Different Types and Causes of Psychosis

Main Causes and Types of Psychosis

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis is an umbrella term; it means that an individual has sensory experiences of things that do not exist and/or beliefs with no basis in reality. During a psychotic episode, an individual may experience hallucinations and/or delusions. They may see or hear things that do not exist.

Types and causes of psychosis
Fig: Types and causes of psychosis

This can be incredibly frightening for the individual and, sometimes, the symptoms can cause them to lash out and hurt themselves or others. Psychosis is classically associated with schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and, although there are other symptoms, one of the defining criteria for schizophrenia is the presence of psychosis.

Different Types of Psychosis:

A number of disorders can display psychotic Symptoms, including:

1. Schizophrenia:

A serious mental health disorder affecting the way someone feels, thinks, and acts. Individuals find it difficult t to distinguish between what is real and what is imaginary.

2. Schizoaffective disorder:

A condition similar to schizophrenia that includes periods of mood disturbances.

3. Brief psychotic disorder –

Psychotic symptoms last at least 1 day but no longer than 1 month. Often occurring in response to a stressful life event. Once symptoms have gone, they may never return.

4. Delusional disorder:

The individual has a strong belief in something irrational and often bizarre with no factual basis. Symptoms last for I month or longer.

5. Bipolar psychosis:

Individuals have the symptoms of bipolar disorder (intense highs and lows in mood) and also experience episodes of psychosis. The psychosis more commonly occurs during manic phases.

6. Psychotic depression:

It also known as major depressive disorder with psychotic features.

7. Postpartum (also called postnatal) psychosis – a severe form of postnatal depression.

8. Substance-induced psychosis:

 Including alcohol, certain illegal drugs, and some prescription drugs, including steroids and stimulants.

Main Causes of Psychosis:

These are the primary causes of psychotic symptoms, but psychosis can also be secondary to other disorders and diseases, including:

  • Brain tumor or cyst,
  • Dementia – Alzheimer’s disease, for example,
  • Neurological illness – such as Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease,
  • HIV and other infections that can affect the brain,
  • Some types of epilepsy,
  • Stroke.

The exact causes of psychosis are not well understood but might involve:


Research shows that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may share a common genetic cause.

Brain changes:

Alterations in brain structure and changes in certain chemicals are found in people who have psychosis. Brain scans have revealed reduced gray matter in the brains of some individuals who have a history of psychosis, which may explain effects on thought processing.


Postpartum psychosis occurs very soon after giving birth (normally within 2 weeks). The exact causes are not known, but some researchers believe it might be due to changes in hormone levels and disrupted sleep patterns.

More questions related to this article:

  1. What do you mean by psychosis?
  2. Write down the different types of psychosis.
  3. Mention the classification of psychosis.
  4. Describe the signs and symptoms of psychosis.
  5. What are the sign and symptoms of psychosis?
  6. Write down the diagnosis of psychosis.
  7. What are the causes of psychosis?

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