Can Drug Abuse Really Cause Brief Psychotic Disorder?

Someone who abuses drugs on a regular basis has likely experienced the shifts in emotions and sensations that take place as the drug takes hold. While these effects may feel good in the short-term, the ongoing effects of drug abuse wear away at the brain’s functional capacity over time.

Brief psychotic disorder develops out of profound shifts in brain functioning, causing temporary symptoms that closely resemble those of full-blown psychosis. This level of dysfunction results from severe imbalances within the brain’s chemical system.

Considering how easily addictive drugs like heroin and Adderall can interfere with the brain’s system, the risk of developing episodes of brief psychotic disorder only increases with ongoing drug abuse. Knowing when to take action and seek treatment help can go a long way towards preventing brief psychotic disorder from turning into long-term psychosis.

For information on drug rehab treatment options, call our toll-free helpline at 888-647-0051 (Who Answers?) .

Brief Psychotic Disorder

Brief Psychotic Disorder

Confusion is a symptom of brief psychotic disorder.

According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, brief psychotic disorder lasts for up to a month in duration, which is the sole difference between this condition and permanent psychosis. In effect, a psychotic episode occurs when a person loses touch with reality and can no longer interact with his or her surrounding environment.

Symptoms of brief psychotic disorder to watch out for include:

  • Inability to speak in coherent sentences
  • Delusional thinking
  • Fragmented thinking
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Noticeable changes in weight, energy levels and sleeping routines
  • Memory impairment
  • Strange behavior displays
  • Strange attire or clothing
  • Inability to make decisions

Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder

The mind and body rely on a delicate balance of neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain to think, manage stress and sustain continued health. Chemicals, such as dopamine, GABA and serotonin play critical roles in keeping everything working as normal.

Addictive drugs like heroin, cocaine and Adderall actually target these chemical systems and disrupt normal processes in dangerous ways. These effects lay the groundwork for a brief psychotic disorder to develop.

Drug Abuse Effects That Lead to Brief Psychotic Disorder


Addictive drugs deplete the brain’s neurotransmitter materials over time. These effects account for the frequent withdrawal periods that occur during the course of ongoing drug abuse.

According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, during severe withdrawal states, the brain essentially “crashes” in response to depleted neurotransmitter materials. Once withdrawal severity reaches a certain point, conditions are prime for a brief psychotic episode to take shape.


Drug overdose occurs when a drug’s effects overpower the brain’s ability to maintain normal functioning. This means someone who tries a powerful drug like heroin or cocaine for the first time can experience symptoms of overdose.

Brief psychotic disorder is one of the more severe symptoms brought on by a drug overdose.

Chronic Drug Abuse

More than anything else, chronic or long-term drug abuse leaves a person most susceptible to experiencing episodes of brief psychotic disorder. Also, people who’ve already experienced this condition are that much more likely to have repeating bouts of brief psychosis.

In the absence of needed treatment help, these brief episodes continue to weaken the brain’s functional capacity to the point where permanent psychosis takes root.

If you’re considering getting drug treatment and need help finding a program, call our helpline at 888-647-0051 (Who Answers?) to speak with one of our addiction specialists.


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