Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Drug induced psychosis


My sons first episode of psychosis happened in 2011 when he was 23. Previously there were no issues at all.
We found out he had been smoking weed & injecting himself with steroids. He was diagnosed with drug induced psychosis.
We were told he would need to take antipsychotics for 2 years & was commenced Abilify. I am thinking that maybe if we had just let the drugs leave his system then maybe he would have returned to his usual self without taking Abilify. The side effects of these meds can be horrible.
I’d be grateful for your input/thoughts.


The antipsychotics really help people get back to thinking clearly - so they can be a lifesaver in many situations. Sometimes people return to normal after drug induced psychosis - but if the person doesn’t get treatment there can be all sorts of other risks, and the risk of long-term harm from 2 years of antipsychotic medication is generally low. And Abilify is one of the lightest antipsychotics out there in terms of side effect profiles and its impact on psychosis - so it was a reasonable place to start from what I understand (I’m not a professional, but talk with many).

Ultimately, it doesn’t help much to second guess what might have been a different course of action. The one that was taken was a reasonable one it sounds like.


In 2011, did he hear voices or was there any schizophrenia symptoms? I’m wondering cuz that is exactly what happened to my son when he was 21. He had his first drug induced sychotic episode, ended up in emer rm, but was released w/o meds or follow up. He was not hearing voices until few yrs later. 9 yrs later @ 30, was diagnosed w/schizophrenia. My counselor said it’s kinda strange he was diagnosed so late in life. So I’m confused. I’m trying to become more educated on mental illness. Has your son been diagnosed with a mental illness?


I’m not sure if my son was hearing voices at the time but he believed he was a fishing entrepreneur & we were trying to steal his ideas. He also believed we were plotting against him including my Dad who passed away when my son was 9. He thought he had two children with a famous singer, he even named them. Total bizarre behaviour & very frightening for him & us too. He remained on Abilify 15mg for 16 months then we tried to take him off it after discussing with his psychistrist. It was reduced & stopped over a 2 week period & my son relapsed. I’ve since found out it should have been reduced much more slowly & over a much longer period. I believe it was withdrawal from Abilify which caused my sons relapse. He had many diagnoses including psychotic depression, schizophrenia (hosp doc) paranoid psychosis (community psych).
I hope your son is doing well .


Unfortunately, my son is not taking meds and is addicted to drugs/alcohol. I’m questioning his sz diagnosis @ 30 yrs old. Last year I kept him from being homeless by finding him apt and paying his bills for a year, cuz he was just diagnosed and wanted to help him best I could. Now after he’s been in and out of jail; assaults, drug possession and he’s now pawning things I’ve bought him for drug money, I can no longer enable him. We all have different stories, we can only learn from each other. I hope your son will get better.


We do what we have to.
My son had drug/alcohol issues too but I think many with mental health problems do.
I am not sure if the drugs cause mental health issues or if poor mental health causes them to use drugs/alcohol by way of self medicating.
None of it helps we know but I cannot imagine how my son must have felt. He was just doing his best to cope & get through it.
My very best wishes to you.


My husband is doing the same thing… he’s in the hospital right now. I think the drugs increased when his symptoms increased… I think he is using to stop the voices. I think the drugs somehow snapped some underlying symptoms into full blown psychosis. All I can do is pray.


Hi & so sorry. It’s so hard to have to watch a loved one suffer but so much harder to have to live it.
Thoughts are with you.
Sharon x


Several comments on this thread was if I had written them myself. My son starting hearing voices after a Dr. that was treating him for opiates addiction perscribed him a drug just as addictive as opiates and also causes psychosis.
The Dr. perscribed my son 120mg of Adderal which sent him into major phycosis. I had know idea this was going on till one day he put holes in my walls and completely destroyed a bedroom suit looking for wires. He thought he was being watched.
Called the crisis center 4 times they saw what was going on and still left saying he presents well. What exactly do they want, my head laying on the floor to say he needs to be admitted!!
Within a few days he ended up calling the police for help thinking someone was outs kill him. They tried to bring him home but I insisted they take him to the hospital. He stayed 5 days and released him with know diagnosis. I told them they were crazy and he will be right back here give or take a day.
3 days later committed again released 3 days later with the same issues.
Needless to say I turned the Dr. into DEA. They found the practice guilty but only received a smack on the hand while my son’s mind has been destroyed.
My son then left for CA where he dabbled in molly, steroids and anything else he could get his hands on for 3 yrs. running from his family who he thinks wants to hurt him. Extremly paranoid!!!.
He returned home 6 months ago and the only thing that is absent from this nightmare are the drugs. He has been clean but his mind is destroyed. I’m praying time will heal but not so sure any more.
Our lives are completely shattered. I can’t get him to a Dr. and refuses all meds or vitamins and is still extremely parinod. He went from one extreme to another.
Praying I will see the light in my sons eyes once again!
Prayers for all of us !!


I’ve quickly come to realize that no matter how much advice we give to each other the bottom line is there is absolutely no help out there for us.
I had posted a few days back that my son hadn’t slept or eaten for 5 days Thursday 1pm he took off on my bicycle and road about 6/7 miles in 32 degree weather up to the main arty in our area.
By dusk I was extremely worried and decided to ride around to look for the needle in s hay stack. Needles to say I couldn’t find him so I decided once again to call crisis for help. They couldn’t help me because " how well he presents" and advice me to call the police.
By 11:30 that evening I went to the police station to only get the same answer or we can give him a ticket for walking without a flashlight
.i explain he was extremely paranoid had not slept or eaten for 5 days and needed help.
Once again no help.finally at 8am I received a call from my son asking for a ride home. I agreed to pick him up but within minutes he called back and said forget it. He was extremely paranoid and said he wanted to watch me and a few other people.he told me he was staying in a hotel and was going to stay another night. I was relieved he had shelter yet still concerned of his state but no idea what to do at that point.
Later that day 1:35 I received a call from the victims unit at out local hospital.
The lady on the other line was calling me to inform me that my son had walked into the path of a semi and was being flown to a trauma hospital.
As I sit here feeling as if I’m in a coma myself praying my son will pull through and trying to wrap my head around all this. I look with disbelief that my son is lying here on a vent with tubes every where a severe head injury, multiple brain bleeds,and skull fractures , I can’t help but wonder if this is enough of a damn presentation for the so called Crisis center and police.
I’m at a loss. ! Our hearts are broken and our lives are shattered!.
My only advice now is we really need to come together and take a stand before another life is destroyed or lost!!!


I am so so sorry Misty.
You tried to get help for your son & if you had been listened to all of this could have been avoided.
I’ll be praying for your son & for you too.
Love Sharon x


I am so sorry.

Do you plan to make sure the police & crisis center know what kind of effect their negligence had? Even if it got me nowhere, I’d make sure they know.


Oh my God, I am so sorry this happened to your son and your family.

You must be in shock.

I am praying for all of you.

If you can, please keep us updated.

I am so so sorry. You did everything you could.


Misty, I’m so sorry this happened! What I’m learning more and more is to trust my gut. Please keep us posted on his progress.

My son went to his Pdoc yesterday and is back in the hospital. This time they’ll give an injection of Abilify. I drive to the hospital with a police escort and he is mad as hell but he is in there and they kept him.


As I write this my heart goes out to you and your family. My GF has ended up in different states and always dreaded the calls from unknown numbers, out of state, Hospitals and Police stations. I know we all wish we can protect them from any harm but it’s in God’s hand. I will say a prayer for your son and family to find strength, courage and a speedy recovery.


Misty, Just wanted you to know that you are on my thoughts and prayers today.



My heart aches for you, and for this journey you have had with your son. Sometimes, when I read the outpouring of emotion, frustration, and words that describe each of our unique situations, every new or developing crisis, and then our desperate search for a solution, an answer, or the much needed/deserved assistance for our loved ones…I depart dumbfounded that there is not more attention to these issues.

I am so sorry for what has happened to your son, my son, our children, others loved ones…but I am certain that your words will shed some light on another’s journey with their loved one and it will create a change in their actions/decisions. It is the words written here in this forum that made me fight relentlessly for my son to receive some help recently. When I read your story, I said to myself…“that could have been my son.” Because of this forum, I was better informed of what to try to get my son help, what truths I might have to stretch/highlight, and what hand would be best to play when in certain situations. Thank you for taking the time you have to share your story. I keep thinking that if we cannot change our own circumstances…our own outcomes for our loved ones…at least sharing here can hopefully help another.

May you have what we need as you continue to navigate each day, and when those difficult moments wear you thin. I am praying for healing for your son.


Misty my heart aches for you very heart-wrenching to hear what happened I don’t have a lot of words just know that you’re in my prayers and if you ever needed to call someone don’t hesitate to reach out to me to have someone listen and vent to and cry maybe a stranger would be easier for you and I will pray for you on the phone if you want me to. My son has been missing for a year now if he’s alive he would have turned 34 on the 20th of February… Heart hugs from one hurting Mama heart to the other


:herb::tulip::cherry_blossom::rose: sending prayers :hibiscus::sunflower::blossom::herb:


Oh my God Misty, my heart aches for you. This demonstrates a tragic failing in our MH system. I am praying for you and your son. I hope that you will share your story with lawmakers when you are able. They need to know how broken the system is.