You will find here:
- What is psychosis (PARANOIA, HEARING VOICES, ETC), psychotic episodes, and drug induced psychosis
- How long chemsex induced psychosis last
- Common symptoms of drug induced psychosis related to chemsex
- How can I help myself if I am having a psychotic episode
- How can I help someone else
1: WHAT IS PSYCHOSIS (PARANOIA, HEARING VOICES, ETC), PSYCHOTIC EPISODES AND DRUG INDUCED PSYCHOSIS
First of all, PSYCHOSIS is a is mental health problem which temporarily provokes that someone perceives or interprets the world differently from those who are around them. We are talking about delusions (irrational beliefs that conflict with reality) or hallucinations (a perception of having seen, heard, touched, tasted or smelled something that wasn’t actually there).
Experiencing the symptoms of psychosis is often referred to as having a PSYCHOTIC EPISODE, and they can cause severe distress and a change of behaviour. Additionally, and to keep clarifying, DRUG INDUCED PSYCHOSIS is a psychotic episode that is related to the use of substances.
These episodes many times are connected with chemsex. We can’t forget that there are very powerful drugs involved, like Crystal Meth (psychotic symptoms and syndromes are frequently experienced among individuals who use Methamphetamine), which can keep people awake for days. The toxicity of these chems will induce an unnatural ability to function with extreme lack of sleep, and whilst this can be desirable while involved in chemsex. What you are doing while you should be sleeping, is to put more and more drugs into your system, increasing your sleep deprivation and increasing your risk of drug induced psychosis and your mind and body are unable to rest.
2: HOW LONG CHEMSEX INDUCED PSYCHOSIS LAST?
It depends on many things: most times are very limited in duration, lasting only hours, but others persist for weeks, months, or even years, long after the drug has left the body. The exact duration can depend on which drug or combination of drugs you are using, pre-existing mental health, dosage, how long you have been using, frequency, route of administration and how long you have been since you slept the last time.
3: COMMON SYMPTOMS OF DRUG INDUCED PSYCHOSIS RELATED TO CHEMSEX
- Feeling like someone is filming you or having hidden cameras around.
- Feeling that someone is listening to you from outside the room.
- Feeling that your phone/computer/devises are bugged or hacked.
- Feeling at the center of a plot devised by a gang, cult, or people who you recently partied with.
- Feeling that someone has deliberately infected you with any disease, or you have been drugged without consent.
- Feeling that someone wants to convince you that you are insane.
- Hearing voices or cruel persecutory voices.
- Seeing floating presences in the periphery of vision.
- Compulsive need to pick at the skin, pick at spots.
- Being hyper-conscious of strange symptoms our body is displaying.
- Believing that we can hear the electricity in the walls, or radio signals.
- Being hyper-aware of insects or micro-bacteria in nooks, crannies, etc.
- An awareness of incredible coincidences that no one else can see or interpret.
- A feeling of being judged by everyone for being high/having gay sex/wanking/having HIV/being effeminate/being unsexy/not fitting in/for having particular fantasies or fetishes/for watching porn (or particular porn).
- Feeling that something urgent or dangerous is at play, feeling unsafe.
- The feeling of being followed, either electronically or in real life
- An obsession with solving (or finding evidence of) any of the above.
4: HOW CAN I HELP MYSELF IF I AM EXPERIENCING ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS?
When we are experiencing any of these episodes it’s hard to stop it, especially if we are 100% convinced that it’s real, that it’s not psychosis. Once it sets in, it is likely to stay with you until you sleep it off; that’s just the nature of it. Meth especially lasts a really long time in our body, and a big part of the problem is lack of sleep, so it is unlikely to improve while the session continues. Getting somewhere safe and sleeping it off is the best method.
But there are more things we can do:
Try to spot it early, early warning signs might be:
- Feeling self-conscious.
- Feeling that you are the least welcome person in an environment.
- Doubting or double-thinking what a person really means with every sentence they say.
- An anxious feeling (rather than an enjoyment of the ’high’).
- Obsessive thoughts about things like getting an erection, or the last text you received, or a blemish on your face, or past traumas, or about all the things that could go wrong.
What to do once you identify you’re experiencing psychosis;
- Get somewhere where you feel safe. Home is always best if you feel safer there, but if you feel you are really in immediate or urgent danger, don’t hesitate to call 999 even if you are high or on drugs, Their job is to protect you.
- Distraction is the absolute best thing we can do for ourselves in this state; that’s because the psychosis is mostly driven by an obsessive and anxious thought pattern. Obviously the first thing is to stop taking any more chems and to get some sleep, but sleeping can be challenging for a while. If that is the case, calming or joyous music that we love can be helpful, cleaning the house or doing some gardening, or why not a relaxing bath with candles, or a long shower. Eating and having a hot drink always helps as well.
- Technology doesn’t help when having a psychotic episode, so it’s better to switch off your phone, laptop, etc. Remember that many times, technology is what triggers these feelings of insecurity.
- Muscle relaxants/sleeping pills like valium can be really helpful at times like this. Or a fast acting anti-psychotic like Quetiapine. Some people have reported that hypnotic type sleeping pills (zopicline, zolpidem) can exacerbate the hallucinations, make it worse, so a benzodiazepine might be a better option; but be careful; if you’ve done lots of GHB/GBL, benzodiazepines (like valium, diazepam) can increase the chance of overdose, and some people, in a panic, might take too much valium. Many G overdoses and deaths have been caused by psychotic people trying urgently to calm down. Take one pill, then give it time to work. Help it to work; create a calming environment and mood for yourself.
5: HOW CAN YOU HELP SOMEONE ELSE?
- Be yourself, they need to trust you and you need to make them feel safe and relaxed. Be gentle, calm and speak slowly and simply.
- Make them feel comfortable to share what they are experiencing. Listen non-judgmentally and try to understand them.
- Call the person’s name. Talk to the individual, and try to get them to respond and communicate as much as possible.
- Ask them what you could do to help them. Stay positive.
- Focus on their feelings in what he says, not on the facts of what they are saying.
- Give them your full attention, be aware of your body language, etc.
- Empathize with their situation “I would be terrified as well if all my devices were hacked!”
- Ask about things you know they enjoy.
- Take any threats or warnings seriously. If you are concerned about safety, then you may need to call 999.
- Don’t threaten them. They are not feeling safe.
- Trying to rationalize them out of their behavior, this is not likely to work.
- Avoid criticizing or blaming them for their psychosis or the actions related to their psychosis.
- Avoid touching the person without permission, even to give comfort.
- Avoid denying or arguing with them about their reality. Don’t forget that for them it’s real even if it doesn’t make any sense.
- Don’t take what they say personally. At that moment they are questioning everything, even the relationship that they have with you, so don’t get angry.
- Do not directly confront them.
- Don’t tell them that they are psychotic.
- Do not use sarcasm and avoid using patronizing statements
- Do not dismiss their concerns or laugh it off.
- Do not encourage their psychosis by confirming it. You don’t need to comment directly.
- Don’t try and take over or make decisions without them.
We want to thank David Stuart very deeply for his courtesy allowing us to use some information from his Chemsex Psychosis document. We highly encourage you to have a read, you can access it if you you click on the following link www.davidstuart.org/chemsexpsychosis