MAIN MENU
QUICK LINKS
CONNECT WITH US

Button
Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates, visitor restrictions and resources →
Now offering telemedicine through our Virtual Visit online program for primary care and specialty care visits → Virtual Visit appointments are available for new and existing UF Health patients. Check the FAQ section and Request an Appointment section below for more information.

Call (904) 383-1052 to make an appointment or call your physician’s office if you have questions specific to your health needs.

Psychosis

  • Definition
    • Psychosis occurs when a person loses contact with reality. The person may:

      • Have false beliefs about what is taking place, or who one is (delusions)
      • See or hear things that are not there (hallucinations)
  • Causes
    • Medical problems that can cause psychosis include:

      Psychosis may also be found in:

  • Symptoms
    • A person with psychosis may have any of the following:

      • Disorganized thought and speech
      • False beliefs that are not based in reality (delusions), especially unfounded fear or suspicion
      • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)
      • Thoughts that "jump" between unrelated topics (disordered thinking)
  • Exams and Tests
    • Psychiatric evaluation and testing are used to diagnose the cause of the psychosis.

      Laboratory testing and brain scans may not be needed, but sometimes can help pinpoint the diagnosis. Tests may include:

  • Treatment
    • Treatment depends on the cause of the psychosis. Care in a hospital is often needed to ensure the person's safety.

      Antipsychotic drugs, which reduce hallucinations and delusions and improve thinking and behavior, are helpful.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)
    • How well a person does depends on the cause of the psychosis. If the cause can be corrected, the outlook is often good. In this case, treatment with antipsychotic medicine may be brief.

      Some chronic conditions, such as schizophrenia, may need lifelong treatment with antipsychotic drugs to control symptoms.

  • Possible Complications
    • Psychosis can prevent people from functioning normally and caring for themselves. Left untreated, people can sometimes harm themselves or others.

  • When to Contact a Medical Professional
    • Call your health care provider or mental health professional if you or a member of your family is losing contact with reality. If there is any concern about safety, take the person to the emergency room to be seen by a doctor.

  • Prevention
    • Prevention depends on the cause. For example, avoiding alcohol prevents psychosis caused by alcohol use.

  • References
    • American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. 2013.

      Freudenriech O, Brown HE, Holt DJ. Psychosis and schizophrenia. In: Stern TA, Fava M, Wilens TE, Rosenbaum JF, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 28.