Heavy alcohol consumption can lead to many mental health problems, as it is a natural depressant. This means it disrupts the flow of serotonin in the central nervous system which can further aggravate pre-existing disorders or introduce new problems. In fact, heavy alcohol consumption can eventually lead to psychosis – a very serious mental disease.
Early Warning Signs
Users suffering from psychosis may experience incoherent speech, delusions, hallucinations, and a disconnection with reality. Confusion and agitation are common symptoms, often leading to self-inflicted injury or violence toward others. Unfortunately, psychosis is a condition that gets worse over time. Long-term abuse of alcohol can also develop into Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, a type of dementia.
Catch these early symptoms to diagnose the early stages of psychosis:
- Irrational fears or unfounded suspicions
- Trouble concentrating
- Detachment from family and friends
- Significant changes in sleep – too much, or too little
- Obsessive thoughts
- Anxious behavior
Identifying early warning signs can help prevent more serious damage. Loss of work, home, or relationships can also occur for someone suffering psychosis. If the person who is addicted has progressed beyond the initial stages of psychosis, medical intervention may be a necessity. Many treatment options are available for those suffering from alcohol-induced psychosis.
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Treatment For Alcohol-Induced Psychosis
Alcohol-induced psychosis can be treated with medical intervention. Often, with proper handling and commitment to treatment, people with an addiction to alcohol can recover from and prevent future occurrences.
Methods that have proven successful in the treatment and recovery of psychosis include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Stabilizing medication
- Long and short-term rehabilitation
- Continuing care through clinical psychiatry
A medical professional can diagnose psychosis and develop a plan for treatment. The idea of treatment can be scary and care should be taken when planning treatment. Reaching out to others and seeking advice for intervention can be an asset to finding the right approach.
Alcohol Withdrawal and Psychosis
Alcohol addiction is difficult to combat alone. Quitting alcohol cold turkey, as opposed to gradual tapering of the substance, can sometimes lead to heavier withdrawal. Swift change in consumption can alter brain chemistry, leading to psychosis. While this should not discourage an alcoholic from kicking the addiction, it’s useful to seek guidance to ensure a safe transition into sobriety.
How To Help
Identifying the early symptoms of alcohol-induced psychosis may be difficult, as you may feel “pushed away,” or frustrated. Psychosis is a frightening experience for everyone involved.
While you may not fully understand his or her behavior, you may be able to help in the following ways:
- Communicate concerns with mutual friends and family
- Offer support, and encourage positive behavior
- Refrain from judgment, arguing or voicing concerns directly
- Pay attention to behaviors and changes
- Remember that agitation is not personal
- If self-harm is a concern, contact a medical professional immediately
Psychosis can make a friend or family member unrecognizable. A careful approach may be necessary to prevent further isolation and allow more time to get help. In the event that psychosis has taken over a loved one, consider reaching out to someone who has had a similar experience.