In the general sense, a mental illness that markedly interferes with a person's capacity to meet life's everyday demands. In a specific sense, it refers to a thought disorder in which reality testing is grossly impaired. Symptoms can include seeing, hearing, smelling, or tasting things that are not there; paranoia; and delusional thoughts. Depending on the condition underlying the psychotic symptoms, symptoms may be constant or they may come and go. Psychosis can occur as a result of brain injury or disease, and is seen particularly in schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. Psychotic symptoms can occur as a result of drug use, but this is not true psychosis. Diagnosis is by observation and interview. Treatment is with neuroleptic medication, either the newer, safer, atypical neuroleptics like risperidone (brand name: Risperdal) or the older neuroleptics like haloperidol (brand name: Haldol.) In cases that do not respond to medication, electroshock therapy (ECT) is sometimes valuable.
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1. A mental and behavioral disorder causing gross distortion or disorganization of a person's mental capacity, affective response, and capacity to recognize reality, communicate, and relate to others to the degree of interfering with the person's capacity to cope with the ordinary demands of everyday life. The psychoses are divided into two major classifications according to their origins: 1) those associated with organic brain syndromes ( e.g., Korsakoff syndrome); 2) those less clearly organic and having some functional component(s) ( e.g., the schizophrenias, bipolar disorder). 2. Generic term for any of the so-called insanities, the most common forms being the schizophrenias. 3. A severe emotional and behavioral disorder. SYN: psychotic disorder. [G. an animating]
- affective p. p. with predominant affective features. SYN: manic p..
- alcoholic psychoses mental disorders that result from alcoholism and that involve organic brain damage, as in delirium tremens and Korsakoff syndrome.
- bipolar p. a mental disorder characterized by one or more episodes of mania (manic depression) which is usually accompanied by one or more episodes of depression (major depressive episode). See endogenous depression, manic-depressive.
- Cheyne-Stokes p. a mental state characterized by anxiety and restlessness, accompanying Cheyne-Stokes respiration.
- depressive p. a major disorder of mood in which biologic factors are believed to play a prominent role. See depression.
- drug p. p. following or precipitated by ingestion of a drug, e.g., LSD.
- febrile p. SYN: infection-exhaustion p..
- functional p. an obsolete term once used to denote schizophrenia and other severe mental disorders before modern science discovered a biological component to some aspects of each of the disorders.
- hysterical p. 1. a psychotic disturbance with predominantly hysterical symptoms; 2. a mental disorder resembling conversion hysteria but of psychotic severity; 3. a brief reactive p., often culture bound.
- ICU p. psychotic episode(s), classically occurring in coronary care patients, occurring within 24 hours after entering the ICU in individuals with no previous history of p.; related to sleep deprivation, overstimulation in the ICU, and time spent on life support systems, and should be distinguished from exacerbation of a pre-existing p. or an organic p. such as delirium.
- infection-exhaustion p. an obsolete term for a p. following an acute infection, shock, or chronic intoxication; begins as delirium followed by pronounced mental confusion with hallucinations and unsystematized delusions, and sometimes stupor. SYN: febrile p..
- Korsakoff p. SYN: Korsakoff syndrome.
- manic p. SYN: affective p.. See bipolar disorder, manic-depressive disorder, endogenous depression.
- manic-depressive p. SYN: bipolar disorder.
- posthypnotic p. p. following or precipitated by hypnosis.
- postinfectious p. psychotic disturbance dementia following acute febrile disease such as pneumonia or typhoid fever.
- postpartum p. an acute mental disorder with depression in the mother following childbirth. SYN: puerperal p..
- posttraumatic p. p. following trauma, especially to the head. Cf.:traumatic p..
- pseudo p. a condition resembling p.; may be a factitious or malingering disorder.
- puerperal p. SYN: postpartum p..
- schizo- affective p. psychotic disturbance in which there is a mixture of schizophrenic and manic-depressive symptoms.
- senile p. mental disturbance occurring in old age and related to degenerative cerebral processes.
- situational p. a transitory but severe emotional disorder caused in a predisposed person by a seemingly unbearable situation.
- toxic p. a p. caused by some toxic substance, whether endogenous or exogenous.
- traumatic p. a p. resulting from physical injury or emotional shock. Cf.:posttraumatic p..
- Windigo p., Wittigo p. severe anxiety neurosis with special reference to food, manifested in melancholia, violence, and obsessive cannibalism, occurring among Canadian Indians.

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psy·cho·sis sī-'kō-səs n, pl -cho·ses -.sēz a serious mental disorder (as schizophrenia) characterized by defective or lost contact with reality often with hallucinations or delusions

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one of a group of mental disorders that feature loss of contact with reality. The psychoses include schizophrenia, major disorders of affect (see manic-depressive psychosis), major paranoid states, and organic mental disorders. Psychotic disorders manifest some of the following: delusion, hallucination, severe thought disturbances, abnormal alteration of mood, poverty of thought, and grossly abnormal behaviour. Many cases of psychotic illness respond well to antipsychotic drugs in that these drugs, while they are being taken, often induce a state of docility, acquiescence, apparent mental normality, and conformity with social norms.
psychotic adj.

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psy·cho·sis (si-koґsis) pl. psychoґses [psych- + -osis] 1. a mental disorder characterized by gross impairment in reality testing as evidenced by delusions, hallucinations, markedly incoherent speech, or disorganized and agitated behavior, usually without apparent awareness on the part of the patient of the incomprehensibility of this behavior; called psychotic disorder in DSM-IV. 2. the term is also used in a more general sense to refer to mental disorders in which mental functioning is so impaired that it interferes grossly with the patient's capacity to meet the ordinary demands of life. Historically, the term has been applied to many conditions, e.g., manic-depressive psychosis, that were first described in psychotic patients, although many patients with the disorder are not judged psychotic.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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