What is Psychosis?

Mental Health Matters

Introduction

Psychosis is an abnormal condition of the mind that results in difficulties determining what is real and what is not real. Symptoms may include delusions and hallucinations. Other symptoms may include incoherent speech and behaviour that is inappropriate for the situation. There may also be sleep problems, social withdrawal, lack of motivation, and difficulties carrying out daily activities. Psychosis can have serious outcomes.

Psychosis has many different causes. These include mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, sleep deprivation, some medical conditions, certain medications, and drugs such as alcohol or cannabis. One type, known as postpartum psychosis, can occur after giving birth. The neurotransmitter dopamine is believed to play a role. Acute psychosis is considered primary if it results from a psychiatric condition and secondary if it is caused by a medical condition. The diagnosis of a mental illness requires excluding other potential causes. Testing may be done…

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