OSWALD IN THE DOORWAY- the blog of the Oswald Innocence Campaign by Ralph Cinque
Monday, March 20, 2017
Read this, and then think: Jack Ruby, who was taking two strong amphetamines, Benzedrine and Preludin.
What is Amphetamine Psychosis?
Amphetamine psychosis is a condition that can affect an individual who has been abusing high doses of amphetamines for an extended period of time. This issue, which according to the CDC is “similar to schizophrenia,” involves paranoia, hallucinations, and violent or erratic behavior. A person can experience this effect no matter what amphetamine drug they are taking; methamphetamine, amphetamine, and dextroamphetamine can all cause issues with amphetamine psychosis if taken in high enough doses every day.
What Leads to Amphetamine Psychosis?
Like with cocaine, amphetamines release dopamine into the brain, causing a pleasant reaction. Those who abuse the drug are hoping to experience an extreme version of this reaction, called euphoria. The feeling becomes addictive and the individual will take more in order to continue feeling it.
According to the NIDA, “With repeated exposure to cocaine, the brain starts to adapt, and the reward pathway become less sensitive to natural reinforcers and to the drug itself.” The same issue occurs with amphetamine abuse; it is called tolerance. As tolerance develops, the abuser will need to take higher doses of the drug each time in order to feel those effects.
These extremely high doses of the drug act on the brain so strongly that, eventually, the individual may come to experience the negative side effects of the drug in a way that becomes more like a chronic mental illness. Like in the case of other stimulants, many abusers will binge on these drugs as well, which as stated by the CHCE, is most often the behavior that causes this condition. Despite the issues of amphetamine psychosis, users who arrive at this point are usually addicted already and will not want to stop taking the drug no matter how negatively it affects them.
What are the Symptoms of Amphetamine Psychosis?
Amphetamine psychosis can cause hallucinations, aggression and violent behavior.
Also called toxic psychosis or stimulant-induced psychosis, this condition is extremely dangerous and will be very upsetting for friends and family members to see an individual struggle with. It is important to understand that, in the event of someone exhibiting the symptoms of this disorder after abusing high doses of amphetamines for a long time, treatment will be necessary.
The symptoms of amphetamine psychosis are
Picking at the skin
This behavior is common, especially among those who abuse methamphetamine, because of the prevalent hallucination of bugs burrowing under a person’s skin.
These hallucinations are called crank bugs.
Homicidal and suicidal thoughts
All of these symptoms point to an individual who is experiencing intense amphetamine psychosis. Because the condition is so similar to schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, it can often be mistaken for such, but you should not rule out the possibility that the individual might be acting this way because they are on drugs, especially if they have never shown signs of psychosis or schizophrenic behavior before. The condition can be very terrifying, though, for both the individual and others around them.
Is Someone who suffers from Amphetamine Psychosis Dangerous?
Yes. An individual with this condition is extremely dangerous and difficult to predict. They will be intensely afraid of others, even those they’ve known their whole lives, as a result of their paranoia. They will likely become convinced that those who care for them are actually trying to hurt them which can make them very volatile.
The tendency of an individual with this condition to hurt others or themselves is high. That is why, when approaching someone with amphetamine psychosis, you should take extreme precautions not to upset them or antagonize them. The best way to get them help is to call 911, especially if they are very upset or angry.
Under NO circumstances should you try to talk someone down from these problems yourself. An individual with amphetamine psychosis needs treatment and will likely not snap out of the condition. It might take them a week or even longer of intensive treatment before they start acting like themselves again.