Schizophrenia and psychosis have many similarities, but they also have many differences. Schizophrenia and psychosis are not the same, though some people use the two terms interchangeably.
The biggest difference between schizophrenia and psychosis is that psychosis is a symptom or a group of symptoms (syndrome) while schizophrenia is a disorder. Patients who have schizophrenia may experience psychosis as a part of their disorder, but those who do not have schizophrenia or any diagnosed mental disorder may also experience psychosis occasionally. Other mental disorders which psychosis is a symptom of include bipolar disorders and Alzheimer’s.
Psychosis is typically episodic, which means a person experiences a psychotic episode, then they do not experience symptoms of psychosis again for a period of time. Psychosis is sometimes referred to as a break in reality, or an inability to determine what is real and what is not. People experiencing psychosis might see or hear things that are not there (hallucinations) or they may hold far-fetched, irrational beliefs (delusions).
Many outside factors can cause psychosis besides diagnosed mental disorders. Drug abuse can sometimes cause psychosis as well—the use of hallucinogens has been linked to psychotic episodes. Additionally, if a person is overly tired or stressed, they are more prone to psychotic episodes.
While there is no known cure for psychosis or schizophrenia, both are very treatable. Contact us to learn more about taking back control of your mental health.