Definition of psychosis in English:



  • A severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality.

    ‘they were suffering from a psychosis’
    mass noun ‘the symptoms of psychosis’
    • ‘Most paranoid psychoses are chronic rather than episodic, but Schreber had an initial mental illness lasting from October 1884 to June 1885 from which he made a good recovery.’
    • ‘Head injury, even when associated with minimal trauma, can lead to affective psychoses and schizophrenia.’
    • ‘Anderson et al studied 24 patients with acute psychoses who met RDC criteria for schizophrenia or mania.’
    • ‘Celebrities, too, are prone to ‘nervous exhaustion’ - doubtless the result of having to work so much harder than the rest of us - rather than drug-induced depressions, panic disorders or psychoses.’
    • ‘There is broad consensus that cognitive deficits play a crucial role for both the pathogenesis and prognosis of schizophrenic psychoses.’
    • ‘Investigators in Europe and North America suggested that children whose parents did not visit them suffered acute emotional trauma, which often caused neuroses and psychoses in youth and adulthood.’
    • ‘How strong is the evidence that cannabis is causally implicated in the precipitation or exacerbation of schizophrenia and other psychoses?’
    • ‘Zuclopenthixol is also authorised in humans as Clopixol and is for the management of schizophrenia and allied psychoses.’
    • ‘Thus the significant differences between LSD and schizophrenic psychoses appear to be in the affective nature of LSD psychosis and the greater incidence of delusions and auditory hallucinations in schizophrenics.’
    • ‘Identification of these processes may also uncover mechanisms of cognitive impairment, with implications not only for AD but also for idiopathic psychoses.’
    • ‘Fluphenazine is a member of the phenothiazine drug family and is often used in the treatment of various psychoses, mainly schizophrenia and paranoid syndromes.’
    • ‘When high levels of L-dopa were used to treat Parkinson's Disease type symptoms (immortalised in the film, ‘Awakenings’), the individuals concerned developed acute paranoid psychoses.’
    • ‘The authors emphasize that acute transient psychosis occurs far more frequently in developing countries and that these do not fit into the traditional subdivision of psychoses into schizophrenia and manic-depressive illness.’
    • ‘And the number hospitalised with alcohol psychoses - delirium, shaking, or memory loss - has risen by more than a third since 1997-98.’
    • ‘Chronic use of GHB may produce dependence and a withdrawal syndrome that includes anxiety, insomnia, tremor, and in severe cases, treatment-resistant psychoses.’
    • ‘Depending on which symptoms are apparent, delirium may be mistaken for a variety of disorders including dementia, mood disorders, and functional psychoses.’
    • ‘While 1% of patients with epilepsy admitted to the state hospital improved, 16.5% of those who developed acute psychoses remitted.’
    • ‘Only serious psychoses that required psychiatric consultation and/or treatment were considered as mental disturbances.’
    • ‘Functional psychoses include conditions such as schizophrenia, paranoia, psychopathic personality traits and manic depression.’
    • ‘Brief reactive psychoses are of interest because some behaviors, otherwise considered normal in developing countries (such as trance or other dissociative-type disorders), overlap.’
    insanity, insaneness, dementia, mental illness, derangement, dementedness, instability, unsoundness of mind, lunacy, distraction, depression, mania, hysteria, frenzy, psychopathy, schizophrenia, hydrophobia
    View synonyms


Mid 19th century: from Greek psukhōsis ‘animation’, from psukhoō ‘I give life to’, from psukhē ‘soul, mind’.