.Psychosis involves one or both of the following:
Psychosis is not a mental health diagnosis, but rather a set of symptoms that accompany a diagnosis. Schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, and brief psychotic disorder are three diagnoses distinguished only by the duration of time symptoms have been present. They each include either hallucinations or delusions, may include disorganized speech and/or behavior, and may include what's called "negative symptoms" which manifest as lack of emotional or behavioral expression. Negative symptoms include decreased interest in activities, decreased speech, decreased social interaction, or decreased ability to experience pleasure. Schizoaffective disorder involves the symptoms of schizophrenia listed above, with an accompanying mood disruption like depression or mania. Delusional disorder involves delusional thinking without the symptoms listed above that indicate schizophrenia-related disorder. Depression and bipolar disorder in their most severe forms can include psychosis as well.
Psychosis can be induced by substance use, and usually pass once intoxication passes. Most notably, methamphetamine, hallucinogens (particularly synthetics like K-2), and stimulants like cocaine can induce symptoms that look like psychosis. Acute alcohol withdrawal can also produce psychotic-like symptoms, and should be treated immediately.
Some medical conditions may also induce psychosis. The most notable conditions in which this may occur are endocrine and metabolic disorders, autoimmune disorders like lupus, and temporal lobe epilepsy.
Stay tuned for another post on treatments available for disorders that include psychosis. In the meantime, here is a helpful page from the National Institute of Mental Health on schizophrenia.
Kambria Kennedy-Dominguez, Counselor and yoga teacher specializing in mental health, substance abuse and wellness.