Teen - Drug-Induced Psychosis

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The diagnosis of drug-induced psychosis has historically been used to describe psychotic episodes experienced by adult long-term alcoholics and heavy drug abusers, whose body chemistries are so deteriorated that their continued substance abuse increases the risk of their experiencing a psychotic episode. Today, the drug wars being waged in our communities are making drug induced psychosis more frequent than ever before. The unregulated potency of much of the unprescribed drugs being ingested experimentally or with prolonged use is increasing the risk of more and more people experiencing dangerous psychotic episodes. Aside from the dangers prolonged use of alcohol and drugs is causing adults in our communities, the crisis is also a significant threat to the young minds of our children and teens.

Due in part to the many changes that are occurring in a child and teen’s body and the pace that they are growing, a young person’s reaction to a drug can be grossly different than an adult’s or other individuals close in age. Children and teens are highly at risk of a reaction of drug-induced psychosis by consuming alcohol or unregulated drugs.

It’s not uncommon for young people to experiment with alcohol and drugs, and it’s important to note that not every young person who ingests an illegal substance is going to have a psychotic episode. What’s keeping parents awake at night is the access their child may have to alcohol and extremely potent unregulated drugs, and the level of risk this poses for something horribly going wrong with any level of experimentation.

Drug induced psychosis may be short-lived, lasting only as long as it takes to detoxify from the body. On other occasions the psychosis might last for many weeks. Psychotic symptoms can include delusions (grandiose ideas, false beliefs), hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that are not actually there), unusual behavior, and disorganized thinking. Medical attention should be sought immediately, and the young person will need to be monitored within a safe environment.

Most young people and their families report the psychotic experience as being terrifying. Once the crisis is over, many young people will make collaborative plans with their physician and a mental health provider to help the young person make sense of their experience of psychosis and manage any resulting mental health or addiction-related needs.

About Peak Behavioral Health:

Peak Behavioral Health specializes in the treatment for children, adolescents, adults and seniors with mental health and chemical dependency needs. Peak Behavioral Health hospital is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Call 575-589-3000 for more information or free psychiatric assessment. www.peakbehavioral.com