Psychosis: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

A bad relationship with reality characterizes it.

The person who experiences psychosis may also have thoughts contrary to the actual evidence.

Psychosis is a symptom, not a disease. It results from a mental or physical illness, substance abuse, extreme stress, or trauma.


The classic signs and symptoms of psychosis are:

  • Hallucinations: hear, see or feel things that do not exist.
  • Delusions: false beliefs, primarily based on fear or suspicion of things that are not real.
  • Disorganization: in thought, speech or behavior.
  • Muddled thinking: jumping between unrelated topics, making strange connections between ideas.
  • Catatonia: lack of response.
  • Difficult to focus.

Depending on the cause, psychosis can appear quickly or slowly. The same is the schizophrenia case; although the symptoms may start gradually and start with a milder psychosis, some people may experience a rapid transition to psychosis if they stop taking their medications.

The mildest initial symptoms of psychosis may include:

Hallucinations can affect any senses in a person with psychosis. Still, in about two-thirds of patients with schizophrenia, hallucinations are auditory: hearing things and believing they are real when they do not exist.


What are delusions and hallucinations?

Delusions and hallucinations are two very different symptoms that people with psychosis often experience. Delusions and hallucinations seem natural to the person who is experiencing them.

Illusions: deception is a false belief or impression that remains firmly but contradicts reality and what is commonly considered accurate. There are delusions of paranoia, grandiose delusions, and somatic delusions.

People who experience a delirium of paranoia may think they are followed when they are not, or that secret messages are sent to them. Someone with a great deception will have a sense of exaggerated importance. Somatic delirium is when a person believes they have a terminal illness when, in fact, they are healthy.

Hallucinations: a hallucination is a sensory perception in the absence of external stimuli. That means seeing, hearing, feeling, or smelling something not present. A hallucinating person can see things that do not exist or listen to people talk when alone.


There are many. They include very little sleep, prescription drugs, and abuse of alcohol or drugs like marijuana and LSD.

Traumatic events, such as the death of a loved one or sexual assault, can lead to psychosis in people who are vulnerable to it. The same goes for traumatic brain injuries, brain tumors, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.

Some other factors influence, such as:

Genetics: Research shows that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may share a common genetic cause.

Brain changes: alterations are found in the brain’s structure and changes in certain chemicals in people who have psychosis.

Brain scans have revealed the reduction of gray matter in the brain of some people who have a history of psychosis, which may explain the effects on thought processing.

Hormones/sleep: Postpartum psychosis occurs very soon after giving birth. The exact causes are not known, but some researchers believe it could be due to changes in hormone levels and altered sleep patterns.

Risk factor’s

It is not possible to identify precisely who can develop psychosis. However, several studies have shown that genetics can be decisive.

The people most likely to develop a psychotic disorder are those who have a family member with a psychotic disorder.

Children born with the genetic mutation known as 22q11.2 deletion syndrome risk developing a psychotic disorder, especially schizophrenia.


Psychosis is diagnosed through a psychiatric evaluation. That means a doctor will observe the person’s behavior and ask questions about what they are experiencing.

Medical tests and x-rays can determine if an underlying disease causes the symptoms.

Diagnosis of psychosis in children and adolescents: many of the symptoms of psychosis in adults are not symptoms of psychosis in young people.

For example, young children often have imaginary friends with whom they speak. This only represents imaginative play, which is entirely normal for children.


The treatment of psychosis may involve a combination of medications and therapy. What your doctor recommends will depend on the cause of your psychosis. Medication and conversation therapy are standard solutions.

Your doctor will prescribe antipsychotic medications, pills, liquids, or injections to decrease your symptoms. He will also recommend that you stop using drugs and alcohol.

You may need to be treated at a hospital if you risk harming yourself or others or if you can not control your behavior or perform your daily activities.

It is essential to receive treatment early, after the first episode of psychosis. This will help prevent symptoms from affecting your relationships, work, or school. It can also help you avoid more problems in the future.


Counseling can also help control psychosis.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy: consists of meeting regularly to talk with a mental health counselor to change thinking and behavior

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you recognize when you have psychotic episodes. It also lets you know if what you see and hear is real or imaginary. This type of therapy also emphasizes the importance of antipsychotic medications and continuing with their treatment.

Supportive psychotherapy: this type of therapy helps you learn to live with psychosis. Reinforce healthy ways of thinking.

Cognitive improvement therapy: this therapy uses computer exercises and group work.

Psychoeducation and family support: involve their loved ones. It helps to join and improves how problems are solved together.