Psychosis is an abnormal condition of the mind that results in difficulties determining what is real and what is not. Symptoms may include false beliefs (delusions) and seeing or hearing things that others do not see or hear (hallucinations). Other symptoms may include incoherent speech and behavior that is inappropriate for the situation. There may also be sleep problems, social withdrawal, lack of motivation, and difficulties carrying out daily activities.
Psychosis has many different causes. These include mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, sleep deprivation, some medical conditions, certain medications, and drugs such as alcohol or cannabis. One type, known as postpartum psychosis, can occur after giving birth. The neurotransmitter dopamine is believed to play a role. Acute psychosis is considered primary if it results from a psychiatric condition and secondary if it is caused by a medical condition. The diagnosis of a mental illness requires excluding other potential causes. Testing may be done to check for central nervous system diseases, toxins, or other health problems as a cause.
Treatment may include antipsychotic medication, counselling, and social support. Early treatment appears to improve outcomes. Medications appear to have a moderate effect. Outcomes depend on the underlying cause. In the United States about 3% of people develop psychosis at some point in their lives. The condition has been described since at least the 4th century BC by Hippocrates and possibly as early as 1500 BC in the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus.