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Also called: psychotic disorder

A mental disorder characterized by a disconnection from reality.


More than 200,000 US cases per year

  • Treatable by a medical professional
  • Requires a medical diagnosis
  • Lab tests or imaging not required

Psychosis may occur as a result of a psychiatric illness like schizophrenia. In other instances, it may be caused by a health condition, medications, or drug use.

Possible symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, talking incoherently, and agitation. The person with the condition usually isn’t aware of his or her behavior.

Treatment may include medication and talk therapy.

Ages affected


Requires a medical diagnosis

Possible symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, talking incoherently, and agitation. The person with the condition usually isn’t aware of his or her behavior.

People may experience:

Behavioral: disorganized behavior, aggression, agitation, hostility, hyperactivity, hypervigilance, nonsense word repetition, repetitive movements, restlessness, self-harm, social isolation, lack of restraint, or persistent repetition of words or actions
Cognitive: thought disorder, confusion, belief that an ordinary event has special and personal meaning, belief that thoughts aren’t one’s own, disorientation, memory loss, racing thoughts, slowness in activity, thoughts of suicide, unwanted thoughts, or difficulty thinking and understanding
Mood: anger, anxiety, apathy, excitement, feeling detached from self, general discontent, limited range of emotions, or loneliness
Psychological: fear, hearing voices, depression, manic episode, paranoia, persecutory delusion, religious delusion, or visual hallucinations
Speech: deficiency of speech, excessive wordiness, incoherent speech, or rapid and frenzied speaking
Also common: false belief of superiority, nervousness, nightmares, or tactile hallucination


Treatment consists of antipsychotics

Treatment may include medication and talk therapy.

Supportive care

Hospitalization: A higher level of care whereby patients are closely monitored and may be given medications that would not be available at home.


Antipsychotic: Reduces or improves the symptoms of certain psychiatric conditions.

  • Trifluoperazine
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Haloperidol (Haldol Decanoate)
  • Fluphenazine
  • Risperidone (Risperdal, Risperdal Consla, and Risperdal M-TAB)
  • Quetiapine (Seroquel and Seroquel XR)
  • Ziprasidone
  • Olanzapine (Zyprexa, Zyprexa Relprevv, and Zyprexa Zydis)
  • Perphenazine
  • Aripiprazole (Ability, Ability Maintena, and Aristada)
  • Clozapine (Clozaril, FazaClo, and Versacloz)


Cognitive behavioral therapy: A talk therapy focused on modifying negative thoughts, behaviors, and emotional responses associated with psychological distress.
Psychoeducation: Education about mental health that also serves to support, validate, and empower patients.
Family therapy: Psychological counseling that helps families resolve conflicts and communicate more effectively.


Clinical psychologist: Treats mental disorders primarily with talk therapy.
Neurologist: Treats nervous system disorders.
Psychiatrist: Treats mental disorders primarily with medications.
Emergency medicine doctor: Treats patients in the emergency department.

Critical: consult a doctor for medical advice
Note: The information you see describes what usually happens with a medical condition, but doesn’t apply to everyone. This information isn’t medical advice, so make sure to contact a healthcare provider if you have a medical problem. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or a emergency number immediately.

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