The prevalence of psychotic symptoms among methamphetamine users

Addiction. 2006 Oct;101(10):1473-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2006.01496.x.


Aims: To examine the prevalence of psychotic symptoms among regular methamphetamine users.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Participants were recruited from Sydney, Australia, through advertisements in free-press magazines, flyers and through word-of-mouth.

Participants: Methamphetamine users (n = 309) who were aged 16 years or over and took the drug at least monthly during the past year.

Measurements: A structured face-to-face interview was used to assess drug use, demographics and symptoms of psychosis in the past year. Measures of psychosis included: (a) a psychosis screening instrument derived from the Composite International Diagnostic Interview; and (b) the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale subscales of suspiciousness, unusual thought content, and hallucinations. Dependence on methamphetamine was measured using the Severity of Dependence Scale.

Findings: Thirteen per cent of participants screened positive for psychosis, and 23% had experienced a clinically significant symptom of suspiciousness, unusual thought content or hallucinations in the past year. Dependent methamphetamine users were three times more likely to have experienced psychotic symptoms than their non-dependent counterparts, even after adjusting for history of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

Conclusion: The prevalence of psychosis among the current sample of methamphetamine users was 11 times higher than among the general population in Australia. Dependent methamphetamine users are a particularly high-risk group for psychosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine*
  • Middle Aged
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Psychoses, Substance-Induced / epidemiology*


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methamphetamine