Article 9 - Substance Induced Psychotic Disorders

What are Substance Induced Psychotic Disorders (SIPDs)?

This refers to the development of mental symptoms as the result of using substances.


What substances can cause SIPDs?

Any substance can cause various mental problems, but the most common culprits for causing SIPD’s are:

  • Cannabis
  • Stimulants (such as Tik)
  • Alcohol

When does the SIPD appear?

  • Psychotic symptoms can appear during intoxication – i.e. while the person is using the substance – and stop afterwards. For example, someone using hallucinogens such as LSD are likely to have visual hallucinations (seeing things or people that are not there);
  • During withdrawal from a substance, e.g. heavy alcohol users may have derogatory auditory hallucinations (hearing voices that are not real criticizing them) when withdrawing from alcohol;
  • After using the substance – here there are 2 types of psychosis:
    • a short-term psychosis which requires medication but then ends within a month;
    • the onset of a lifelong chronic psychotic illness such as schizophrenia is triggered.


Who can suffer from SIPDs?

The short answer to this is – anyone who uses mood and mind altering substances, even once. This is why we can refer to an SIPD as the landmine of substance abuse we just never can tell when it is lurking there!


Factors which heighten the risk:-

  • Those with a predisposition to/ family history of  mental illness
  • Chronic (long-term) users
  • Adolescents – especially adolescents using Cannabis before the age of 18

*Treatment should be sought immediately when the psychotic symptoms appear  noticedevident. Treatment will include anti-psychotic medication and counselling.



The safest way to prevent being blown up is not to walk through a minefield!

Why risk it?


Where to get help?

If you, or someone you know needs help with SIPDs or any Alcohol or other drug related enquiry, please don’t hesitate to call the CAPE TOWN DRUG COUNSELLING CENTRE

0214478026 or 0814785097