Before coming down to the main topic, let us first know about the condition called psychosis. It is defined as any severe mental disorder that influences the way a person processes his/her thoughts, behaves or feelings. It basically affects the person’s ability to tell reality from imagination. Although regarded as a condition, it is actually a manifestation of some other mental disorders of the body; most common being schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Even disorders of the central nervous system such as Parkinson’s disease can contribute to the development of this problem.
Besides these, substances such as drug or alcohol have also been found as potential triggers of the same. Psychosis is characterized by the person hallucinating (perceive something that is non-existent in reality), having delusions (a firm belief about things that are untrue), having thoughts that are disturbed or not constructive, and lacking a sense of self-awareness.
Symptoms Typical of Psychosis Caused by Alcoholism
This condition is dominant in about 3% of individuals suffering from alcohol dependence. The symptoms that an affected individual may exhibit include, as already mentioned, hallucinations. Here, the person may see random colors or shapes, or even figures of people or animals that are out of the ordinary. The person may also hallucinate sounds that are unpleasant to hear. In some cases, some patients have even expressed a feeling of insect crawling on their skin. And for some people, even if the food tastes good, they might find it offensive. In short, a person suffering from alcohol induced psychosis may have his five senses distorted or not functioning normally.
Then comes delusion. This symptom can be exhibited in two ways. In one way, the person develops a false fear for life against people or objects. And in another way, the patient may imagine himself to be at a position of high authority or possessing let’s say, supernatural powers.
Other symptoms may include disturbed thought flow which may cause the person to speak out of context of the main subject, or suddenly pause in the midst of working on something or speaking to someone. And another important symptom which is usually indicative of severe form of the condition is the person not realizing the fact that he/she is actually suffering from this disorder and showing symptoms such as the ones described above.
Now it cannot be said that all such symptoms are destined to occur in every individual suffering from alcohol induced psychosis. It has been noticed that some people with this condition show symptoms such as less negative or disorganized thought pattern, less distorted awareness and judgment, and less functional impairment, when compared with patients with schizophrenia.
Fortunately, the condition is self-limiting one and can be drawn off with discontinuation of alcohol use. Most people have shown subsidence of symptoms within several weeks of abstinence. However, repeated alcohol exposure may cause it to recur, and in some people, the problem may become chronic thus, requiring the need for long-term treatment with antipsychotic medication.
The treatment mainly focuses on the effect of the treatment of the patient’s body, and if psychosis has occurred from intoxication of alcohol, then immediate medical help becomes a necessity. High-potency antipsychotic drugs may be administered to patients, who may be in a state of mind to harm themselves or others. Medications for managing delusions, hallucinations and agitation, may also be administered.
When compared to the problem of alcoholism, alcohol-related psychosis still lacks a more in-depth study and analysis. Doctors are still working to understand the characteristics and effective treatment methods, to deal with the problem.