Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder

Three same female faces with red glitter under eyes

Holding On To Drugs

Substance abuse, mental illness and medical complications go hand in hand; rarely do you have one without the other in the psychiatric world. In other words, a psychiatric illness without a medical comorbidity is possible, but oftentimes, there’s something at play behind the scenes, even if it’s something as common as high blood pressure. Don’t automatically assume that someone who abuses drugs does not have a medical illness; sometimes the drugs are there to mask the physical symptoms or even the psychiatric symptoms!

And don’t assume that someone who has a psychiatric condition does not abuse drugs; the psychiatric condition can be secondary to drugs. This is the case with substance-induced depressive or psychotic disorder. Substances are capable of inducing temporary psychiatric illnesses such as anxiety, panic disorder, depressive disorder or a psychotic episode.

The key word is “temporary” because once the patient has metabolized the substance, the psychiatric condition tends to dissipate. This is because it was the chemical component of the drug that was inducing the symptoms in the patient’s brain. Once the drug is out of the body, the symptoms tend to subside and the patient returns back to a normal state of mind. But there are many cases where the psychiatric symptoms persist and that is the big danger that comes with abusing substances.

The problem with chronic drug users is that their addiction can repeatedly bring back a psychotic state of mind throughout their episodes of binging. But even when they experience auditory hallucinations of voices commanding them to kill themselves, they continue to go back to using their drug of choice. In other words, they’ll enter a hospital for a few days to become mentally stable after metabolizing the substances in their system, and then be discharged with the same intent of continuing to use their drug of choice.

The hospital is a temporary lodging station for their psychosis to clear up. For instance, someone who is experiencing psychosis from cocaine most likely will not want to stay home and continue to experience frightening psychiatric symptoms; they have all the desire in the world to obtain professional care under the supervision of psychiatrists while in the hospital.

But that’s the disappointing theme with drug addicts: even after obtaining a successful medical and psychiatric treatment, they tend to go back to their old behavior of getting high. Drug addiction is often more deadly than depression with suicidal ideations because drugs impair the user’s judgment, impulse and even insight, increasing their chances of actually harming themselves. On the other hand, someone who is only depressed and does not abuse drugs can more easily recover because of the psychiatric medications taking effect.

Someone who uses drugs will often be noncompliant with medications; their compliance is tied to their drug of choice because it’s all about getting high and feeling good. At the end of the day, pleasure dominates the drug addict’s lifestyle at the expense of their sanity.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Getting High During Social Distancing

Person holding unrolled cannabis joint with grinders on table

Is Your Brain The Real Enemy?

With so much time on your hands, your brain begins to beg you, “Please give me some candy so I can feel bomb!” The problem with listening to your brain’s demands is the same problem when you listen to a child’s continuous requests: you give up power as they gain more control. Getting high during social distancing is certainly very tempting but you have to resist your brain’s desires.

The coronavirus pandemic is a perfect time to develop a drug addiction; hence, why you have to redirect your mind away from substances. With so much free time on your hands and mixed feelings regarding the current social situation, substances become an avenue of escape; a destination that is often hard to return back from.

Getting high helps you to enhance your isolation at home. It makes activities such as cruising the web, watching YouTube videos, having sex, eating and putting on a Netflix show much more enjoyable. That’s because substances hijack your reward center in the brain and release great amounts of dopamine; much more than naturally released when having sex with an attractive partner!

That’s why half the world is addicted to a substance; it’s like candy for adults. Just as children love sugar highs, adults love a state of intoxication. Since we are little, we have been programed by society to enjoy getting high. The difference between those who do and don’t comes down to many factors, including the current COVID-19 pandemic!

Getting high may truly make your social distancing experience more enjoyable; no one is denying that. But are the consequences worth it? When all of the smoke clears up and the coronavirus dies down, will you want to be in a position of stepping out in public with an addiction on your hands? If you do end up in that position, the real enemy was your brain who convinced you all along to get high and you fell for it!

So don’t allow your brain to become your enemy. It does not always look out for what’s best for you; the brain is quite selfish! The human brain is so smart that it comes up with ways of tricking you into giving it what it desires. And once you give it a glimpse into the world of getting high, it will take full advantage of the dopamine rushes by keeping you hooked on drugs as much as it possibly can.

Control your mind and you will be in a good position to carry forward.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Psychotic Juice Flowing Through Your Brain

Psychotic man wearing red hoodie with mask squatting on pavement

Domestic Violence Sparked By Psychosis

Imagine waking up every day in the comforts of your home in a borderline psychotic state of mind, wondering if this will be another day that you will get in a fight with your alcoholic father who got deported 5 years ago, but is back in control of the family dynamics. Imagine your home environment revolving around domestic violence almost every day of your life and you don’t know who is to blame; is it the psychotic juice flowing through your brain or your father’s alcoholism?

There are people who do not appear psychotic but do suffer from psychosis based on their behavior and thought process. Some of these people will tell you that they don’t hear voices in their head and do not experience visual hallucinations, but they admit to thought insertion, “When my step-sister is in her room, sometimes I think she’s putting thoughts in my head.”

On top of that, imagine being involved with drugs such as marijuana, alcohol and Love Boat. When marijuana makes the psychosis worse, many of these people will switch to other drugs such as cocaine, heroin or even PCP. While PCP is associated with belligerent and violent behavior, some users will report that it calms them down, denying that it makes them violent.

So what diagnosis do these people carry? They don’t appear schizophrenic, they’re not always on drugs and they’re definitely not manic. It becomes a challenge to appropriately diagnose these patients: some differentials include psychosis not otherwise specified or substance-induced psychosis.

Regardless of their official diagnosis, many of these folks will refuse to take psychiatric medications, stating, “My family is the one who needs to take medications.” They externalize and never take blame; they don’t believe that they have a mental illness, but yet they admit to thought insertion. Usually a personality disorder is also at play, such as antisocial personality disorder or narcissistic personality disorder.

You think coronavirus is bad? Pray that you don’t have psychotic juice flowing through your circle of willis.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Surviving Psychosis

Psychotic man smiling and wearing gray polo shirt with tattoo on left arm

Living With Voices In Your Head

Some people are born into poverty, some are born with a mental disability, some become depressed and some develop psychosis. Some acquire the coronavirus and others remain healthy. Everyone goes through something; the world is always throwing something at you. But can you imagine living every single day with voices in your head telling you that the ambulance heading down the street is going to hit you? Surviving psychosis is a great challenge for many all over the world.

Many psychiatric patients who have been battling psychosis their entire lives, will tell you that their lives have been all about managing their symptoms and staying preoccupied as much as they can. Psychotic patients who were born into poverty have it even worse: they don’t achieve an education past a GED (if that), rely on an SSI/SSD check and unfortunately, may become involved with drugs.

But can you imagine a life where you don’t have an education, money and are suffering from auditory hallucinations on a consistent basis? Wouldn’t you be tempted to turn to drugs to get out of that reality? Some psychotic patients will tell you that marijuana, heroin and crack calms their internal voices. This is not an excuse to use, but we need to be empathetic of their struggles.

It’s scary enough to deal with sociopaths in society who kill for fun, but imagine having many sociopaths in your mind in the form of auditory hallucinations whispering 24/7, “I fucking hate you! I want you dead”; “Go push that person in front of the subway. She deserves it”; “You’re such a piece of shit! You should throw yourself off the bridge!

Even when psychotic patients take antipsychotics such as Zyprexa or Clozapine, the medications do not always work effectively. Another factor is that psychotic patients are not always compliant with their medications; they may become distracted from their symptoms, get involved with drugs or experience difficult life circumstances. In addition, with less education, patients are more prone to not comply with a psychiatrist’s recommendations.

Don’t be so quick to judge the next time that you see a psychotic patient in public. Think about how difficult it has been for them to survive psychosis. When you have psychosis, it’s like you’re trying to survive two lives: your regular one from birth and your second one which comprises of auditory hallucinations. Some people can’t even deal with their regular lives; imagine dealing with an intense mental illness on top of that!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Consumed By Poverty And Drugs

Shallow focus photography of old wooden house beside trees

Having Sex With Your Dad

The diversity of stories that can be heard in the field of psychiatry is so great that you can easily become touched by them. One common theme is poverty and drugs; these two go together like peanut butter and jelly. Oftentimes, children who are raised in poverty are exposed to family and friends who suffer from a drug addiction, mental illness or physical and sexual abuse.

From a young age, children raised in poverty are at a disadvantage. They have to witness their parents arguing about money, bills and food on the table; their perception on marriage becomes influenced since they are little. Drug and alcohol abuse is not uncommon when money is a big stressor in the household.

A child will witness her father get drunk on bourbon and start transforming into a completely different person. He may start to beat his wife and flirt with his daughter. The daughter will run into her room or out of the house scared, hoping not to feel uncomfortable and violated. So she starts turning to drugs around age 16 when her friends who are also in poverty inform her, “This will help with all the bullshit!”

As she starts forming a new alliance with marijuana (not so much with alcohol as she doesn’t want to be like her father), she also starts entertaining the idea of newer and more powerful drugs. That’s when Lady Heroin comes into play. She starts snorting the heroin, quickly realizing how all of her physical and mental pain dissipate in the air.

The problem is that she’s only 16 and still reliant on her parents for food and shelter. She starts returning home later in the evening, with the hope that “pops” is passed out from his drunken state of mind on the corner couch watching Full House. As she slowly creeps into the living room, she hears footsteps coming from the kitchen.

Her father is standing there drunk with a creepy smile on his face and some dollar bills in his right hand. She wants to cry but has no more tears left. She already knows what might happen: he is going to offer money for her heroin habit as long as she has sex with him. She wonders, “At what point did I fuck up?”

She then realizes that everything turned upside down when she met Lady Heroin; she has become an addict since their introduction. Because she is so desperate for another bundle, she sticks her right hand out to accept the money as her father grabs her other hand and takes her to his corner couch.

As the full moon glows in the night sky, the sounds of father-daughter intercourse slowly increase. The story can be summed up into the following:

  • Alcoholic father who is a sexual predator and performs incest
  • Heroin addict daughter who was born into poverty and now lives to support her drug habit
  • Poverty and drugs that have consumed this family

This is an example of a story that can be heard in the field of psychiatry.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The House Of The Rising Sun

Green and white checkered painted tunnel

Lost Time In The Shadows Of Experimentation

The youth are often exposed to passageways which are not so commonly sought after in adulthood. These passageways are not physical entities but psychological ones. They are introduced among children and adolescents through thoughts, words and actions. Almost every one of them hears about these passageways, but not all of them want to traverse space and time. Many prefer to remain in the house of the rising sun.

These passageways lead to lost time in the shadows of experimentation. It often starts with a cigarette or two at a party, a bowl of marijuana in a random car ride or a Natty Light or Rolling Rock in someone’s basement. The youth that do decide to enter these passageways often do not return for a while. They become entangled in a web of sticky highs.

These highs take over their reality. What their parents say loses even more meaning, but what their peers say and do is highly regarded. When their peers applaud them for entering these passageways, their self-esteem receive a high jolt and their popularity increase. This is the moment they’ve finally been waiting for; the high school red carpet!

In these passageways, the substances change their perception on reality. They start to appreciate music more, attend wild concerts in Tennessee and experience random hookups every other weekend. Life in these passageways costs nothing more than a few dime bags, a bottle of Jack and a pack of Camel Lights.

But what the youth forget while traversing these passageways is that lost time cannot be regained. In the moment, they feel like they are on top of the world; “who needs time when flying sky high!” But these passageways do not remain smooth forever. There are many bumps in the road the deeper they go.

When reality starts to set in as they mature and acquire more responsibilities, they begin to realize that time was indeed lost. They are presented with a stop sign: either continue down the unpredictable passageways or crawl back up into reality. Some crawl out of these Super Mario green tunnels, while many continue floating on clouds with no final destination.

The house of the rising sun is not always available to return to. For those floating on clouds, they may never return back to the house of the rising sun. And for those who crawled out too late, well . . . the sun has already set sail.

Be careful when taking a trip down the rabbit hole.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

My First Love Put A Needle Into Me

Green opium poppy plants growing in the wild

Welcome To Heroin My Love

This is the story of an Egyptian girl who was born and raised in Egypt and deviant from a young age. Her father was involved in criminal activity and she identified herself as “daddy’s girl.” She always felt like a rebel, sort of like daddy who was out in the streets dealing drugs. But little did she know that she would one day run into her first love, who would put a needle into her arm and introduce her to heroin.

Before heroin came along, she would experiment with hashish, pills and alcohol. Here was this rebellious 14-year-old girl who never had sex, but was in love with the high provided by drugs. She thought, “Hey this can’t be so bad. My own dad is out there selling drugs. What the hell!”

But the drugs that she was using were not satisfied with her performance. They wanted her to work up the ladder and meet their bigger and badder friends: heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, PCP, etc. So the drugs played around with her fate and set it up that she would run into her first boyfriend. Little did she know that her first boyfriend would be the deadliest.

This Egyptian boyfriend was older and more experienced than her. He viewed her as an innocent prize and she viewed him as her next big hit. And then sex happened; her virginity flew away faster than her shortest-lived highs. But this relationship was not only for sex, as the drugs had a masterplan and were utilizing the boyfriend for something bigger at play.

That is when her first love pulled out a needle, “Ever try heroin?” Excited by his tall and handsome stature as well as his adventurous side accompanied by his older age, she had no time to reply but just smile; this was a sign for “no but I’m all yours.” And right there and then, the tall and pretty Egyptian girl had a needle poked into her vein by her first love.

From that day on, she became a heroin addict for life. The relationship with her boyfriend did not last longer than a year or two. He was only an introduction or catalyst to her use of opioids. What did last was her relationship with heroin. The high that she was introduced to on that day was much more pleasurable than sex.

Little did she know that the needle that her first love put into her arm would infect her for life. And guess what happened to her previous drugs with the masterplan? They became satisfied with her newfound relationship with heroin, and left her life to infect other innocent teens.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Addiction Is Stronger Than Love

Drug addict using syringe on yellow rock on spoon

My Strange Addiction

For many people who first start using drugs, the thought of one day becoming addicted does not cross their minds. It all starts with in the moment curiosity, excitement and even fitting in. Some feel initial nerves about trying the drug, but the adventure of exploring new territory is greater than the fear. Once they cross that invisible line, for many, addiction becomes stronger than love.

Once someone is hooked on a drug, the necessity to acquire more of it becomes greater than the love that they have for themselves or others. At first it’s the high: something out of this world that they glorify and start to believe is the greatest thing in their life. They start to chase the high because it provides them with a more entertaining and pleasuring mindset, than they would otherwise experience from other activities.

But the problem with drugs is that tolerance quickly develops, requiring higher doses to achieve the same high. But with higher doses come more consequences: more money is wasted, more time is spent acquiring the drugs, changes in personality, increased exposure to dangerous situations, ruined relationships, withdrawal symptoms, etc.

Once withdrawal symptoms are experienced, most addicts come to the realization that they either have to stop and seek help, or continue using. Many continue using out of shame of seeking help, “If I seek help, then it’s official that I’m an addict and everyone will look down on me. I can’t let that happen. Gotta keep using.”

At this point, the love, responsibilities and feelings for others are placed aside, and the mission of acquiring more of the drug to prevent withdrawal becomes the aim. Once the drug is acquired, the relationships resurface on their minds, but their family and friends start to notice their change in behavior, questioning what is driving it.

But they cannot divulge their addiction because of shame. So they continue using in the shadows, getting high and maintaining their addiction that becomes stronger than their love for others. The drug has become their new love and nothing can break them apart. They’ll continue using until they’re burned out, overdose, die or hopefully gather the strength to seek help.

Addiction overtaking love is not uncommon in the world of drug addicts.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Parents Of Addicted Loved Ones

Crying monk statue surrounded by outdoor plants

Stolen Soul

Addiction has no boundaries; it swarms in like swat and gets the job done. In this case, the drug or behavior gets you hooked. The first thing that is stolen is your mind: your reward center in your brain essentially tells you “forget your boring past, I want me some more XYZ.” Then you get more XYZ and the rest is history.

This is followed by your body: it often feels relaxed while using a drug or participating in an addicting activity. This good feeling is provided by your brain; you can’t complain, especially while on opioids. The last thing that is stolen is your soul. By this time, the drug or addicting activity has changed who you are as a person; you have been transformed into a new character.

Parents of addicted loved ones are experiencing a living nightmare. Can you imagine how difficult it is for them to see their son or daughter transformed into an addict? They were once that little boy or girl who was running around in the playground or being tucked into bed for a comfy afternoon nap, looking back into their eyes saying, “I love you mommy!”

But this is what addiction does: it not only destroys the user but the family unit. It is often very difficult for parents to ever accept their addicted loved one back into their life. The great pain which they have experienced has led them to create a barrier from their addicted loved ones, in order to prevent any more suffering.

Addiction is a very difficult mental disease to live with for everybody involved: the addict is clearly suffering but so is the family. Many would argue that the family suffers more because they have to bear the pain and frustration of seeing their addicted loved one collapsing into pieces. At least the addict reaps spurts of joy here and there from their pleasure of choice.

At this point in time, the fight to treat addiction has not been successful by relying just on medications and therapy. This calls for a new action plan: the bringing together of humanity and holding open discussions about how we can help one another stay sober and free of addiction; an international shift in mentality. The DSM Ready Movement is that platform!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Cocaine Cowboys

Human anatomy display of cocaine effects on the body

Why Cocaine Addiction Bites

The addiction to cocaine has never ended, despite an ongoing opioid crises. There is concern that cocaine use is on the rise and that a stimulant epidemic may be awaiting the end of the current opioid epidemic. Why is cocaine on the rise and what do people like about it?

Cocaine comes from the coca plant native to South America. It is considered a stimulant like coffee but much stronger. It has a strong psychological potential for addiction; no physical dependence is evident, meaning no physical withdrawal occurs when a user stops using the drug.

Why people like cocaine:

  • It provides a feeling of intense pleasure
  • You become more talkative and confident
  • It provides a full-body stimulation
  • It makes you feel more superior than others
  • It increases your self-esteem
  • You feel more energetic and sociable

Unfortunately, users experience many negative effects with cocaine:

  • Memories of euphoria increase the risk for psychological addiction
  • Anger, paranoia, anxiety
  • Nausea, increased body temperature, increased heart rate
  • Seizures, heart problems and death
  • Psychosis and hallucinations
  • Weight loss, high blood pressure, severe tooth decay

Cocaine has a very short-lived intense high. When users become hooked on the drug, the high is followed by depression and a strong craving for more. Tolerance then increases, resulting in higher doses of the drug needed to achieve a similar effect as before.

Overall, cocaine may see a resurgence in the near future. If you or anyone you know is suffering from cocaine addiction, seek help as soon as possible. With mental health and addiction support services, a place in your heart to stop and The DSM Ready Movement here to listen and provide a caring environment, you can defeat cocaine addiction today!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

%d bloggers like this: