Longterm Psychological Effects

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As compared to physical tolerance, there is no tolerance established for the psychological effects of methamphetamine.9 This leaves meth users very vulnerable to its psychotic effects. Longtime users have been known to develop symptoms of psychosis that mimic schizophrenia, including paranoia, aggression, hallucinations, and delusions. Even after stopping the drug, psychotic symptoms can sometimes persist for months or years afterward.7, 11, 14

Of a population of 111 patients with chronic methamphetamine psychosis (MAP), 21 patients were selected for a study. Sixteen of these patients had used meth one or more times after a long-term abstinence; when they reused the drug, they experienced an acute, paranoid psychotic state that was almost identical to the psychotic episode they had experienced when first using the drug years before. Four of these patients relapsed following a one-time reuse of meth (of an amount less than what they had initially used). One patient relapsed without even showing signs of having reused meth. The study concluded that chronic meth use can cause long-term "susceptibility to sensitization" to meth. Antipsychotic medications, such as haloperidol, are being used to help meth abusers with these aftereffects.32

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