-therapeutic measures for accommodation in assisted living and work facilities and reintegration into a regular everyday life is of great importance.


The course and prognosis of drug psychosis are difficult to predict. While in rare cases the elimination of the triggering substances causes the psychotic symptoms to disappear, in other cases residual symptoms of the psychosis can persist for life despite therapy. In general, those affected and their relatives should be advised to contact a drug and addiction counseling center at an early stage in order to ensure the best possible treatment opportunities by starting treatment early.