Psychosis, generally speaking, is a type of loss of reality testing; properly speaking, it is a disorder of or a problem with thinking. This shift in thinking can be one of the most difficult anxieties for a patient to confront because of the overwhelming sense of loss. The psychotic process can be transient or long-term. Transient causes of psychosis include substance abuse, an acute delirium from a medication, or a medical condition such as an infection or a new onset tumor.
It can also be in the con-text of a worsening mood disorder, such as depression or bipolar illness. At times, anxiety can, in and of itself, become psychotic as seen in extreme obsessive-compul-sive disorders or eating disorders. Finally, there is the psychosis of more primary disorders of thought such as schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. The experience is commonly described as feeling a shattering loss of control, an overwhelming sense of despair, or an extreme futility. Much of this anxiety can be soothed, either by receiving medication or seeking the structural intervention of hospitalization.