Skip to main content Accessibility help

Comparison of Amphetamine Psychosis and Schizophrenia

  • D. S. Bell (a1)


Amphetamine psychosis arising during the course of long-continued amphetamine addiction resembles paranoid schizophrenia (Connell, 1958). Gradually the euphoriant effects of the drug are modified by anxiety accompanying ideas of reference and paranoid delusions. Auditory and visual hallucinations occur in a setting of clear consciousness and correct orientation. Restlessness, agitation and excitement are common accompaniments. An identical end-result has been reported in those cases that resulted from a single large dose of amphetamine or ingestion of the drug over a short period only (Wallis, McHarg and Scott, 1949; Herman and Nagler, 1954; Carr, 1954; Greenwood and Peachey, 1957; Connell, 1958). Accidental poisoning with amphetamine in childhood has been reported by Shanson (1956) and Patuck (1956) to result in hallucinations, hyperactivity, and a state of excitement and terror.



Hide All
1. Askevold, F. (1959). “The occurrence of paranoid incidents and abstinence delirium in abusers of amphetamine.” Acta Psychiat. Neurol. Scand., 34, 145164.
2. Bartholomew, A. A., and Marley, E. (1959). “Toxic response to 2-phenyl-3-methyl tetrahydro-1, 4-oxazine hydrochloride (‘Preludin’) in humans.” Psychopharmacol., 1, 124139.
3. Beamish, P., and Kiloh, L. G. (1960). “Psychoses due to amphetamine consumption.” J. ment. Sci., 106, 337343.
4. Bell, D. S., and Trethowan, W. H. (1961). “Amphetamine addiction.” J. nerv. ment. Dis., 133, 489496.
5. Carr, R. B. (1954). “Acute psychotic reaction after inhaling methylamphetamine.” Brit. med. J., i, 1476.
6. Cohen, S. (1953). “The toxic psychoses and allied states.” Amer. J. Med., 15, 812828.
7. Connell, P. H. (1957). “Amphetamine in the urine of mental hospital patients.” J. Biochem., 65, 7.
8. Connell, P. H. (1958). Maudsley Monographs No. 5. Amphetamine Psychosis. London.
9. Fenichel, O. (1955). The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neuroses. London. pp. 375380.
10. Freud, S. (1953). The Interpretation of Dreams. London.
11. Greenwood, R., and Peachey, R. S. (1957). “Acute amphetamine poisoning.” Brit. med. J., i, 742744.
12. Herman, M., and Naoler, S. H. (1954). “Psychoses due to amphetamine.” J. nerv. ment. Dis., 120, 268272.
13. Jackson, D. D. (1962). “LSD and the new beginning.” Ibid., 135, 435439.
14. MacDonald, J. M., and Galvin, J. A. V. (1956). “Experimental psychotic states.” Amer. J. Psychiat., 112, 970976.
15. Marley, E. (1960). “Response to some stimulant and depressant drugs of the central nervous system.” J. ment. Sci., 106, 7692.
16. Mayer-Gross, W., Slater, E., and Roth, M. (1960). Clinical Psychiatry. London. p. 284.
17. McConnell, W. B. (1963). “Amphetamine substances in mental illness in Northern Ireland.” Brit. J. Psychiat., 109, 218224.
18. Patuck, D. (1956). “Acute dexamphetamine sulphate poisoning in a child.” Brit. med. J., i, 670671.
19. Pollard, J. C., Barker, C., Uhr, L., and Feuerfile, D. F. (1960). “Controlled sensory input: a note on the technic of drug evaluation with a preliminary report on a comparative study of Sernyl, Psilocybin and LSD-25.” Comp. Psychiat., 1, 377380.
20. Shanson, B. (1956). “Amphetamine poisoning.” Ibid., i, 576.
21. Slater, E. (1959). “Amphetamine psychosis.” Brit. med. J., i, 488.
22. Wallis, G. G., McHarg, J. F., and Scott, O. C. A. (1949). “Acute psychosis caused by dextroamphetamine.” Ibid., ii, 1394.
23. Wolff, H. G., and Curran, D. (1935). “Nature of delirium and allied states.” Arch. Neurol. Psychiat., 33, 11751215.
24. Young, D., and Scoville, W. B. (1938). “Paranoid psychosis in narcolepsy and the possible danger of Benzedrine treatment.” Med. Clin., North Amer., 22, 637646.
25. Young, G. G., Simson, C. B., and Frohman, C. E. (1961). “Clinical and biochemical studies of an amphetamine withdrawal psychosis.” J. nerv. ment. Dis., 132, 234238.


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed

Comparison of Amphetamine Psychosis and Schizophrenia

  • D. S. Bell (a1)
Submit a response


No eLetters have been published for this article.


Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *