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What is Psychosis? – Symptoms, treatment, risk factors

Psychosis or psychosis is a type of severe mental condition in which there is a huge gap between a person’s thinking and reality. It is a symptom of a serious mental disorder. People who have psychosis start feeling either delusions or hallucinations. A hallucination is the experience of a mental construct that is not actually present. For example, someone with hearing hallucinations may hear their mother screaming when her mother is not around. In addition, a person with visual hallucinations may see a person standing in front of them when no one is actually standing in front of them.

People with psychosis may also have thoughts that are different from the actual evidence (or object). These thoughts are called delusions or delusional diseases. Some people with psychosis feel a lack of motivation in themselves and tend to distance themselves from society.

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The experience of psychosis can be quite intimidating. People with psychosis often have thoughts of hurting or harming themselves or others. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms associated with psychosis, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Types of Psychosis

Some types of psychosis occur in certain circumstances, including:

Brief psychotic disorder:

A brief psychotic disorder is also sometimes called brief reactive psychosis. This can often be due to some serious personal stress, such as the death of a family member. People with brief reactive psychosis often recover within a few days to a few weeks. The time it takes for them to recover depends on the source of their stress.

Also check out: Schizophrenia Symptoms- Positive and Negative.

Psychosis related to drugs or alcohol etc.:

Using other drugs such as alcohol or cocaine can also lead to psychosis. Taking hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) can cause people to see things in front of their eyes that are not actually there. But the effect of these drugs is short-lived. Some prescription drugs such as steroids and stimulants can also cause some of the symptoms of psychosis. People who regularly use alcohol or any other drug may experience some symptoms of psychosis if they stop taking them

Organic psychosis:

Injuries to the head or any type of disease or infection affecting the brain can also cause psychosis.

Symptoms of Psychosis

There are mainly two symptoms felt in psychosis:

In this, the patient makes a concept or idea firmly inside his mind, and even after repeatedly showing reality or telling the truth, he does not remove his idea from the mind. There are Delusions of paranoia, Grandiose delusions, and Somatic delusions.
People who have delusions of insanity often feel as if someone is following them when in reality there is no one behind them at the time. Apart from this, they may also feel as if some secret messages are being sent to them. People with grandiose delusions have a heightened sense of importance. People who have physiological delusions often feel as if they are suffering from a serious illness when in reality they are healthy.

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It is an experience of the mind which is not real. Like hearing a song or feel like smelling something when in reality nothing is happening. In this, people see unreal things like seeing a person when no one is actually there or hearing the voices of people speaking even when they are alone.

Some other symptoms and signs like:

  • difficulty concentrating
  • Depressive mood
  • Sleeping too long or not getting enough sleep
  • Worry
  • habit of doubting frequently (suspicion)
  • distance from family or friends
  • changing the subject while speaking (speaking in a disorderly manner)
  • depression
  • suicidal thoughts or attempts to commit suicide

When should you see a doctor?

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, go to the doctor as soon as possible. It is very important to get psychosis treated as soon as possible, because the sooner it is treated, the more effective the treatment. The doctor may also ask you some questions to find out the cause of psychosis. Your doctor may also refer you to mental health specialists for further investigation and treatment.

Causes and Risk Factors of Psychosis

Each case of psychosis can be different, so it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. There are also some diseases that can cause psychosis. However, substance abuse, not getting enough sleep, and other environmental factors are also some of the factors that can lead to psychosis. There are also certain conditions that can lead to the development of certain types of psychosis.

Some types of diseases that can cause psychosis are:

  • Neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and chromosomal disorders (chromosomal disorders)
  • tumor or cyst in the brain

Some types of dementia can also develop psychosis, which is caused by:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • HIV AIDS, Syphilis
  • certain types of epileptic seizures
  • stroke

Risk factors

It is not yet possible to accurately identify people who are more likely to develop psychosis. However, studies have found that certain genetic factors may play a role in developing psychosis. The chances of developing psychosis are increased in people who have a close family member who has the disorder, such as a parent or sibling who has psychosis.


Psychosis is tested by psychological evaluation. During this test, the doctor will observe the patient’s behavior and ask some questions about how the patient is feeling. Apart from this, X-rays and other medical tests may be done to find out if the symptoms are not being caused by any underlying disease.

Testing for psychosis in children and adolescents:

Adults with psychosis have many symptoms that children or adolescents with psychosis do not have. For example, children with psychosis often have an imaginary friend with whom they talk; this imaginary play is completely normal for children.

If you are concerned about your children and teens having psychosis, then inform the doctor about their behavior thoroughly.


Medicines and therapy can be used together to treat psychosis. With the help of treatment, most people with psychosis begin to improve.

Rapid tranquilization:

Sometimes people with psychosis become agitated suddenly, which increases the risk of them injuring themselves or others. In such cases, it is necessary to pacify them as soon as possible. This process is called rapid tranquilization. During this procedure, when the patient is agitated, the doctor gives the patient a quick-acting injection, which causes the patient to calm down immediately.


The drugs used to control the symptoms of psychosis are called antipsychotics. These drugs reduce delusions and hallucinations and help patients think more clearly. Doctors prescribe the appropriate type of antipsychotics medication based on the patient’s symptoms.

In many cases, people with psychosis need to take antipsychotics for a short time to keep their symptoms under control. People with schizophrenia may need to take these medicines for the rest of their lives. (Read more – What is shock therapy)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

In this therapy, the patient is called regularly to talk with a mental health counsellor, the main goal of talking with the patient is to change the patient’s thinking and behavior. This therapy has been shown to be effective in permanently changing the way people think and helping them manage their disease better. This therapy also often helps to improve symptoms of psychosis for which medications have not worked well enough.

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