Can Substance Abuse Cause Delusions?

Can Substance Abuse Cause Delusions?

Substance abuse may cause delusions

Delusions are false beliefs based on incorrect or misunderstood perceptions or experiences. Delusions can be sometimes difficult to differentiate from a strongly held idea or opinion, but a delusional individual holds to his or her belief despite clear proof or evidence to the contrary. Delusional thinking often falls into one of the following themes:

  • Erotomania – An individual believes that someone else in in love with or obsessed with him
  • Grandiose – An individual believes that he has a special identity, talent, knowledge, power or relationship with a higher power, however others fail to recognize this
  • Somatic – An individual believes he is experiencing certain bodily dysfunctions or sensations like insects crawling under the skin or a health problem
  • Jealous – An individual believes someone close to him has cheated or been unfaithful to the relationship
  • Persecutory – An individual believes he or she is being mistreated, lied about, stalked, spied on, poisoned, or cheated
  • Mixed – An individual experiences multiple delusions of different themes

There are several causes of delusional behavior, including substance abuse. Substance abuse can induce delusions, and other forms of psychosis and it can also cause several mental health problems where delusional symptoms persist. Individuals with pre-existing mental health issues are highly susceptible to delusions and psychosis when they abuse chemical substances.

Drugs most commonly associated with delusional thinking include amphetamines, cocaine, LSD, methamphetamine, marijuana, mephedrine, MDMA, ketamine, mushrooms and alcohol. There are other substances that can trigger delusions, as well. A binge or intoxication can cause short-term delusions, but substance abuse can also be so damaging that delusions and other psychotic behavior becomes persistent.

Aside from experiencing delusions, substance abuse can cause mental health problems including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Addiction
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Repetitive motor activity
  • Memory loss
  • Mood disturbances
  • Brain damage
  • Schizophrenia
  • Dementia

Delusional behavior and delusional disorder can significantly interfere with one’s everyday life and often isolate the individual, as he or she may insult or alienate others. In addition to losing relationships, jobs, family, and financial stability, an individual can also engage in threatening behavior. Delusional thinking can spark violence, aggression, stalking, and other erratic behavior that seems completely rational to the delusional individual.

Sometimes ending substance abuse will be enough to put a stop to delusions, but quite often further treatment is needed. A few common methods for treating delusional disorders include antipsychotic medication, electroconvulsive therapy, insulin shock therapy, psychotherapy, self-help, cognitive therapy and more. Drug rehab centers offer Dual Diagnosis treatment in order to address both mental health issues like delusional disorder, psychosis or anxiety as well as substance abuse.

No matter how clear you think your mind is now or how much willpower you think you have, abusing substances can quickly lead to addiction and the irrational thinking and behavior that go along with it. If willpower alone were enough to overcome addiction, there wouldn’t be so many people losing their jobs, health, and family to the disease. The sooner a person gets help for a substance abuse problem, the better chance he has at a full recovery. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have a problem with substance abuse or addiction, please call for help now. Our toll-free helpline is operated 24 hours a day by recovery professionals. We are happy to answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide you with all the information and guidance you need to find the recovery resources right for you. Don’t gamble away your future; help yourself while you still can.