Psychosis is a condition of the mind where the affected individual has difficulty interpreting what is reality and what is not. There are many causes of psychosis such as mental illness, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, sleep deprivation, medical conditions, delirium, and side effects of certain medications or substances such as alcohol or recreational drug use.
Experts believe that the neurotransmitter dopamine plays a role in psychosis. The diagnosis of psychosis requires the exclusion of biological causes such as brain tumors, central nervous system diseases, toxins, substance abuse, or other health issues. Treatment of psychosis depends on the underlying medical issue and usually includes counseling, social support, and antipsychotic medication. Prognosis of psychosis improves with early treatment and depends on the underlying cause of psychosis.
While the experience of psychosis for every individual is different, most patients describe it as confusing and frightening. it should be known that psychosis is a symptom and not an illness. In the United States alone, it affects about 100,000 young people annually and as many as 3 in every 100 individuals will experience an episode of psychosis at some point in their lives.
Symptom #1: Delusions
A delusion is a term that refers to a mistaken belief of an individual where the belief is held with a strong conviction despite when superior evidence is presented to contradict the belief. It is a pathological condition that should be distinct from belief-based information such as confabulation, illusion, or misleading perception.
There are many contexts of pathological states that are considered to be of diagnostic importance that includes schizophrenia, paraphrenia (a mental disorder where there is an organized system of paranoid delusions), bipolar disorder, and psychotic depression. There are three main criteria that are characteristic of a delusion: certainty, incorrigibility (the belief cannot be reasoned with despite compelling argument or proof to the contrary), and falsity of content (the belief is implausible or bizarre).