Psychosis

Definition of Psychosis

Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality, usually including false beliefs about what is taking place or who one is (delusions) and seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations).

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

A number of substances and medical conditions can cause psychosis, including:

Symptoms

Psychotic symptoms may include:

Signs and tests

Psychiatric evaluation and testing are used to diagnose the cause of the psychosis.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the cause of the psychosis. Care in a hospital is often needed to ensure the patient’s safety.

Expectations (prognosis)

How well a person does depends on the cause of the psychosis. If the cause can be corrected, the outlook is often good, and treatment with antipsychotic medication may be brief.

Review

David B. Merrill, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 2/7/2010

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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