|What causes psychosis?|
|What factors can predispose someone to experiencing a psychotic disorder?|
|What stressors can trigger a psychotic episode?|
A psychosis can occur as part of a number of different disorders; for instance, a psychosis can occasionally arise from medical conditions such as some kinds of epilepsy, a head injury, some brain infections, a stroke or a brain tumor. A psychotic episode can also occur after taking drugs such as amphetamines, LSD, cocaine or cannabis, amongst others. Some people experience a psychosis after a traumatic or very stressful event, while other people experience a psychosis as part of a developing or established mental disorder.In the past, some people believed that a psychotic disorder could be caused by family relationships or by certain parenting styles. However, the evidence for ‘psychotogenic’ (‘psychosis causing’) families is dubious at best, and suggesting this is the case is not constructive. Families or parents do not cause psychoses by their behaviour or parenting styles.
Mental health professionals generally believe that a psychosis occurs when an individual has an underlying genetic vulnerability or predisposition to experience a psychosis, and when this vulnerability is coupled with a stressor (or trigger), a psychotic episode can occur. Usually not one single factor causes a psychosis, although that can happen - e.g. with certain types of brain poisons such as hallucinogenic drugs or heavy metal intoxication. Most kinds of psychoses are similar to other conditions such as heart disease, in the sense that these illnesses are caused by the interaction of multiple genetic and environmental factors.