What Are the Symptoms of Psychosis?

Symptoms of psychosis may include auditory and visual hallucinations.
The symptoms of psychosis should only be interpreted by trained medical professionals.
Psychosis causes discomforts such as delusional thoughts and paranoia.
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  • Written By: Brad Cole
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2014
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Psychosis is a term often thrown around on TV and in print that generates a lot of attention. Fictional detectives on a television show might be trying to figure out the next move of a killer suffering from some strange psychosis; a popular teen magazine could have a test in it to see if a person’s boyfriend is too crazy to date because he has symptoms of psychosis. In the modern psychiatric community, however, the term psychosis no longer has much importance. This is because the word psychosis is no longer considered by many to be a clinical term, and has been replaced by other, more useful, words.

When people refer to the symptoms of psychosis, they are usually referring to the signs and symptoms of a psychotic disorder. Numerous psychotic disorders share symptoms, simply called psychotic symptoms. Though psychotic symptoms may initially appear the same, they can have very different causes.


What, exactly, are these symptoms of psychosis, which we can now correctly refer to as psychotic symptoms? Someone who is psychotic may be experiencing hallucinations, sensory experiences that only exist in the mind. The person may be under very specific delusions, false beliefs brought on by mental or physical illnesses. The speech patterns and behavior of someone suffering from a psychotic disorder can be disorganized. Disorganized speech and behavior can be signs of distorted thought processes. The person may even be exhibiting catatonia, which is a stupor that can also manifest with extreme muscle rigidity or flexibility.

The exact psychotic disorder a person has is usually determined by a medical professional using a book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and is the standard text consulted by Western psychiatrists and psychologists. The current version of the DSM contains diagnostic criteria for most widely accepted mental disorders, including those considered to be psychotic disorders.

The symptoms of psychosis should only be interpreted by trained medical professionals. These medical professionals include medical doctors, psychiatrists, and psychologists. If you suspect that someone may be psychotic, you should contact help immediately – attempting to treat them yourself can be dangerous, and may even be illegal.


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Post 3

@Latte31: As a person who lives with this, I can only say that preconceived notions about people like me are the bane of my existence.

I find that it's more of the environment than the person dealing with this challenge that determines the outcome. My family, for instance, has moved to a rural area, so I don't have to deal with the cacophony of having too many people around me at any given time, and it does help. We strive to live a simple life, with as few complications as possible. This has also helped the family in general, as we have had the time and energy to develop better relationships with our kids. Being removed from the 'average' lifestyle, or 'dropping out' as the hippies used to say, has had many unexpected blessings for which we are truly grateful.

While individual cases vary, I would say that the assumptions you present about isolation and unpredictability, again, relate more to environment than the people themselves. Lots of folks are "unpredictable and can develop anger with not much prodding." Haven't you read the news over the last few decades or so? I see this having more to do with the level of stress everyone deals with day to day in our 'modern' society, not any mental health challenges.

The ratio of horrific crimes committed by 'regular' people shows that the majority who murder spouses, children, random strangers, etc., are not mentally impaired (at least in the traditional/legal sense, although there is something vastly wrong with them to have been able to perpetrate said crimes, period).

You cannot deal with people as 'groups' rather than individuals or those 'preconceived notions' bite us all. Becoming 'educated' about something is much more than reading it in an article or a book, life has to be experienced to be understood.

My grandmother taught me to never judge a person till you've tried walking a mile in their shoes. Words to live by, if you want to live as a human being and not as a mindless robot.

Post 2

I know that there is a large controversy pertaining to the use of antipsychotic drugs for treating the symptoms of psychosis in children.

Some of these medications are not nearly as effective and may cause brain shrinkage and long term damage as well as the possible development of Tardive Skinesia which is a disorder that causes involuntary movements and twitches similar to Tourette’s Syndrome.

About 20 to 30% of children that are being treated for their psychosis symptoms suffer from this condition. Medications like Haldol have also been known to cause heart abnormalities in some patients.

Post 1

I just wanted to say that a I recently read that people diagnosed with psychosis have trouble doing the average day to day activities because their thoughts are so disorganized.

Other symptoms of the disease are that the psychotic person might appear disheveled and may lack personal hygiene.

Some of the negative symptoms of psychosis also include a lack of goal-setting expressions, limited coherent speech, and limited expression of feelings.

I also understand that these people tend to isolate themselves from others and can feel quite lonely at times. They also are unpredictable and can develop anger with not much prodding.

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