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Alcohol-Induced Psychosis | Signs & Symptoms

Published on September 2, 2021
Alcohol-Induced Psychosis | Signs & Symptoms

Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to alcohol-induced psychosis. Although psychotic disorders can occur on their own without the aid of alcohol, such as schizophrenia, heavy alcohol consumption can lead to alcohol-related psychosis. 

Those suffering from alcohol-induced psychosis will likely need to seek addiction treatment right away. Psychotic symptoms can be severe and may require you to enter a treatment program for assistance.

Alcohol-Induced Psychosis

Alcohol can trigger short-term alcohol hallucinosis. Alcoholic hallucinosis may take place after a period of heavy drinking. With high alcohol intoxication, a person can experience psychosis. 

Psychosis can also be seen in those with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or other mood disorders. This can lead to a dual diagnosis if one also suffers from a substance use disorder.

Psychosis can be seen in those with alcohol use disorder (AUD), those dealing with alcohol withdrawal, or those suffering from acute intoxication. There are other specific disorders that can lead to psychosis as well. 

Delirium Tremens

For instance, delirium tremens (DTs) can occur during alcohol withdrawal. This type of alcohol withdrawal delirium (AWD) can cause serious hallucinations and is considered a medical emergency as it also affects your cardiovascular system. 

In fact, some of the symptoms you may experience with this severe condition include:

  • delusions
  • hallucinations
  • mood changes
  • tremors
  • high blood pressure

Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome occurs when a person develops a vitamin B1 thiamine deficiency. Wernicke’s encephalopathy takes place when the deficiency occurs, while Korsakoff Syndrome happens after, resulting in a Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome diagnosis. 

Due to this deficiency, brain damage can occur. 

Symptoms of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome may include:

  • loss of muscle coordination
  • severe memory loss
  • confabulation
  • confusion
  • abnormal eye movements

Signs Of Alcohol-Induced Psychosis

If you or someone you love suspects there is an alcohol problem, some of the signs of an alcohol-induced psychosis risk include:

  • if you have a family history of alcoholism or mental illness 
  • how often and how much you drink alcohol
  • if you experience hallucinations, fear, or paranoia
  • if you begin to experience mood disturbances
  • if you develop any cognitive impairment

Symptoms Of Alcohol-Induced Psychosis

Those who experience a psychotic episode due to alcohol-induced psychosis may develop the following symptoms:

  • confusion
  • high blood pressure
  • shaking or tremors
  • visual hallucinations
  • auditory hallucinations

In addition to these symptoms, other complications can arise such as depression, suicide, or major psychosocial impairment.

Addiction Treatment & Mental Health Care

If you’ve experienced any of the above-mentioned symptoms, you’ll likely want to contact your doctor right away. Your doctor may prescribe antipsychotics to assist with any symptoms of psychosis you experience. 

Mental Health Support

Your doctor may ask about your history of alcohol use as well as any important family history. Your mental health is important, so your doctor will also focus on treating any underlying mental illness.

There are a variety of treatment options that can assist you with your alcohol-induced psychotic disorder. But before your heavy drinking turns into a life-threatening problem, it’s important to address addiction head-on.

Detox Support For Withdrawal

For those dealing with alcohol withdrawal, doctors may prescribe certain benzodiazepines to help with the range of withdrawal symptoms including side effects such as hallucinations. If needed, it may be necessary to undergo a detox program to help curb your substance use. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol addiction, contact our helpline to learn about our substance abuse treatment centers.

Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
This page does not provide medical advice.

Alcohol Research - Alcohol Use Disorder and Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective Disorder
BMC Research Notes - Cognitive Changes in Alcohol-Induced Psychotic Disorder
Industrial Psychiatry Journal - Alcoholic Hallucinosis
National Library of Medicine: StatPearls - Alcohol Related Psychosis
National Library of Medicine: StatPearls - Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

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