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What exactly is a psychosis?

A psychosis is a condition that can be mental or caused by the use of certain substances. People with a predisposition to this condition have a greater chance of developing psychosis. Environmental factors can also play a role. For example, a (childhood) trauma can cause you to be extra irritable in everyday life. As a result, the person in question may develop depression and this can eventually even lead to psychosis. Patients may also have problems making social contacts as a result of this condition. In addition, delusions can arise.


  • What is a psychosis?
  • What exactly happens when someone develops a psychosis?
  • What can cause psychosis?
  • How can I recognize a psychosis?
  • How can one reduce the risk of developing this condition?


What is a psychosis?

A psychosis is a psychological condition in which the person’s senses receive signals that are not there. As a result, someone with psychosis may become suspicious or suffer from delusions of grandeur. This can cause the patient to pose a problem to himself or the outside world. It is therefore very important that this condition is properly treated to reduce the risk of developing psychosis.

Psychoses are a well-known phenomenon

Psychosis is a well-known phenomenon that can have various causes. This condition can be caused by stress, among other things. Hearing voices while falling asleep can in some cases also indicate a psychosis. These hallucinations can pose a threat to the health of the person concerned.

What exactly happens when someone develops a psychosis?

A psychosis occurs when a ‘disruption’ occurs in the brain. This means that the signals in the brain are misunderstood. The brain can be seen as a highway where information is transferred through different paths. The signals are transmitted through ‘synapses’ to the neurons (nerve cells) located in the brain. When these signals are conveyed incorrectly, it can produce unexpected results.

What can cause psychosis?

Not every person is equally sensitive to this condition. The chance of developing psychosis is very dependent on whether the person has a genetic predisposition for this and environmental factors. This may include, for example, childhood trauma and emigrating to an unknown environment. This means that someone has to process a large amount of stimuli within a short period of time. Alcohol and drink abuse can also cause psychosis. People are advised not to use alcohol if they have previously come into contact with this condition. This increases the chance that the disorder will return. Strong medications can sometimes also cause psychosis. This happens more often with an overdose, causing unexpected side effects.

The cause of psychosis is unique for each person

A psychosis can be caused by depression and/or mania. We call this a ‘psychotic depression’. In some cases it is referred to as ‘schizophrenia’. When women develop psychosis after their child is born, it is called ‘post-partum psychosis’. This condition often occurs in combination with depression/mania.

How can I recognize a psychosis?

Psychoses can be recognized by a combination of different experiences. These symptoms can be categorized into two different topics, namely ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ symptoms.

Positive symptoms

Positive symptoms are symptoms that are additional to someone’s experience. This was not a problem before. In this case, these are usually delusions and hallucinations. These can express themselves by experiencing observations that are incorrect. These experiences may be related to incorrect tasting, hearing and seeing things. This can cause the person in question to appear confused to the outside world.

Negative symptoms

Negative symptoms can be noticed when certain ‘normal’ behavior no longer occurs. This can be noticed, for example, when a person takes less initiative. The person in question may also feel absent and tired. People who undergo psychosis also have less need to maintain social contacts. They prefer to be alone. It is possible that someone with psychosis has difficulty getting in touch with his or her feelings. This creates an absence of emotions.

Symptoms that can be noticed in advance

There are a number of symptoms that can occur before someone actually experiences psychosis. The person may experience sleeping problems and start talking to themselves.

How can one reduce the risk of developing this condition?

It is very important to get enough sleep. During this night’s rest, the body ensures that the person in question is mentally and physically ‘recharged’ again. A regular sleeping pattern ensures that you have enough energy the next day. During sleep, memories and thoughts are reordered. These memories are then transferred to long-term memory. In addition, psychoses can be prevented by avoiding alcohol and drugs.

Medication use

People who have previously had a psychosis sometimes use antipsychotics. These are strong medications that try to prevent a recurrence of this condition. However, several side effects can occur due to the strength of the medications. Most patients who experience side effects from this suffer from motor skills.

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