Causes of psychosis

There’s no single cause of psychosis, but it’s likely that the following factors play a part:

  • Life experiences – there’s evidence linking psychosis to life experiences such as abuse, trauma and stress. However, not everyone who has experienced abuse develops psychosis
  • Genetics – research suggests that mental illness runs in families and that if you have a relative with psychosis you are more likely to develop it yourself
  • Brain chemicals – changes in your brain chemistry can cause psychosis. Increases in the chemical dopamine can cause hallucinations, delusions and disorganised thinking. While, when you’re stressed, your brain releases a chemical called cortisol, which can increase the chances of psychosis
  • Drugs – using cannabis, amphetamines, crystal meth or cocaine can increase your chance of developing psychosis

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