Psychosis describes a condition where the person loses touch with reality and is unable to differentiate between what is real and what is imaginary. He may see, hear or believe things that are not real. Approximately 3 in 100 people will experience an episode of psychosis in their lives. Young adults are at increased risk, but psychosis can happen at any stage of life.
Psychosis is not an illness in itself, but a symptom which can be part of a physical or mental illness.
Symptoms can include unusual behaviour, speech or beliefs.
The person may behave differently from how they usually act or they may do things that are irrational. This can be a result of psychotic beliefs or due to confused thinking.
Unusual beliefs involve 2 main categories:
There is little evidence on any intervention that can prevent psychosis. As substances like alcohol or drugs can cause psychosis, avoiding these substances can reduce the risk of developing psychosis. It is important to detect psychosis early and investigate the causes.
It can be caused by substances like alcohol or drugs, some medications, physical or mental illness.
Physical conditions like metabolic derangements, brain tumors, epilepsy, stroke or neurological infections can cause psychosis. Psychosis can also be a symptom of mental illnesses like schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder.
Psychiatric evaluation is used to diagnose the cause of psychosis. Laboratory tests may be carried out to rule out physical illnesses that may be causing psychosis. This may include blood tests or brain imaging.
Treatment for psychosis depends on the cause. If it is due to a medical condition, then that condition will be treated accordingly. If it is due to a psychiatric condition, a combination of medication and therapy may be employed to treat the psychosis.