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What Is a Deep Psychosis?

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  • Written By: Synthia L. Rose
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2016
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Deep psychosis is a heightened state of psychosis during which a person so completely detaches from reality that abstract thinking, planning, and socializing with real people are completely replaced with hallucinations and delusion. The standard form of psychosis skews one’s ability to realistically perceive self, events, and other beings, but generally, sufferers can partially function and engage in limited social interaction with varying degrees of detachment and illusion. The difference is that with deep psychosis, the sufferer shifts to the most severe level of detachment where no normal functioning and reasoning are possible.

This state can be temporary or long-term. It is often one of the conditions meant by the phrase “temporary insanity.” Often triggered by sights, sounds, smells, or other associations to past traumatic events, this type of psychosis can also be a response to new and unpleasant stimuli or stress that seems inescapable through any other means.

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Patients at the crisis level of deep psychosis, also known as acute psychosis, often feel complete isolation and are frequently unable to communicate with their therapists. Therapists generally mimic patients’ speech and actions to create some form of contact. This mimicry can create a pathway for the patient to return to the normal world; most patients find reentry into normality difficult after an episode, because they are compelled to integrate the imagined world into their real-world surroundings, but do not know how. Reentry often involves confrontation, which can turn violent. Medical professionals typically use pharmaceuticals and physical restraints to tranquilize violent behavior of a person leaving or continuing in the phase of acute psychosis.

Mood disorders like depression and bipolarity are frequent precursors to deep psychosis; so are mental disorders such as schizophrenia, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease. These exacerbating conditions are so closely linked because the condition typically requires weeks or months to develop, and these conditions allow a person to incubate mental stress for long periods of time. After climbing to an isolated, completely detached state, a person in acute psychosis may commit acts that the normal world views as criminal or indecent, while they view them as redeeming and even heroic.

To prevent deep psychosis, sufferers of manic depression and schizophrenia often take anti-psychotic drugs. Doctors report that most episodes of the condition are linked to lapses in drug therapy where a patient refuses or forgets to take medications. While drugs can enable a person with mental disorders to integrate and live in mainstream society, the state of deep psychosis renders a person a danger to himself and society and generally leads to temporary or permanent commitment to a psychiatric evaluation and treatment center.

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