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Psychosis stands as one of the most misunderstood and stigmatized mental health conditions. It is a symptom of various mental health disorders and not a diagnosis in itself. Characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and a distorted perception of reality, psychosis deeply affects an individual’s ability to discern the real from the unreal.

Psychosis, a condition which distorts a person’s perception of reality through hallucinations, delusions, or disorganized thinking, can arise due to substance use, mental health disorders, or sleep deprivation.

In addiction treatment, it’s important to address psychosis alongside substance abuse as a dual disorder. Unmanaged psychosis can impede recovery and increase relapse risk. Treatment involves comprehensive assessments to identify psychosis and its impact, followed by personalised plans incorporating mental health services. Not all individuals with addiction experience psychosis, but for those who do, integrating mental health care is essential. Treatment typically includes medication management to stabilize mood and reduce hallucinations, and psychotherapy to develop coping strategies and understand thought patterns. Addressing psychosis in addiction treatment, though complex, is pivotal for successful, long-term recovery, with a focus on tailored care and evidence-based practices.

At its core, psychosis is an altered state of mind marked by two primary symptoms:

  • Hallucinations
    These involve sensing things that are not present. The most common are auditory hallucinations, such as hearing voices.
  • Delusions
    These are strong beliefs that are clearly false or irrational but are held with high conviction. Examples include paranoid delusions or beliefs of grandeur.

Psychosis can stem from various sources, making it a complex symptom to understand and treat. Potential causes include:

  • Mental Health Disorders
    Conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and severe depression.
  • Substance Use
    Certain drugs, both recreational and prescribed, can induce psychotic episodes.
  • Brain Injuries or Diseases
    Traumatic brain injuries, brain tumors, or neurological diseases like Parkinson’s disease.
  • Genetic Factors
    There is often a hereditary component, particularly in psychotic disorders like schizophrenia.

For the individual, experiencing psychosis can be frightening and confusing. The inability to distinguish between what’s real and what’s not can lead to significant distress, impacting daily functioning and relationships.

It often requires medical intervention to manage effectively.

Managing psychosis typically involves a combination of

  • Medication
    Antipsychotic drugs are the cornerstone of treatment, helping to alleviate hallucinations and delusions.
  • Psychotherapy
    Therapies like CBT can assist in coping with symptoms and addressing the underlying issues.
  • Support Systems
    Family support and community resources are vital for ongoing management and recovery.

Understanding psychosis is fundamental for breaking the stigma associated with it. Awareness and education can create a more empathetic and supportive environment for those experiencing these challenging symptoms.

As we continue to explore and understand this symptom, it is vital to advocate for those affected, ensuring they receive the care and respect they deserve. For anyone experiencing signs of psychosis, prompt professional help can lead to significant improvements and a return to reality.

Substance-induced psychosis, a distinct psychiatric condition, often arises from prolonged use of certain drugs, notably stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine. Studies indicate that these substances can precipitate a psychotic episode, particularly in individuals with a predisposition to mental illness. The American Psychiatric Association highlights that symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, although similar to those in primary psychotic disorders, are directly attributable to the acute effects of substance intoxication or withdrawal.

Dual Diagnosis (Co-occurring Disorders)

The co-occurrence of substance use disorders and psychotic disorders, known as dual diagnosis, presents a complex challenge in mental health treatment. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that nearly 50% of individuals with severe mental disorders are affected by substance abuse, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) emphasizes that dual diagnosis requires an integrated treatment approach addressing both conditions simultaneously for effective recovery.

Substance Abuse and Pre-existing Psychotic Disorders

Substance abuse can severely exacerbate pre-existing psychotic disorders. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), individuals with disorders like schizophrenia often experience worsened symptoms and a more rapid decline in their mental health when they abuse substances. This includes increased risk of hospitalization and a higher likelihood of failing to adhere to treatment plans, further complicating their prognosis.

Treatment Strategies for Dual Diagnosis

Treating individuals with dual diagnosis necessitates an integrated approach that combines addiction treatment with psychiatric care. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) advocates for a coordinated strategy that includes detoxification, behavioral therapies, and ongoing psychiatric care. This approach is crucial, as treating one condition while neglecting the other often leads to poor outcomes.

Role of Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy plays a critical role in treating both psychosis and substance abuse. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), as per research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, is particularly effective. It helps patients understand and change their thought patterns and behaviors, manage symptoms of psychosis, and address underlying issues that contribute to substance abuse, significantly improving treatment outcomes.

    Addiction and Mental Health

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    Founded in 2008, WeDoRecover has evolved from an advisory service for addiction treatment into a comprehensive provider of care, following its 2019 merger with Changes Addiction Rehab in Johannesburg. Specializing in connecting patients to top-tier addiction treatment centers in the UK, South Africa, and Thailand, WeDoRecover supports individuals globally, including those from the United Arab Emirates and Europe. Accepting both South African medical aid and international health insurance, the organization facilitates access to high-quality treatment for substance and alcohol use disorders, offering individualized care that addresses the physical, mental, and social needs of patients.

    Our team, led by Gareth Carter, offers empathetic and professional support, guiding you through every step of the treatment process. Whether you're in South Africa or abroad, our acceptance of various insurance plans makes quality care accessible, providing a platform for lasting recovery and a healthier future.

    Inpatient Rehab

    Our rehab care is a good option if you are at risk of experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms when you try stop a substance. This rehab option would also be recommended if you have experienced recurrent relapses or if you have tried a less-intensive treatment without success.


    If you're committed to your sobriety but cannot take a break from your daily duties for an inpatient program. Outpatient rehab treatment might suit you well if you are looking for a less restricted format for addiction treatment or simply need help with mental health.


    Therapy can be good step towards healing and self-discovery. If you need support without disrupting your routine, therapy offers a flexible solution for anyone wishing to enhance their mental well-being or work through personal issues in a supportive, confidential environment.

    Mental Health

    Are you having persistent feelings of being swamped, sad or have sudden surges of anger or intense emotional outbursts? These are warning signs of unresolved trauma mental health. A simple assesment by a mental health expert could provide valuable insights into your recovery.

    Finding the right rehab close to you is simple with WeDoRecover. Our network includes the finest rehab centers, ensuring personalised, quality care for your recovery needs. Let Gareth Carter and our empathetic team help guide you to a center that feels right for you, offering expert care and support. Start your healing today by choosing a rehab that's not just close to you, but also that truly cares about your loved ones recovery.

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