Psychosis (sy-KOH-sis) is a condition usually caused by mental illnesses in which
a person has a difficult time thinking clearly, behaving appropriately, or understanding
what is real and what is not.
More to Know
Psychosis is not a disorder of its own. It's more like a set of symptoms caused
by a mental illness, brain disorder, brain
tumor, or stress. In
some cases, alcohol or drug abuse can also lead to psychosis.
Psychotic episodes usually include delusions or hallucinations. Delusions are false
beliefs not based in reality, and hallucinations are sights or sounds that aren't
really there. People with psychosis also may experience disorganized thoughts and
speech, social withdrawal and isolation, reduced performance at school or work, and
disturbed sleep patterns.
Psychosis often affects people in their late teens or early 20s, a stressful time
in terms of social development and educational and work opportunities. A number of
mental illnesses can cause psychosis, including schizophrenia, depression, autism,
bipolar disorder, and
Treatment depends on the condition causing the psychosis, and often includes antipsychotic
medications that reduce delusions and hallucinations and help improve thinking and
Keep in Mind
Many of the conditions that cause psychosis respond well to treatment with medications
and therapy. Correcting the underlying condition is typically effective at treating
the psychosis as well. Recognizing and treating the signs of psychosis early is the
best way to prevent complications.
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