Alcohol-Induced Psychosis: Causes, Concerns & Treatment Options

People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol can develop the symptoms of psychosis (hallucinations and/or delusional thinking) while intoxicated or in a state of withdrawal. They can also develop a distinct condition called alcohol-induced psychotic disorder or alcohol-induced psychotic syndrome (AIPS). The development of AIPS is a very serious occurrence that can lead to poor treatment outcomes and a significantly increased chance of dying prematurely. Fortunately, you can potentially recover from alcohol-induced psychosis with the help of antipsychotic medication.

HOW CAN DRINKING LEAD TO PSYCHOSIS?

Psychosis is considered an extremely dysfunctional mental state. It has several potential alcohol-related underlying factors or causes. Prominent examples include:

  • The long-term brain effects of alcoholism
  • The brain’s response to early- or late-stage alcohol withdrawal
  • The presence of alcoholism in combination with a mental health condition capable of producing psychosis
  • The presence of a vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency
  • The co-existence of other forms of substance abuse, and
  • Lack of adequate mental health resources for a heavy drinker

MAJOR CONCERNS REGARDING ALCOHOL-INDUCED PSYCHOSIS

The American Psychiatric Association recognizes AIPS as a form of mental illness separate from alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Studies indicate that about 4% of people with diagnosable alcohol problems will develop this condition. Compared to individuals only affected by alcohol abuse/alcoholism, individuals with AIPS have higher risks for a range of serious health problems, including alcohol-related liver damage, broken bones, head injuries and gastritis (stomach lining inflammation). The presence of the condition can also increase your chances of receiving a primary diagnosis for a separate psychotic illness such as schizophrenia or schizophreniform disorder. In addition, the presence of AIPS can significantly increase your chances of dying from heart disease, accidents or suicide.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

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