Psychosis: Types, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


What is psychosis?

Psychosis refers to a loss of contact with reality. It’s a sign of serious mental disorders. The symptoms of psychosis include hallucinations and delusions.

A hallucination is a sensory experience that occurs without any actual stimulus. People experiencing auditory hallucinations sometimes hear their mothers shouting at them when their mothers are not around. It is also possible for someone to see someone in front of them who is not actually there if they are having a visual hallucination.

There is also a possibility that someone experiencing psychosis may have opposite beliefs to reality. This type of thinking is called delusion. Psychosis can also cause people to lose motivation and withdraw from social situations.

It is frightening to experience these things. They may also lead to harming oneself or others by those who are psychotic. It’s important to consult a physician if you or someone you know feels psychotic.

Related: Depressive Psychosis

Psychosis symptoms

These are some of the symptoms of psychosis:

  • Concentration problems
  • Depressed mood
  • Oversleeping or undersleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Suspiciousness
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Erratic switching of topics and disorganized speech
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

Read: Expressive Language Disorder

What are delusions and hallucinations?

People with psychosis often experience both delusions and hallucinations. It seems real to a person experiencing delusions and hallucinations.


Delusions are false beliefs or impressions that are firmly held, despite contradicting reality and what is commonly believed to be true. The delusion of paranoia, grandiose delusion and somatic delusion are examples.

Paranoid individuals may believe they are being followed or that they are receiving secret messages when they aren’t. Grandiose delusions can cause someone to exaggerate their importance. When someone believes they are ill, but they are in fact healthy, they have somatic delusion.


Whenever a sensory perception is not accompanied by external stimuli, it is called a hallucination. A person who sees hears, feels, or smells something they aren’t participating in. A person who has hallucinations may hear people speaking while alone, see things that do not exist or even see things that don’t exist at all.

Read: Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

Causes of psychosis

This disorder is unique to every individual and its exact cause isn’t always understood. However, some diseases can cause psychosis. The environment can also trigger depression, for example, due to drug use or lack of sleep. A specific type of psychosis can also develop under certain circumstances.


Psychosis may be caused by the following illnesses:

  • Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and some chromosomal diseases
  • Brain tumors or cysts

Dementias that cause psychosis include those caused by:

Psychosis risk factors

It is currently not possible to accurately predict who will experience psychosis. The genetics of the condition, however, appears to be important.

If you have a parent or sibling with a psychotic disorder, you are more likely to have a psychotic disorder yourself.

Psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia, are more likely to develop in children with a genetic mutation called 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.

Read: Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Types of psychosis

Psychosis is caused by a number of specific conditions or circumstances, including the following:

Brief psychotic disorder

During periods of intense personal stress, such as the death of a loved one, a person can be subject to brief psychotic disorder, also known as brief reactive psychosis. People suffering from brief reactive psychoses usually return to normal after a few days to a few weeks, depending on the source of the stress.

Alcohol or drug-induced psychosis

There can be a psychotic episode triggered by the use of alcohol or drugs, including stimulants such as methamphetamines and cocaine. When taken in high doses, hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD may lead users to perceive objects that aren’t actually there. However, this is only a temporary effect. Stimulants and steroids that are used as prescription medications can also cause psychosis symptoms.

When they stop drinking or taking drugs suddenly, people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs could experience psychotic symptoms.

Read: Substance/Medication-Induced Psychotic Disorder

Organic psychosis

Psychosis can be caused by head injuries, illnesses or infections of the brain.

Psychotic disorders

Psychotic disorders can be triggered by stress, alcohol or drug abuse, illness, or injury. You can also find them on your own. Psychotic symptoms may occur in the following disorders:

Bipolar disorder

A person with bipolar disorder experiences mood swings from very high to very low. People with disorder may display high moods and positive feelings. Some people may believe they possess special powers or feel extremely good.

A person suffering from depression may experience psychotic symptoms, such as anger, sadness or fear. A person may think they are being harmed if they exhibit these symptoms.

Delusional disorder

Delusional individuals strongly believe in things that aren’t true.

Read: Hyperarousal

Psychotic depression

Psychotic depression symptoms accompany major depression.


Schizophrenia generally involves psychotic symptoms that occur throughout life.

How is psychosis diagnosed?

Psychiatric evaluations are required to diagnose this disorder. Doctors monitor patients’ behavior and ask them about their symptoms. The underlying cause of the symptoms may be determined by medical tests and X-rays.

Read: Attachment Disorder

Child and adolescent psychosis diagnosis

Psychosis in adults has several symptoms that make it different from psychosis in children. As an example, young children often talk with imaginary friends. Children engage in imaginative play all the time.

However, if you suspect psychosis in a child or teenager, you should consult a doctor.

Treatment of psychosis

Psychosis treatment may involve both medication and therapy. Treatment will usually result in an improvement in symptoms for most people.

Rapid tranquilization

This disorder can sometimes lead to people becoming agitated and fighting with others or themselves. Then, they may need to be calmed quickly. A rapid tranquilization method is used in this case. Patients will be given an injection or liquid medicine that will act quickly to relax them.


A medication called an antipsychotic can control the symptoms of psychosis. Their use helps people think clearly and reduces hallucinations and delusions. According to the symptoms, the type of antipsychotic will be prescribed.

Antipsychotics are not always necessary to control symptoms in the long run. Schizophrenia patients may need to take medication for the rest of their lives.

Read: Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder

Cognitive behavioral therapy

The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to change one’s thinking and behavior by meeting with a mental health counselor regularly. People who use this approach show improvement in managing their illness and permanent changes. When a medication isn’t sufficient to relieve psychotic symptoms, it’s usually most helpful.


The medical consequences are minimal. People suffering from psychosis may find it difficult to take good care of themselves if left untreated. This could lead to other illnesses not being treated.

Psychosis is usually treatable with the right treatment. Therapy and medication can even help in severe cases.