Methamphetamine and Psychosis


Perhaps the most infamous effect of meth on long-term users, though severely understudied, is psychosis. Often called “tweaking,” there are many aspects of psychosis—a severe mental disorder in which people lose contact with reality, very similar to acute paranoid schzophrenia.

A psychosis is generally characterized by:

Strong delusions

  • strange beliefs about things that aren’t plausible
  • grandiosity
  • insects crawling under the skin

Extreme paranoia

  • feeling overly suspicious of people
  • feeling like other people are ‘out to get you’


  • hearing voices
  • seeing things that aren’t there
  • talking to people who aren’t real

Obsessive-compulsive behavior

  • cleaning
  • peeking out the window
  • taking things apart and putting them back together

Often, the paranoia a user experiences becomes debilitating. Paranoia is a self-reinforcing loop of beliefs that escalates in a fearful emotional state. Meth can distort reality, altering belief systems, and lessens the ability to control emotions, making fear and anxiety prevalent.  more

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