What is Alcohol Induced Psychosis and How It Can Be Avoided

When a person drinks too much alcohol, they can experience an altered state of consciousness known as alcohol induced psychosis. This is when their thoughts and perceptions are no longer grounded in reality. There is significant evidence that people who suffer from alcoholism have a higher risk of developing this disorder than the general population. 

What is Alcohol-Induced Psychosis? 

Alcohol-induced psychosis is a phenomenon in which people experience delusions and hallucinations that are not caused by any other mental disorder or substance. It is typically more severe than alcohol withdrawal symptoms, but it will usually only last for one to two days. Typically, the episode of psychosis occurs within six hours after drinking alcohol and subsides once the person has been sober for 24 hours. Alcohol-induced psychoses can be very dangerous as they can cause a person to become violent or harm themselves without realizing what they are doing. 

Although many people believe that there is no such thing as an alcoholic personality type, there may actually be a link between alcoholism risk factors and certain types of personalities including those with low self-esteem. 

Symptoms of Alcohol-Induced Psychosis

There are many symptoms of alcohol-induced psychosis. These can include delusions, auditory and visual hallucinations, paranoia, confusion, disorientation, manic excitement [a state in which a person is overly excited or involved in too many activities to the point that it interferes with their daily lives], and also high-risk behavior [such as taking part in dangerous activities].

One very common symptom of alcohol-induced psychosis is when a person has hallucinations. Hallucinations are when an individual sees, hears, smells, or feels things that actually aren't there in reality. For instance, they may feel like bugs or small animals are crawling on their skin when in reality nothing is present. They could also see objects that don't exist such as seeing pink elephants in the room when no one else does. Another example would be hearing voices when no one else is around who could be speaking to you; these voices may tell them to do something harmful or dangerous which makes them act out in ways they normally wouldn't if they were sober. 

Causes of Alcohol-Induced Psychosis

The exact cause of alcohol-induced psychosis is not known, but it is thought to be due to an interaction between genetic and environmental factors.

It has also been shown that people who have suffered from traumatic events in their lives are more likely than others to develop symptoms of alcohol-induced psychosis. This is because individuals with a history of trauma may use alcohol as a way to cope or escape these unpleasant memories or feelings that they are experiencing. Although the experience of trauma may lead them initially to drink, over time it can contribute significantly to increased risk for developing this condition.

Treatment for Alcohol Induced Psychosis 

Once a person has alcohol-induced psychosis, it is important to seek help immediately because the longer the symptoms go untreated, the more severe they are likely to become.

The first step in treatment is to have the individual stop drinking. Next, benzodiazepines may be used to treat any agitation associated with this condition or for seizures if they arise 

Psychotherapy can also be incredibly beneficial for people who have experienced alcohol-induced psychosis. This therapy focuses on helping individuals identify triggers that lead them to drink too much which can then help them learn how to avoid these hazardous situations in order to prevent further harm from being done 

Lastly, family therapy may also be conducted as many times the family members of an individual who has developed alcohol-induced psychosis may also need counseling in order to learn how to cope with these changes and help the person recover.

Prevention for Alcohol Induced Psychosis 

As previously mentioned, the best way to prevent these symptoms of alcohol-induced psychosis is to avoid drinking too much. However, this can be very difficult because people who are already experiencing psychosis often need to drink in order to feel better or cope with their current situation.

For those individuals who are at risk for developing this condition, it may help them to talk about their feelings but avoid using alcohol as a coping mechanism entirely. Setting limits on how much they drink and how often they drink can also go a long way toward preventing the onset of these symptoms 

The most important thing that you can do if you know someone has developed alcohol-induced psychosis is get them help immediately. It is always better for them to get treatment before they hurt themselves.

Recovery from Alcohol Induced Psychosis

Recovery can be difficult, especially if the person suffering from alcohol-induced psychosis has had it for an extended period of time. Many people are able to recover with just a few days or weeks of treatment, however others may need more extensive care to fully overcome these dangerous symptoms.

Some individuals continue to have problems with hallucinations and delusions even after they have stopped drinking alcohol 

Psychotherapy can also be incredibly beneficial for those who have experienced this condition as it allows them to process their thoughts and feelings in order to cope with their current situation. Support groups can also help people suffering from alcohol-induced psychosis connect with others who are going through the same thing which is often very therapeutic on its own.

How to Talk to a Loved One About Their Drinking Habits and Risk for Alcoholism

There is a fine line between explaining your concerns about someone else's drinking habits and making sure that you do not come off as judgmental. While it may be difficult to approach the subject, it is important to remember that nobody can control another person's addiction but themselves and that they will only seek help for their problem when they truly want to. 


Alcohol-induced psychosis is a severe mental illness that can happen when someone drinks too much alcohol. The symptoms of AIP are very different than the typical effects of drinking, and they vary depending on how long it has been since the last drink. When you suspect your loved one may have this condition, do not force them to stop drinking or give up any other substances unless they agree to do so themselves; instead offer tips for moderating their consumption in order to avoid psychotic episodes. If you know someone who needs help because of alcoholism or addiction, contact a reliable treatment provider today.


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