Hallucination is a state of mind that perceives things that are not there. It is also a common effect produced by specific compounds, and therefore individuals who indulge in substance abuse can also experience it. Certain substances or stimulants directly connect with hallucinations and delusions. Experts also have a name for this condition-stimulant psychosis. Let us learn more about the connection between hallucinations and substance abuse.
What is Substance Use?
Substance abuse involves harmful or excessive use of any substance to alter one’s mood. These substances can include the following:
- Drugs (legal and illegal)
- Substances not categorised as alcohol or drugs
Substance abuse involves consuming a particular substance regularly and in dangerously high doses. It can lead to significant mental and physical problems.
What are the Reason behinds of Subtance Use?
A person who indulges in it may also display negative social traits such:
- Missing work or school
- Poor performance at work or school
- Social anxiety
- Avoiding meeting friends or relatives
- Poor marital life
Some may get confused between substance abuse and addiction, but there is a difference between the two. Individuals who are victims of substance abuse find it relatively easier to quit their unhealthy practice than addicts. Addiction is a disease in which a person just can’t help avoiding the substance knowing fully well that it is harmful.
What is Hallucination?
The word “hallucination” has a Latin origin, and it stands for “to wander mentally.” Hallucinations involve a perception of an object or event that does not exist in reality. It can also include having sensory experiences that are not due to sensory organ stimulation. Hallucinations feel like real sensory experiences, but they are just the creation of one’s mind.
Hallucinations involve dealing with unreal things in the following ways:
The most common type is auditory hallucinations, in which a person hears voices or sounds that have no origin.
What are the causes of hallucinations?
There can be various causes of hallucinations, such as:
- A mental illness called schizophrenia
- Nervous system conditions like Parkinson’s disease and Epilepsy
- Substance abuse
What is the Relation Between Substance Abuse and Hallucinations?
Certain substances in high doses can be associated with psychotic states. Such substances are:
The 1969 Talbott & Teague research report concluded these notions we now know as facts. These drugs affect the brain systems such as:
- Dopaminergic systems
- Glutaminergic systems
There is a connection between both of these systems with psychotic symptoms like hallucinations and delusions. However, such symptoms are mostly of short duration compared to psychosis due to mental or nervous system conditions. Still, substance abuse-induced hallucination involves predominant agitation and confusion.
A growing body of evidence suggests that psychosis occurs in vulnerable people due to certain substances. Such substances mainly involve cannabis and alcohol. The onset of psychosis symptoms is earlier than in others in such people. According to experts, cannabis is an independent risk factor for psychosis-related hallucinations.
The Scary Reality of Substance Abuse and Hallucinations
Substance abuse-induced hallucination is a common problem. Hallucinations are scary as they can disconnect the individual from reality. The individual may also start harbouring false beliefs, also known as delusions. Hallucinations are related only to false sensory experiences. They may appear during ongoing substance abuse or even during the withdrawal process.
- The hallucination effects of substance abuse can be powerful and intense. Moreover, they may appear suddenly and aggressively without warning.
- It is not the case with hallucinations associated with mental health problems like schizophrenia. Another problem with these types of hallucinations is distinguishing them from other forms.
- Substance abuse-related hallucination is different from other forms in the following ways:
- It appears due to substance abuse or during its withdrawal process.
- It appears suddenly
- It is usually more intense
How Substance Abuse and Hallucinations can Ruin Your Life
Any hallucination can be a terrifying experience for the individual undergoing it, irrespective of its type. Besides the victim, friends and family members also face a hard time mentally dealing with this situation.
- The substance abuse victim who suffers from hallucinations can take drastic and dangerous steps. For example, a victim may jump into a river due to the imagined or hallucinated burning skin.
- Substance abuse-induced hallucination usually lasts as long as the substance remains.
- Heavy drug users can experience more intense and long-lasting symptoms. It takes the body longer to remove the substance from the body.
- Psychosis symptoms may last much longer, maybe even for several weeks, in case it is due to the following substances:
Some drugs can be powerful enough to alter brain functioning by harming neurons. It may result in mental health conditions like Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia.
Substance abuse is not a matter to be taken lightly. What makes it particularly dangerous is that it can happen before you know it by using a substance in the wrong way.
Substance-induced psychosis can be frightening for its victims and their friends and family. Moreover, it may damage social relationships as the victim becomes more likely to make irrational or abusive decisions.
Therapy is a way to repair the harm of substance abuse-induced hallucination and delusion. For this, the victim would require the right therapist to discuss sensitive issues that led to substance abuse in the first place. To deal with low motivation or mental distress, the therapist may recommend using amphetamines. With continued therapy, hopefully, individuals may get over their substance abuse.