Episodes of psychosis can be triggered by any number of factors, including alcohol misuse. Psychosis can be described as a loss of touch with reality. The person affected can have odd thoughts and unrealistically perceive the world, to the point where the lines between what is real and what isn’t are blurred.
What Is Alcohol-Induced Psychosis?
Alcohol-induced psychosis is a mental disorder wherein people struggle with episodes of hallucinations, delusions, persistent thoughts, erratic behavior and emotional changes because of alcohol misuse. The person usually has a tough time understanding the difference between their hallucinations and reality.
These episodes may occur after periods of over-consumption of alcohol or as a result of alcohol withdrawal. People who have a long history of heavy alcohol consumption are more vulnerable to experiencing alcohol-induced psychosis. Symptoms can be exhibited during, or shortly after, over-consumption of alcohol.
The symptoms associated with alcohol-induced psychosis are similar to those of schizophrenia, which can make it difficult to differentiate the two. That said, alcohol-induced psychosis usually ends after patients stop misusing alcohol, which is not the case with schizophrenia. Alcohol-induced psychosis is rather rare, affecting only 3 percent of people who have alcohol use disorders.
Alcohol-induced psychosis is usually a temporary situation. However, in some cases, it can turn into a long-term and even permanent condition. People who develop this condition are at an increased risk of developing other mental health issues.
Psychosis can be overcome when alcohol misuse ceases, though conventional treatment is required to help ensure that patients maintain their sobriety.
Treating Alcohol-Induced Psychosis
The primary way to alleviate the symptoms of alcohol-induced psychosis is to stop drinking alcohol. That said, ceasing alcohol use can be extremely difficult for people with an alcohol use disorder without medical help. Even though the symptoms may disappear after over-consumption of alcohol stops, they can come back if the individual resumes alcohol misuse.
That’s why it’s important for people who experience alcohol-induced psychosis to be treated in an alcohol addiction center where they can undergo medically supervised detox to wean themselves off of alcohol. Having some help with detoxing can reduce the withdrawal symptoms that often occur and therefore reduce the chances of experiencing a setback.
In some cases, long-term treatment with antipsychotic medication may be required for those who have developed chronic psychosis as a result of continued alcohol consumption.
For acute situations where patients may become a danger to themselves and others, immediate medical attention should be sought and the appropriate antipsychotic drugs should be administered.