Original Research

Methamphetamine-induced psychosis: Clinical features, treatment modalities and outcomes

Eileen Thomas, Helena Lategan, Chris Verster, Martin Kidd, Lize Weich
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 22, No 1 | a980 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v22i1.980 | © 2016 Eileen Thomas, Helena Lategan, Chris Verster, Martin Kidd, Lize Weich | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 February 2016 | Published: 29 September 2016

About the author(s)

Eileen Thomas, Department of Psychiatry, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Helena Lategan, Department of Psychiatry, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Chris Verster, Department of Psychiatry, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Martin Kidd, Centre for Statistical Consultation, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Lize Weich, Department of Psychiatry, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


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Abstract

Objective: To investigate the clinical features, prescribing patterns and outcomes of psychiatric inpatients admitted with methamphetamine-induced psychosis.
Method: A cross-sectional, descriptive pilot study was conducted between March 2014 and August 2014 at three South African Mental Health Care Act designated hospitals prior to admission to a psychiatric hospital. Patients with methamphetamine-related psychotic symptoms according to the DSM-5 criteria were eligible. Structured face-to-face interviews were conducted and the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale was employed as a measure of current
psychopathology.
Results: Fifty-six participants were included. Positive psychotic symptoms (e.g. hallucinations) were more prominent than negative symptoms (e.g. affective blunting). Almost half the participants (43%) had previous episodes of methamphetamine-induced psychosis. Within this group, all had defaulted on the prescribed treatment prior to admission. Only 29% of the participants had received prior formal substance-use rehabilitation as treatment for their disorder. High rates of comorbid cannabis and alcohol use (51%) were recorded. Most of the participants required transfer to specialist psychiatric hospitals. The amounts of methamphetamine used were not a predictor of the persistence of psychosis; however, the pattern of use was.
Conclusion: Clinical features correspond with other international findings. The currently employed model of sequential, non-integrated psychiatric and substance use treatment in this setting appears ineffective.


Keywords

Methamphetamine; South Africa; Psychosis; Phenomenology

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