What is Psychosis? Definition of psychosis
The word "psychosis" is used to describe conditions that affect the mind, in which there has been some loss of contact with reality.
- Psychosis has many causes and is associated with a number of psychiatric and medical conditions.
- Hallucinations, delusions (false beliefs), paranoia, and disorganized thoughts and speech are symptoms of psychosis. Hallucinations and delusions can seem so real that often the person does not realize that they are experiencing psychosis.
- Psychosis also affects feelings and behaviour.
- When very mild and temporary, experiences such as hearing voices, holding unusual beliefs etc. are components of ordinary human experience and, when more severe and distressing, are associated with several distinct mental and physical disorders.
- The manner in which psychosis is manifested varies widely, such that two individuals experiencing psychosis may have very different symptoms.
The terms "early psychosis" or "first episode psychosis" mean that an individual is experiencing psychosis for the first time.
Psychotic episodes are periods of time when symptoms of psychosis are strong and interfere with daily life. Although the lengths of these episodes vary from person to person and may only last a few hours or days, psychosis is most likely to continue for weeks, months or even years unless the person receives proper treatment.