In an interview with iNews on Thursday, Fergie spoke about experiencing drug-induced psychosis while she was addicted to crystal meth. The “M.I.L.F.$” singer, who has been candid about her drug addiction in the past, said she experienced hallucinations daily — even after she had stopped using the drug.
“At my lowest point, I was [suffering from] chemically induced psychosis and dementia. I was hallucinating on a daily basis,” she said.
While hallucinations are sometimes viewed as a desired effect for people taking drugs recreationally, living with long-term drug-induced psychosis is typically unwanted, and can be debilitating.
Psychosis, typically defined as a “break with reality,” is a symptom that can be brought on by drug abuse — including meth. In an Australian study on the prevalence of psychosis among methamphetamine users, it was found that 13 percent of the participants had screened positive for psychosis and 23 percent had experienced clinically significant symptoms of suspiciousness, unusual thought content or hallucinations in the past year.
But even after getting off meth, Fergie continued to experience drug-induced psychosis symptoms. “It took a year after getting off that drug for the chemicals in my brain to settle so that I stopped seeing things. I’d just be sitting there, seeing a random bee or bunny,” she explained.
Experiencing lingering symptoms of drug-induced psychosis after getting sober is not uncommon. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, chronic methamphetamine abusers may exhibit psychotic features such as paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations and delusions that last for months or years after getting off the drug.
In addition to hallucinations, Fergie shared that she experienced drug-induced delusions, including fearing that the CIA, FBI and a SWAT team were actively tracking her. “The drugs thing, it was a hell of a lot of fun… until it wasn’t,” she said.
In an interview with Oprah in 2012, she said her “rock bottom” moment was being kicked out of church when she was experiencing delusions.
I started getting really paranoid. So I went one day into this church, and I thought the FBI and the SWAT teams were outside the church… So I had a conversation with God. I’m very close with my Higher Power. I have a very strong connection with it, and I said, “Alright, if I go out there and the FBI and the SWAT team’s not out there, then it’s the drugs and I’m stopping. But if they’re out there, then obviously I was right this entire time.” So I went outside of the church… And there was no SWAT team, there was no FBI. Just me and God.”
She said after that day she kept her promise to God and got clean, and hasn’t used since. Of her life now she said, “It’s so incredible, I know. I think I must have guardian angels.”
If you are struggling with addiction — or are experienced psychosis as a side effect of drug use — know you aren’t “crazy,” and you definitely are not alone. For more resources, or if you are looking for substance abuse and/or mental health help, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website.
If you or a loved one is affected by addiction and need help, you can call SAMHSA’s hotline at 1-800-662-4357.
Photo via Fergie Facebook page