Meth Paranoia: Does Methamphetamine Cause Paranoia?

Meth and Paranoia

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One of  the numerous crystal meth side effects is paranoia. The risk increases with a long-term abuse. Meth paranoia is a severe condition. Thus, one should seek an immediate medical care.

A Quick Overview Of Crystal Meth

Crystal meth is a crystalline form of Amphetamine. It has no medical value, and its use is illegal. But, Amphetamine is a proper medication. Doctors use it to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.

It is one of the most abused illicit drugs in the world. A 2011 DEA report shows almost 12 million Americans used it at least once in their lifetime. Currently, meth abuse is a nationwide drug problem in the US.

What Is Paranoia?

Paranoia is a distortion in the perception of one’s self and security. It causes them to think that everyone is conspiring against them. They exhibit a hostile behavior and may harm others. Also, they have a false sense of self-importance. It is a symptom of an underlying mental disorder. For example, schizophrenia or drug abuse. Yet, having paranoia does not mean they have a full-blown schizophrenia.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders provides criteria for classifying mental disorders. It says paranoia is not a disease in its own terms. In fact, it is a symptom of a complicated disorder. They call it Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD).

Addicts who have a long history of meth abuse may develop a similar distortion in their thoughts. They call it meth paranoia. The risk is higher in those who smoke, snort or inject it. So, taking by mouth is less risky.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Meth Paranoia?

The symptoms of meth paranoia may include:

  • Listening to the voices that are not real
  • Having irrational beliefs
  • Unusual perception of sound, vision, or touch

Moreover, some patients may have olfactory hallucinations. It means they sense the smell that is not present in the environment. Some may have a false belief that someone is aware of their thoughts.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Seeing things that do not exist
  • A false belief that they do not have any mental health issue. As a result, they do not need any treatment.
  • Experiencing a physical contact with an imaginary object or surface

Meth And Paranoia: Exploring A Complicated Link

The link between meth and paranoia is well known. In the medical world, they call it meth-induced paranoia (MIP).

But, only a few studies have attempted to differentiate MIP from the paranoia due to other causes.

Meth and Paranoia

Meth enhances the release of a brain chemical. They call it dopamine. As a result, it produces heightened alertness and euphoric feelings. Furthermore, it improves memory, language function, and processing of signals in the brain.
Many studies suggest an increased dopamine level may lead to the symptoms of schizophrenia. They call this “dopamine hypothesis of schizophrenia.” In fact, many medications for schizophrenia reduce the brain dopamine level.

Long-term meth abuse may also cause some structural changes in the brain. Notably, the dopamine system is overactive in these patients.

The changes in brain chemistry and structure have a combined effect on how users think and behave. As a result, the classical symptoms of paranoia are developed. They include hallucinations and changes in thought processing. Additionally, they may fail to respond normally to external stimuli.

Key Takeaways

Many researchers believe there is a link between meth and paranoia. Nonetheless, only a few studies have attempted to find a direct link.

But, the association between meth abuse and psychosis is well established. They call it meth-induced psychosis or stimulant psychosis.


Psychosis is not a disease. Rather it is a symptom. In most cases, it is a hallmark of schizophrenia. A Study suggests meth-induced psychosis and schizophrenia may have a common genetic link.

The tendency of self-harm is high among the meth paranoia patients. Moreover, they may get illegal weapons to safeguard themselves.

Meth paranoia and other mental disorders have similar symptoms. For this reason, recognizing it is a challenge for the clinicians. Health professionals should check substance abuse history before starting treatment.

What Users Can Do?

If someone has meth paranoia, talk to an addiction counselor. They can provide accurate information on a variety of addiction-related topics. Their knowledge and experience are invaluable to journey to sobriety. In fact, with their guidance, a patient can expect a swift and complete recovery.

Addiction centers have every resource to help someone with an addiction. They have qualified medical professionals and individualized addiction treatment plans. Moreover, they also have provisions for auxiliary care.

Need a professional help to fight an addiction or meth paranoia? Get the best rehabs page here.

View Sources
  1. Martin H. Leamon, Keith Flower, Ruth E. Salo, Thomas E. Nordahl, Henry R. Kranzler, Gantt P. Galloway. Methamphetamine and Paranoia: The Methamphetamine Experience Questionnaire. The American Journal on Addictions. 2010 Mar-Apr; 19(2): 155–168.
  2. Travis A. Wearne, Jennifer L. Cornish. A Comparison of Methamphetamine-Induced Psychosis and Schizophrenia: A Review of Positive, Negative, and Cognitive Symptomatology. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2018.
  3. Hart CL, Marvin CB, Silver R, Smith EE. Is cognitive functioning impaired in methamphetamine users? A critical review. Neuropsychopharmacology (2012) 37:586–608.


Leave a comment

  • Molly Lindsey
    Is someone here I can talk to.
    • Edward
      Hey Molly! Please call (888)-459-5511, professionals at Delphi Health Group will be glad to help You and answer all of your questions.Best wishes, Edward
  • James
    My son has abused meth. He has been diagnosed as ADHD. I gave him a drug test that came back negative. He has acted paranoid off and on.
  • Lisa D Chastain
    My fiance is using meth and I’d always accusing me of talking to other men. He says he can hear the other man on the other end of the phone?!
    • Megan
      My issue is the same as Lisa’s … he’s always accusing me of me having or talking to guys when I’m home alone with my son. And only accuses me when he uses.. I don’t understand the drug
      • Jessica Jamerson
        I have been going through the same thing. My husband has accused me over and over again of cheating…talking to other men…and I’m not doing ANYTHING. I was so miserable…I left him. Thanks to meth.
    • Trace
      Mine too Its ending us
  • Jess
    My husband just checked himself into rehab. He is a meth addict and has been using for a year and a half now. I pray this works because I don’t want to leave him alone and take our two beautiful daughters from him. But if he uses again when he gets out- that is the only choice I have. I can’t have their dad high around them. He is eratic and impulsive when using.
  • Greg
    It’s amazing how people will blame the drug someone uses before they even bother to look into the users background or situation and see what is causing the person to want to take or do such drugs. Some addicts I met did not simply just wake up one day and think hey I’m gonna do meth today. They had something in their life that they wanted forget about or numb. These are things people should watch for. red flags emotional distance what is making them want to take a substance to drowned out the feelings? Dont be so quick to blame it on the substance but the user is ultimately the focal point. I have met tons of users that have held jobs for 15+ years durring wich promotions and life changing career building opportunities were given to them, they have all their teeth and healthy children nice families nice homes collage degrees. Guess what they use meth. Does that make them scum or junkies as you call everyone else? They started to use substances to help them make that career climb and Invested in it for in the long run they were doin to make sure they would have a better chance in life.
    • Gladis valdez
      I agree with u 100 percent why do they use it. Everyone who has used it has been abused in some way get to the bottom.of that then that’s when there will be a great recovery you dont see a healthy rich person happy on meth do you? No there is something in their past and thats where ro start at.
  • Luke
    I used meth for 2 years, I also smoked marijuana for 10. Quit them both 2 months ago by underline reason for using . Depression. I have anxiety. Bipolar depression, / meth only worsened my condition my last come down was the worst . I believed everyone was undercover cops. And that my friends were all fake and were against me at times when they just wanted to hang out. I thought people were in my house if I left the door open when I left so I would get back and check the house and check every room closet , I even checked the attic and this is even weeks after being clean so the 2 years I used was long enough to cause me some permanent brain damage . And MIP, so anyone using I recommend quitting asap! And get help it’s a terrible drug that destroys your brain and family and I do not recommend it for anyone . Especially anyone with mental disorders.
    • Nicki
      Luke, you said you were still feeling the paranoia and erratic behavior 2 weeks after being sober? I found out about a month and a half ago that my boyfriend was using meth. He stopped for maybe a couple weeks then started again. I knew something wasn’t right but he lied about it, I caught him 2 weeks ago. Since, he says he hasn’t don’t it. He swears to me and he’s convincing….but I can’t tell something isn’t right. He’s still having trouble sleeping, when he does finally fall asleep, he sleeps…but it takes him a while. And the paranoia is still there. I can tell he’s trying to hide it, but he can’t help but blurt things out. I don’t know what to do, where to start or what kind of help to get him. Any suggestions on what I can do to help or what to expect?
  • mrsLorianna Brown
    I noticed you did not mention they are successfully faithful in their marriage cause every meth user Ive met in my past has had crazy stories of infidelity to levels I cant compre f**king hend… wTF is going on in this world that you begin to be a meth sandwich for all the ppl you are methically connected to… or are you also very fauthfully committed to that one person you told God you was only gonna ball and chain for life…I mean dannnng we all know what the hell chaining down means amd dony get all ohhmygod on me… Im just curious on this fabulous life of meth you live is all being a dumb ole Texas c**t nugget as my ole ex called it..I would like to your book on the fabuloys wices of the meth world cause apparently i didnt make the cut and Im tryin to be methopular just like yall An admired fan of your meth coolness and ex ole c**t nugget in Texas
  • Gladis VALDEZ
    Meth or any drug is evil ans controls ur mind you end up dpibg stupid s**t yes we know.? But if your love one has fallen there dont just walk away try to figure out what made them choice that path and get them help. Noine is perfect we learn from our mistakes but sometimes we need someone to say its ok we can beat this. Once you use it meth controls the person its not the person itself nomore.
  • Kikicg
    my husband and I have been using for 2 and 1/2 years we don’t smoke or inject we swallow crystal’s. I’ve always been the weaker one when it came to drugs struggling with an addiction to opiates and benzos for almost 10 years my husband kind of dabbled in it that always was the stronger one and help me get better the withdrawal from opiates was so intense for me the throwing up the constant anxiety and skin crawling I was trying to take care of our five children together get me taking opiates every day when I started to kind of detox from this drug I thought it was a breeze because the physical symptoms weren’t anything I couldn’t handle but then I realized I can’t even get out of bed for 2 days having to tell my children that are teenagers now is my back or got a virus or something considering I’m very energetic even without this drug very involved and constantly cutting up with my children and hanging out and doing fun stuff well I can’t be around them or get out of my bed I have to come up with some excuse and I realized my once always happy completely optimistic positive personality wasn’t the same I’ve never felt more worthless and self-hatred and unable to find worth in anything it’s almost impossible I must say a thousand times a day I wish I were deadI’m not used to experiencing that I didn’t even go to that when I decided to quit taking Xanax has and lortabs I haven’t taken any pills other than an over-the-counter headache medicine and almost 5 years and I’m so ashamed that I allowed another drug to come in and control me this way my husband and I can only go two to three days before we have to get more my husband is stronger than me in the sense he never misses work no matter if he has it or not no matter how tired he has a great job and he never misses no matter what but when he’s home it’s a different story it’s actually a nightmare a continuously thinks that his children that aren’t my birth children but I’ve raised and I are plotting against him he thinks I’m trying to steal his children and talk bad about him to themwhich I would never do my stepsons and I are very very close and my kids and my step kids are extremely close they’ve been step-sibling since they were two and three they are 15 and 16 all the kids are close to me that’s just my role my husband was a single father when I met him and an excellent one at that his children are absolutely amazing but he is become so increasingly weird hiding from them and if he walks out of the room and sees me and his son talking he automatically assumes we’re being secretive it’s caused him to the violent towards me and it’s caused the kids to see confrontations they’re not used to my husband’s always been an aggressive person is Emma ex-marine and he’s also an Aries LOL but the paranoia that he gets I’m not used to he’s always been such a leader always a strong one and he seems to be scared a lot always asking me to come here that I hear that and continuously stays going through my history on my phone and accusing me of things I wouldn’t even dream of doing if I leave my phone at home on accident to go to the store he can use to scream at me jump on me call me a w**** saying that I did it so he couldn’t follow my location and I’m doing nothing to give him the reason to feel this way now I don’t have those thoughts I don’t hear things I don’t I think he’s up to something I’m not in fear of anything that isn’t there I don’t worry about relationships and who’s being close to one another and my family but I have a serious issue with functioning and taking care of my family and self hatred and loathing of myself knowing that my children deserve better my family deserves better my kids know about the pill addiction I had because they were around and I wasn’t going to pretend like they were dumb when I got clean they’re very loving and respectful and forgiving because I’m still open with them about it and promised them I change and I did ever sent me a lot for it but I feel so completely stupid and undeserving of the amazing children I have because now I’m a disgusting meth head I don’t even know how this could be I’m so ashamed I miss my strong husband that I could look at and you proud he was so confident and controled and together now I worry that one and who has lost all of his self confidence becomes something that’s not that becoming he will tell me about all of my flaws and I will tell him he’s right and I will try to work on them if I tell him that I think he’s being paranoid or that maybe he’s not exactly thinking clearly he loses his s*** my husband hates to fail and absolutely becomes a devil when he’s disappointed in himself accusing me of anything that he can think of to make himself not feel so bad I miss us we met when we were 10 years old we were each other’s first kiss moving away and middle school we married others and had children and 15 years later going through divorces and separations we ran across each other he had custody of three little boys I custody of a little boy and a little girl all within a year of each other we had no idea that our children would become the most insane closes loyal ride or die step-siblings you could ever dream of and my husband and I I’ve been through enough to destroy most marriages when we started seeing each other I already was in a full-blown opiate addiction but I’m great at hiding things I carry myself very classy together I seem like I have all my life together but I was a complete and total disaster opiate addiction case not only did he end up kind of going down that road with me nothing like mine he got his self playing in 5 days cold turkey he left me after 5 years I came home to nothing and we stayed separated for 11 months as he told me he would help me wing off of the medication he went to a doctor and got prescribed lortabs and Xanax and every day he would bring me one and then it became half and with an 11 month I was completely clean no detox and withdrawal never wanted them again he got to see the real me and how loyal and loving I was because on pills I was not a great person or wife us both being on this drug for the first time isn’t like a lot of couples neither one of us leave each other to go out and cheat or be away from each other to be with other females or males my husband definitely has a porn addiction but it was pretty bad before meth and it’s honestly not something that bothers me because we do have amazing sex before meth and of course during we definitely done some crazy things sexually on this drug that I kind of wish we haven’t but we’re both so confident in our sexual relationship is not something that bothers me or I’ll worry about but I do worry about is the fact that we used to spend every waking moment together now he has his own room he stays in and does little projects and hobbies and I have my art room that I stay in and do projects and hobbies we may not even stay in the same bed maybe two days a month we have sex often but after we’re done we go back to our own rooms that always seems to be more important than our time together then we both realized that masturbation was just easier than having sex OMG my marriage is completely falling apart I’m so afraid that my children are going to find out and be completely let down again how in God’s name are we going to get off this drug and continue to take care of her and raise our family without it being known or noticed I’m absolutely terrified how stupid could we be
  • Diana Amann
    My daughter has developed meth paranoia. Everything I read tells me to take her to a doctor or hospital. Not everyone has health insurance! She has no insurance and no money. She is 57. I am 77 and live on SS. I can’t find an answer to the question: what do we do when she has no insurance? We live in Tennessee, one of 6 states that refused the Medicaid part of Obamacare.