What is Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder? 

Substance-induced psychotic disorder goes by many names like drug-induced psychosis, alcohol-induced psychosis, toxic psychosis, or medication-induced psychosis. Today, we’ll discuss what is substance-induced psychotic disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment

What is Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder? 

Substance-induced psychotic disorder falls under the category of specific mental illness where a person experiences delusions, hallucinations, or both for withdrawing or using alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medicines. According to DSM-5 (diagnostic and statistical manual), approximately 7-25% of the people treated for psychotic episodes would have drug/medication-induced psychosis.

Symptoms of Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder 

The symptoms of drug-induced psychosis comprise hallucinations, delusions, or both. People experiencing the symptoms won’t know whether their delusions and hallucinations are real or not.


Delusions comprise having beliefs and thoughts that aren’t real. Some of the main types of delusions are as follows;

  • Somatic: believing that there’s something or anything bad and wrong with your body
  • Nihilistic: thinking that something bad would happen
  • Erotomanic: believing that various people are in love with you despite opposite evidence
  • Referential: believing that environmental and personal signals have got secret meaning and they’re trying to tell you something
  • Grandiose: believing that you’re better, gifted, special, and exceptional than others
  • Persecutory: thinking that other organizations are tracking your movement


Hallucinations mean that you’re experienced and sensing things that have got nothing to do with reality. If a person has drug-induced psychosis, and his hallucinations are due to drugs, then those symptoms don’t fall under the diagnostic criteria. Some of the main types of hallucinations are as follows;

  • Gustatory: feeling the taste when there is nothing in your mouth
  • Tactile: having feelings that something is touching you when nothing is there
  • Olfactory: smelling the scent of something when no one else can
  • Visual: seeing things that aren’t present
  • Auditory: listening to sounds and voices that aren’t there

Onset during Intoxication

The symptoms of drug/medication-induced psychosis start immediately after using the substances. While diagnosing the patient, your healthcare provider would find out whether the symptoms appear when the drug was there in the patient’s system or not. That’s why they use the term onset during intoxication.

Onset during Withdrawal

The symptoms of drug-induced psychosis would start after withdrawal of the medications. Your healthcare provider would evaluate how long the symptoms would persist in order to make sure that other mental illnesses won’t rule out. However, if the symptoms persist for more than a month after clearing out from your body, then they should gather more information if other mental conditions are causing it like drug-induced mood disorder.

Causes of Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder 

There is a high probability of co-occurrence of mental disorders along with the diagnosis of substance use disorder. It’s important to mention here that substances alone do not because of drug-induced psychosis. Substances could trigger it if the person is at risk of developing it.

The longitudinal study showed that people with medication-induced psychosis because of using various drugs, stimulants, opiates, and cannabis. The risk factors comprise of following;

  • Having an underlying mental condition
  • 30 years old or younger
  • Male

The abovementioned types of people aren’t only at the risk of developing medication-induced psychosis, but they’re also vulnerable to developing schizophrenia in the next few years.

Psychoactive Substances

Some of the main types of psychoactive substances that may cause to develop of drug-induced psychosis are as follow;

  • Stimulants
  • Amphetamines
  • Hypnotics
  • Sedatives
  • Inhalants
  • Hallucinogens
  • Phencyclidine
  • Cannabis
  • Alcohol


Some of the main types of medicines that would trigger drug-induced psychosis are as follows;

  • Disulfiram
  • Muscles Relaxants
  • Steroids
  • Antiparkinsonian medicines
  • Antidepressants
  • Antiepileptics
  • Anticholinergic
  • Analgesics


The treatment for substance-induced psychotic disorder is different for different people depending on their symptoms and their needs. Sometimes, when you stop the triggering drugs and carefully monitor the patient in a safe environment, then it is sufficient treatment. However, you would require a different treatment plan for various types of substances. It’s important to clear out the substance from the patient’s systems, and then treat the underlying symptoms of the patient.


Some of the medicines that your doctor would prescribe to treat the symptoms of drug-induced psychosis are as follows;

  • Antipsychotics
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Benzodiazepines


Long-term mental illness would require psychotherapeutic treatment along with medication. Some of the main types of therapies are as follows;

  • Group therapy
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing
  • Outpatient rehabilitation for drug/alcohol use
  • Inpatient rehabilitation for alcohol/drug use
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Self Coping Techniques

Along with the professional treatment plans, some of the self-coping techniques that you should keep in mind are as follows;

  • Study helpful literature relevant to drug-induced psychosis
  • Develop a connection with your loved ones and channel your energy toward bonding
  • Look for the symptoms of fatigue and take time to decompress
  • Engage in breathing exercises
  • Practice mindfulness meditation

Conclusion: What is Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder? 

After an in-depth study of what is substance-induced psychotic disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment; we have realized that the condition could badly impact your life. If you’re experiencing its symptoms, then you should ask for help without any hesitation, because there’s a lot of support and material out there.