Medical problems that can cause psychosis include:
Psychosis may also be found in:
Psychosis occurs when a person loses contact with reality. The person may:
Psychiatric evaluation and testing are used to diagnose the cause of the psychosis.
Laboratory testing and brain scans may not be needed, but sometimes can help pinpoint the diagnosis. Tests may include:
How well a person does depends on the cause of the psychosis. If the cause can be corrected, the outlook is often good. In this case, treatment with antipsychotic medicine may be brief.
Some chronic conditions, such as schizophrenia, may need lifelong treatment with antipsychotic drugs to control symptoms.
Psychosis can prevent people from functioning normally and caring for themselves. Left untreated, people can sometimes harm themselves or others.
Prevention depends on the cause. For example, avoiding alcohol prevents psychosis caused by alcohol use.
A person with psychosis may have any of the following:
Treatment depends on the cause of the psychosis. Care in a hospital is often needed to ensure the person's safety.
Antipsychotic drugs, which reduce hallucinations and delusions and improve thinking and behavior, are helpful.
Call your health care provider or mental health professional if you or a member of your family is losing contact with reality. If there is any concern about safety, take the person to the emergency room to be seen by a doctor.
American Psychiatric Association. Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders. In: American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. 2013:87-122.
Freudenriech O, Brown HE, Holt DJ. Psychosis and schizophrenia. In: Stern TA, Fava M, Wilens TE, Rosenbaum JF, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 28.
Review Date: 3/26/2018
Reviewed By: Fred K. Berger, MD, addiction and forensic psychiatrist, Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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