Causes of Psychosis
Researchers have not yet pinpointed a cause or set of causes that explains why some people develop psychosis and others do not. Everyone has the potential to experience symptoms of psychosis. Profound sleeplessness or heavy substance use (e.g., methamphetamine, hallucinogenics) can cause anyone to temporarily hear or see things that are not there. In addition, some physical illnesses can have psychotic features such as Cushing’s syndrome, Huntington’s disease, or advanced AIDS. Experts generally agree that most of the risk for psychosis is genetic (i.e., what we are born with) while some risk is environmental (i.e., where we live, what we do).
One of the biggest and oldest falsehoods about psychosis is that it only happens to people with the wrong kind of upbringing. New studies have completely discredited this myth. While it is true that high stress, unhealthy diet and poor sleep hygiene can make symptoms worse, it is not true that psychosis is a direct result of the way we were raised.