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Schizophrenia or Amphetamine-Induced Psychosis??


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Hi, I've been wanting to talk to somebody about this for a while now, but do to the fear of the public stigma and misunderstanding surrounding mental disorders, I always kept quiet. I'll start off with a little history. I'm 18 years old and I've been a chronic user of marijuana since I was 12, at one point in my teens I smoked more joints than cigarettes daily. When I turned 16 I started experimenting with heavier substances. I've tried just about every type of drug except the ones you inject, I hate needles. When I was 17 I became addicted to ecstasy. I binged at first, but in order to avoid the down time I started using daily. I took on average about 4-8 pills a day, for about 2 months straight. During these 2 months I began hearing things. I live in an upstairs duplex, and late at night, at first only when I was high, I heard what I thought to be my neighbors having sex. At first I thought it was real, it continued every night, all night, for about a week. I couldn't sleep because of the noise and finally decided to go talk to them. When I did I found out that my neighbors were two brothers, who lived alone, and both worked nights. I decided to get clean the next day. After my 5 day burnout, which consisted of auditory as well as visual hallucinations of many different things, I was clean. I even quit smoking weed a week later. But I still heard things and still do. It comes and goes, almost always happens at night, and consists mainly of two things, my neighbors having sex (which I know for a fact isn't real but I still hear) and people outside laughing at me (which I also know is not real). Sometimes when I'm walking outside late at night I'll hear somebody walking behind me and yelling at me, but when I turn around nobody's there. I mainly just try to ignore it or drown it out with music. There's a few other symptoms, like I feel bugs crawling on me when I try to sleep, and I have trouble sleeping, sometimes I don't sleep at all. I don't know if these things are worse because I can't sleep or if I can't sleep because of these things. I think its amphetamine induced psychosis, but I've been 100% clean from anything for 6 months now. I mean I've just been waiting for it to wear off, but will it? How long does amphetamine induced psychosis last? When do I start worrying about schizophrenia? It seems I have all the symptoms of both. I really need some help cause I don't know how long I can keep this hidden. I mean I screamed shutup to nobody the other night and woke up my brother. i really don't know how much longer I can keep hiding this, I'm even becoming suicidal. I should probably mention that manic depressive bipolar disorder runs in my family, but I've been screened for it already. I really need somebodys opinion on this, is this gonna pass?? or do I need to see a psychiatrist?

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Guest ASchwartz

Lost_Soul,

Methamphetamines are really dangerous, as you know, and I do not know how long it takes to really get the effects out of your system.

I do believe, in my opinion, that you need to see a Psychiatrist and a Certified Drug and Alcohol counselor. The symptoms you are experiencing are probably the residual after effects of the drugs, but, they need to be treated in any case. It is impossible for any of us to know whether you have a permanent psychosis or if this is just passing. My hope is that this is just passing and medication will quiet your brain.

Tell us more about your self and keep in close touch.

Allan

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Hi Lost_Soul

I agree with Allan that you need to see a Psychiatrist.

I am just like yourself, hearing noises, seeing things that are not there, but I swear that they are, and I also hear someone walking round my bedroom every night as well as lie on top of the bed next to me!

This is why I hate the nights so much! Also, I suffer from Insomnia!

This has been going on for about 9 months. These have started getting more frequent! It has even got to the stage where I have started drinking to get me to sleep so I can hide from these issues! And yes, I have even contemplated Suicide! So now... I have been put on the at risk register from my GP Doctor, Psychiatrist & Therapist!

I went to see my Psychiatrist this morning, or rather yesterday morning, looking at the time now, and explained the situation to him. He has prescribed me some Anti-psychotic drugs to take, (pick up the script today, so I cannot tell you what they are yet, or whether they will work, but I will give them a try) Along with my other medication that I take throughout the day & evening.

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Thank you both for responding,

I don't think I can go to a psychiatrist. It's not the therapy I'm scared of, it's the stigma. It's hard enough being seen as an "ex-addict on the verge of a relapse any day", I don't really think it's wise to give more bullets to the people already shooting me.

For the most part I can still function day to day. The stress of secrecy is eating a whole in me, but it's no different than when I was using. The things I hear aren't my biggest concern anymore, I distinguish those as fake and that's good, I guess. What's driving me insane now is the things I don't realize aren't real. I mean I'm starting to question everything that happens out of routine. I mean I chased some kid's away who were trying to steal my bike a few nights ago. Now I don't know whether that happened or not. I've met some people in the last week or so that I don't know are real. I mean my hallucinations, I've always believed, were purely auditory, but that's just cause I proved those false. I didn't even question there realism when they first happened. Maybe I just haven't caught myself having visual hallucinations yet. Maybe alot of things I've done never really happened. These are the thoughts that are pushing me off the edge.

Jesus, at least when I was high I could just blame these things on the drug, maybe even find them trippy. Now I can't tell reality from delusion. Shit makes my head hurt.

Sorry if I'm babbling, this is the only place I have to talk about this stuff.

Does anyone have any experience/advice on how to distinguish reality from delusion?

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Thanks for your reply,

I didn't find the link all that relevant, although it was interesting.

I have instances where I'm the only observer of events taking place, this used to never bother me. But I've lost faith in my self-awareness of reality. I've had drug-induced hallucinations before, including out-of-body experiences. And all though I believed those things to be real while they were happening, I could distinguish them as an effect of the drug after the drug wore off, no matter how real they seemed. Now I think these things are happening in my everyday life and I don't question it's validity because I'm not under the influence. For example, I once had a trip that brought me to a house full of people screaming at eachother, nothing was out of the ordinary except everybody was arguing. As I walked towards each person I was giving the choice to either stop them from arguing with a hug or continue their arguing with a punch. When I came down, I was shocked to find myself in a different house, with no people but the friends I came with. As the drug wore off I knew that what happened wasn't reality, because I had taken a mind-altering substance beforehand. But now, I don't take drugs, but I still hallucinate. So it's difficult for me to tell what's real or not, because I can't just say, "oh ya, I took mush before that happened.... took acid before that happened...I took MdMa before that happened..." and so forth.

I was wondering if there is anybody, schizophrenic or whatever, that has learned a method to distinguish what's real and what's all in your head.

Sorry for the long posts

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Hey There Lost Soul,

I just found your post here after responding to it in the "new members post here" section. I will cut and paste my original reply here:

Hello there, Lost Soul.

I think that the only person who could help you in a definitive way would be a qualified medical professional, a Psychiatrist. Much as you were screened for manic depression/bipolar disorder, there are ways to screen for schizophrenia. The fact or perception that schizophrenia, or schizophrenia-like symptoms have not presented in your life until now does Not exclude you from the possibility that you have it. It is entirely possible to manifest schizophrenia in early adulthood. And this is not to alarm you. It is only to say that there is only one way that you are going to get answers. Here (this forum) is a great place to find support and encouragement, but it is not a good place to answer your question regarding the cause of your symptoms.

Unique1me is right: MDMA and its brethren are nasty substances. There is research to support the fact that it does not-to-good things to the serotonin receptors in your brain, possibly permanent.

Six months is a Long time to be clean and suffering from amphetamine psychosis, which is more typically associated with the period during and immediately after use.

You are obviously alarmed, and I feel for you. See a doctor. The sooner you do this the sooner you can begin to cope with whatever it turns out is the cause of your symptoms. There are Many possible causes for auditory hallucinations, only two of which are being discussed here. I know you are freaked out, and maybe are afraid of hearing the worst news possible, but you have to see a doctor, period. Gotta do it. Make sure you are as candid and specific as possible about your drug use.

Let us know how it goes, though!

B

So that is the original post, but I would like to add a couple of things here. First, it is possible that drug induced psychosis can be persistent, especially in the case of amphetamines, where paranoid/delusional behavior finds fertile ground. These states of mind can continue for considerable lengths of time.

This is only my feeling, but the stigma associated with seeing a PsyD should be the last thing on your mind if you are sliding down the slippery slope of second guessing every thing you see, hear, experience. You are asking if there are any tricks for distinguishing reality from illusion, but to the best of my knowledge there is no way for a person to observe the distinction on their own; that is the nature of the beast: an auditory or visual hallucination is by definition a completely convincing experience.

I understand that you are at an age where your friends, acquaintances, and whomever may not be the most understanding about your seeking psychiatric help, but that whole thing can be reversed as well to say that they probably won't be very understanding and such if you begin to act out the reactions you have to imagined events.

And who knows, maybe some of them will surprise you.

Anyway, best of luck.

B

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