Substance Use

What Is Alcohol-Induced Psychosis? Symptoms, & Treatment

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What Is Alcohol-Induced Psychosis? A Complete Guide

The symptoms of alcohol-induced psychosis are complex and dangerous. Here is what you need to be aware of to seek the treatment you need today. 

Alcohol-induced psychosis is a serious condition that results in hallucinations and delusions following substance use. It is a condition that contributes to the current alcohol-related issues plaguing the United States and can become dangerous if not treated. Those experiencing alcohol-related psychosis can harm themselves and others — particularly when they lose touch with reality. 

If you or your loved one are experiencing potential symptoms associated with alcohol intoxication or substance use disorders, you must seek help.

Psychosis is a serious collection of symptoms that can hinder your ability to live a fulfilling life. Since heavy alcohol use is often involved, your health, relationships, and finances are also at risk. 

Ready to take the next step toward a healthier, more meaningful future? Zinnia Health provides comprehensive substance abuse treatment programs to those who need it most. Discover more about our levels of care or call us at (855) 430-9439 to see how your life can change, starting today. 

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Alcohol-Induced Psychosis: What Is It?

While you may assume alcohol-induced psychosis would occur following long-term alcohol abuse, this condition can develop during various situations, including acute intoxication, better known as alcohol poisoning, chronic heavy drinking, and alcohol withdrawal. This rare phenomenon is often a complication of alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Alcohol-related psychosis is also referred to as alcohol hallucinosis because of the hallucinations that often present themselves. However, it differs from schizophrenia — although there are several overlapping symptoms. Most commonly, patients experience auditory hallucinations and paranoid delusions. 

In most cases, alcohol-induced psychosis is first recognized when a patient is hospitalized and develops alcohol withdrawal psychosis. This condition signals something very serious that requires immediate treatment.

Not only do patients pose a risk to themselves, but they can often act in unpredictable ways. Those affected may resort to violence and harm others if their hallucinations and delusions cause a significant disconnect from reality. 

Symptoms of Alcohol-Induced Psychosis 

The symptoms of alcohol-induced psychosis surface during or shortly after a heavy intake of alcohol. Although it is clinically similar to schizophrenia, it is a unique, independent condition. 

Since many patients experiencing alcohol-induced psychosis have a history of alcohol abuse, it can be challenging to determine whether symptoms are related to substance abuse, mental health disorders, or both. This diagnostic difficulty is especially true during emergencies that lack patient history.

When compared to schizophrenia, patients suffering from alcohol-related psychosis tend to:

  • Experience the onset of psychosis at an older age 
  • Have more intense depressive and anxiety symptoms
  • Have fewer negative/disorganized symptoms
  • Showcase better judgment and insight 

Like any form of psychosis, many symptoms can be present and often depend on the individual’s mental health and history of alcohol abuse. However, for alcohol-induced psychosis, two symptoms must be evident. They include the following psychotic symptoms:

  • Hallucinations 
  • Delusions

Are you experiencing the symptoms above, or are you worried about how serious your drinking has become? Are you tired of the consequences that come with alcoholism? We welcome you to call us at (855) 430-9439 to discuss your unique needs. Check out our facilities to learn more. 

The sooner you treat alcohol-induced psychosis, the better. When treating psychotic disorders, a care team must focus on the underlying causes of psychosis. In this case, alcohol abuse is often the primary target within a patient’s care plan.

This condition often involves a complex diagnosis. Patients are often treated for alcohol use disorder and mental health conditions. This approach is known as dual-diagnosis treatment. 

The step-by-step process looks different for every patient. However, here is an example of what one could expect when seeking treatment from medical professionals who understand the value of individualized, holistic treatment:

  • Connect with a treatment facility to complete the initial admission process
  • Meet with your care team to discuss your immediate needs

In this case, you would need alcohol withdrawal support. Medication-assisted detox programs are available to ensure safe, successful withdrawal.

How Common Is Alcohol-Induced Psychosis?

The prevalence of this condition depends on the source. A Dutch review found a 0.4% lifetime prevalence in the general population. However, among patients with alcohol dependence, this figure jumps to 4%. 

The risk of alcohol-induced psychosis increases based on the following:

  • Becoming dependent on alcohol at a young age and ongoing excessive alcohol consumption
  • A low socioeconomic status
  • Being unemployed 
  • Living alone 
  • Co-occurring disorders and mental illness symptoms
  • A potential genetic predisposition based on twin studies 

Those with alcohol-related psychosis have a 5% to 30% risk of developing a chronic schizophrenia-like syndrome.

Treatment is required to avoid worsening symptoms or a more severe condition, especially if you have a family history of alcoholism or schizophrenia. 

Know the Signs of Delirium Tremens 

As discussed, symptoms of psychosis are often present during the alcohol withdrawal period. During this time, individuals can experience delirium tremens (DT).

Although over 50% of those with a history of alcohol abuse experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms, only 3% to 5% develop DT.

This condition causes the following:

  • Immense confusion 
  • Heart dysfunction 
  • Visual hallucinations 
  • Heightened nervous system activity, resulting in fear and anxiety

DT can develop as early as 48 hours following the abrupt discontinuation of alcohol in those with a history of chronic abuse. Symptoms can last up to five days.

Since it can be a medical emergency, recognizing signs of this condition is imperative to positive outcomes. The longer you wait to seek help, the higher the chance of brain damage, loss of vital signs, etc. 

The Importance of Detoxing From Alcohol in a Clinical Setting

Alcohol withdrawal can result in alcohol-induced psychosis. However, it is not the only concern. If your body is dependent on alcohol and you quit cold turkey, fatal symptoms can result.

For example, delirium tremens can cause seizures. The situation can become life-threatening if you do not effectively treat this symptom. 

Professional detoxification facilities offer medication-assisted detox treatment options to ensure you remain as safe and comfortable as possible. Once your body has successfully eliminated the alcohol, you can begin the healing process.

Whether you opt for an outpatient or inpatient treatment program, some of the types of therapies available include:

  • Individual and group therapy 
  • Family therapy 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Holistic treatment 
  • Wilderness therapy 
  • Art therapy 
  • Yoga therapy 

Receiving an individualized treatment plan helps you increase the odds of long-term recovery. These tailored programs ensure your needs are met, not just concerning your alcohol use but also your mental health.

This comprehensive approach can help you build a new life — one free from the fear of alcohol-induced psychosis. 

Ready to take the new step and enter alcohol rehab? Zinnia Health is here to help you overcome alcohol addiction. We urge you to contact our team or call our alcohol help hotline at (855) 430-9439 to discuss your situation so that the healing process can begin at an evidence-based treatment center. Today could be the beginning of your new life. Let us help — we’re waiting to hear from you. 

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(855) 430-9439
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