Psychotic breaks are a devastating, dangerous part of mental health disorders. Many people are dealing with the severe mental illness that won’t tip over into breaking point. However, the issues of medication, social situations, stress, and drug addiction can all play their part.
Many of us see these psychotic episodes as a brief moment of insanity that comes from nowhere. This is far from the truth. These episodes build over time due to secondary influences, genetics, and brain chemistry. The rise of synthetic drugs is only making the situation worse.
To Better Understand The Link Between Synthetic Drugs And Psychotic Breaks, We Need To Understand What A Break Is
A moment of psychosis, or a psychotic episode, is a period where the patient loses touch with reality in some form. Many cases can lead to hallucinations, where a patient sees the world in a way that doesn’t match reality. This is much like the side effect of taking a hallucinogenic drug, like mushrooms or LSD.
The chemistry of the brain is temporarily altered so that it cannot translate the information given to it. This is quite dangerous in public situations where sufferers cannot perceive a threat. The bigger issues come when this affects their emotions and grasp on reality. This is where we see cold-blooded, extreme crimes from mentally ill criminals with little understanding, or memory, of their action.
The problem with the term “psychotic breaks” is that it creates the wrong impression of the situation. We often hear of people that were seemingly healthy and “normal” that just snapped one day and killed someone. In reality, this break is not severe. There usually needs to be some onset of mental health issues here.
The “snap” is the peak of a much larger slide into poor mental health. Patients may have been gradually struggling with medication or symptoms for a while. Finally, they broke so far from reality that it has serious consequences. Many only see the damage at this breaking point, not the slide beforehand, so assume it was quick and sudden.
What Causes These Psychotic Breaks With Reality?
These episodes can be the result of some underlying issues, from severe mental illness to brain chemistry, genetics, and drug addiction. There is some mental illness where episodes of delusion are part of the disorder. This includes personality disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and also depression.
In some cases, poor treatment of the condition can lead to an increased risk of a break. Patients slide away from good health, habits and a positive understanding of themselves and the world around them. Mis-use of psychiatric medications can trigger this further.
There is a problem with this idea of the slow slide into psychosis and the deterioration of mental health conditions. It doesn’t explain all cases. There are still some moments where the opposite is true. Mental health disorders can also begin with that psychotic break and develop into something understandable and treatable.
This is also seen with postpartum depression, where a seemingly happy, healthy woman undergoes psychosis following the birth of their child. There are also other organic triggers that cannot be readily explained. There is a theory that some people are genetically predisposed to developing mental health issues and triggering psychotic incidents. Finally, there is the issue of drug-induced psychosis.
The Relationship Between Drug Use, Drug Addiction, And Episodes Of Psychosis
Drug addiction and mental health disorders go hand in hand. Many people with mental illness turn to drugs to lessen the pain and symptoms that come with them. Others simply use them as an escape. Then there are those drug addicts that fall so deep into addiction and dangerous substance that it has a severe impact on their mental health.
There is a cycle of drug use where self-medicating behavior leads to greater problems. This explains the onset of psychological problems, like anxiety and paranoia, in cannabis smokers. However, there is a whole other issue with substance-induced psychosis.
This drug-induced psychosis occurs when drug users experience a break as a result of the substance they are taking. This is part of the draw of hallucinogens, such as LSD, and there are those that can take controlled trips. The problem is that drug addiction can turn this recreational bit of fun into a serious issue.
Continued use could warp reality in some dangerous ways. Controlled drug use can easily go out of control with new substances, mixed substances and increased risks for a new high. The additional danger here is that drug users can also find themselves dealing with similar issues during drug withdrawal.
Then There Is The Problem Of Synthetic Drugs Like Spice And Bath Salts On Psychotic Breaks
The development of synthetic drugs has changed the way that many see drug-induced psychotic incidents. There are stories of “normal,” healthy people completely breaking from reality, killing people and even turning to cannibalism. This is an extreme shift from the paranoia and issues from prolonged use of natural cannabinoids.
Synthetic cannabinoids and other substance, like bath salts and Pink, have an unknown chemical makeup and potency that is highly dangerous. They can produce such strong reactions that that seem to be able to cause psychosis in anyone.
These reactions and the crimes and deaths that follow are part of the reason why these legal high are such a headache for drug agencies. The marketing and makeup mean that teens and vulnerable adults can get hold of a packet legally. They then risk permanent brain damage, mental health issues, and death.
Synthetic Drugs Can Have A Dangerous Impact On The Relationship Between Drug-Induced Psychosis And Mental Health
It is important to remember that psychotic breaks never come from nowhere. There are always underlying causes at work. With drug-induced psychosis, there is often an underlying mental health condition to exaggerate.
Spice and K2 changed perceptions with extreme stories of psychotic episodes and shortened the journey from the mental health issue to a full-blown psychotic break. The chemicals and potency are placing vulnerable users at greater risk of drug addiction. The more that this unregulated drug flood the market, the worse the situation could become.