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What are Psychoses?

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  • Written By: R. Kayne
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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Psychosis is not a mental disease, but rather a group of symptoms or psychoses that are commonly associated with one or more mental disorders. Various psychoses can result from organic damage, drug and alcohol abuse, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. A patient may exhibit psychoses with multiple causes.

To understand the relationship of psychoses to mental disorders, it might be helpful to consider an analogy. Headache, chills, and fever are symptoms commonly associated with a flu virus. While a headache is not the flu, it points to this underlying problem when present with chills and fever. If the headache is present instead with a head injury, it is consistent with organic damage to the brain. Hence, the headache can only be diagnosed successfully when linked to its cause, and the symptom may point to varying illnesses requiring different remedies.

A person suffering from psychosis tends to adhere to a set of false beliefs arising from disordered thinking. Psychoses can include hallucinatory experiences that are processed and interpreted as real, as well as delusions that persist in the face of proof to the contrary. Psychoses go beyond eccentricities or personal belief systems that stray from normal subcultural differences.

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Psychoses common to organic brain disorders: Delirium or shock-like symptoms include frequent breaks in the attention, memory impairment, and incoherent speech. Persons suffering from delirium might also have a distorted sense of time and space, appearing demented.

Psychoses associated with alcohol and drug abuse: Use of certain drugs can result in temporary psychosis. This is true of hallucinatory or psychotropic drugs, and also of habitual use of “uppers” or stimulants. Methamphetamine, for example, commonly known as speed, will bring on psychotic symptoms with chronic use. Psychoses can include disordered thought, extreme anxiety, hallucinations, and paranoia. Some of these symptoms can be attributed to lack of sufficient sleep over extended periods. Chronic alcoholics also display psychosis when extremely intoxicated or when withdrawing from drinking.

Psychoses seen in bi-polar disorder: Formerly referred to as manic-depressive illness, bi-polar disorder is characterized by extreme mood shifts from very high (manic) to very low (depressive). In the manic state, a person displays unrealistic optimism, usually attributed to plans or goals that are not within the person’s capabilities or reach. Delusions of grandeur, a feeling of all-powerfulness, and a distinct lack of judgment causes someone displaying this type of psychosis to act inappropriately in public situations. He or she might make untoward sexual advances, dominate conversations, or drink or use drugs excessively. While in the throws of manic psychosis, the individual will require little sleep.

Psychoses associated with schizophrenia: Hallucinations and delusions are part of the array of psychoses seen in patients with schizophrenia. Most notably, audible hallucinations are reportedly characteristic. This mental disorder normally starts in childhood and is chronic, worsening over time. Another form of the disease starts later in life and is easier to treat. People suffering from schizophrenia have a difficult time processing information correctly. This results in the psychoses displayed in the personality.

Psychosis can be temporary or chronic depending on the cause. However, most mental disorders can be treated to relieve psychotic symptoms.

This article should not be used for diagnostic purposes and is intended as general information only. See a licensed professional for proper diagnosis and treatment of psychotic or mental disorders.

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Discuss this Article

arod2b42
Post 5

@Armas1313

Stalin actually trusted Hitler, a fellow psychotic. This was the one person he never ever should've trusted, and he paid for it dearly.

Armas1313
Post 4

@ShadowGenius

Stalin was a paranoid psychotic. How such a person got into power is beyond me to understand. He never trusted anyone, and hated even his own family.

ShadowGenius
Post 3

Paranoid psychoses tend to believe things about people and events that are not real at all. They can be completely random and catch people off guard. Paranoid psychoses will often picture loyal friends as plotting against you secretly.

Renegade
Post 2

Organic psychoses have a basis in the biological state of ones mind, rather than in strange thought patterns. Often, schizophrenia is a mixture of preconceived notions with chemicals, but sometimes it is a direct result of hormone imbalances or mind altering substances. These can destroy even the most solid of minds.

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