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What Drugs Cause Psychotic Episodes?


Have you ever wondered, “What drugs cause psychotic episodes?” This is an important question to ask in today’s world where substance abuse is prevalent. A psychotic episode can flip someone’s reality upside down and result in hallucinations, delusions, or extreme paranoia. 

Knowing which drugs are responsible and how they affect mental health can help with prevention and treatment.

Read on to learn about what drugs cause psychotic episodes as well as the long-term effects of drug abuse on mental health.

What are Psychotic Episodes?

A psychotic episode, also known as a break from reality or psychosis, is when a person has difficulty telling what is real and what is not real.

During a psychotic episode, they perceive things differently than they actually are around them because their thoughts become disturbed, so much so that it is difficult for them to think clearly or act normally.

These states might last hours or days at a time and may come back again later on.

Signs and Symptoms of Psychotic Episodes

  • Seeing things that aren’t there (hallucinations) 
  • Having false beliefs (delusions) 
  • Thoughts being disorganized with speech following suit 
  • Being confused or lost in thought 
  • Severe anxiety along with fearfulness or paranoia 
  • Crying at odd times

Different events such as stressors, traumas, and mental health disorders can trigger these experiences, but drug use also causes some instances of it.

What Drugs Cause Psychotic Episodes?

Psychotic episodes do not just occur among people with psychiatric illnesses; some substances can make people go through this terrifying experience. Let us find out which agents are often associated with psychosis.



Most people think of euphoria when they hear about cocaine, but there’s another side, too. 

Research found that people who use cocaine long-term sometimes experience a paranoid delusional state called cocaine-induced psychosis, characterized by aggressive behavior toward others due to false beliefs believed to be caused by excessive use of the drug.


Meth is well-known for being highly addictive and causing severe mental health issues. 

Users frequently report paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations. According to research, up to 40 percent of chronic meth users experience these episodes.


LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide)

LSD can significantly distort perception and thinking patterns, too. While many people intentionally seek out such experiences, LSD may also trigger full-blown psychotic episodes in those who are predisposed to them due to their mental state or previous history of illness.

Psilocybin Mushrooms

When people take psilocybin mushrooms, they sometimes have bad trips filled with intense fear and suspicion of everything around them. This can lead to a temporary state of being where their senses are altered.


Cannabis is often considered harmless, but it can lead to psychosis, especially among heavy users or those with a family history of mental disorders if they use too much at once. 

Research has found that people who regularly use cannabis may have an increased risk of schizophrenia and of having psychotic symptoms.

Synthetic Drugs

Synthetic Cannabinoids (Spice, K2)

Synthetic cannabinoids such as Spice or K2 are chemicals sprayed on dried plants for smoking or oral use. Their unpredictable chemical makeup makes them especially dangerous, as users can’t be sure of their strength or effects. 

Synthetic cannabinoid users can experience altered mental states and psychosis, with symptoms lasting days or weeks. Some suffer severe hallucinations and paranoia, requiring hospitalization.

Bath Salts

Bath salts, a synthetic drug gaining popularity, are concerning. They mimic stimulants like cocaine or amphetamines but are dangerously unpredictable and can be lethal. Bath salt users often suffer from agitation, hallucinations, and violent behavior.


Anabolic steroids, if taken in high amounts, can cause drastic mood swings and psychotic symptoms like paranoia or delusion.  

Results of Drug-Induced Psychosis

Drug-induced psychosis is not just about one person; its implications are broader than that. It affects families, communities and society at large. Here’s how:

  • Social exclusion: People who have psychosis tend to avoid social situations.
  • Legal problems: Erratic behavior often leads to legal issues.
  • Health hazards: Increased risk of self-harm or accidents can result from a lack of judgment.
  • Financial strain: Medical bills can be expensive, and productivity may go down due to this condition, thus leading to an economic burden.

Getting Help Is the First Step in Getting Better

Being able to identify signs early enough will help save lives. SEE Purpose Treatment Center tailors our services to meet different needs. These include but are not limited to:

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Individual, Group, and Family Therapy

Situated on sprawling grounds with serene views, our inpatient substance abuse treatment center offers comprehensive healing through:

  • Detox center programs: a safe environment with medical professionals present during the withdrawal period.
  • Individualized care plans: treatment options based on individual clinical assessment results.
  • Luxury amenities: on-site swimming pools, daily gourmet meals, and various recreational activities, such as table tennis and pool tables.

Find Your Purpose at SEE Purpose Treatment Center

Understanding what drugs cause psychotic episodes is vital to understanding how we can reduce psychosis. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our treatment center for help. At SEE Purpose Treatment Center, our motto is “Find your Purpose,” and we will be there with you every step of the way.

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