Acute psychosis is a state in which a person can be found at a given moment; a person in such a state has often lost contact with reality partially or completely.

Symptoms and causes


  • Delusions: a kind of imaginary idea that one has about oneself; the person cannot distinguish between what is real and what is not.
  • Hallucinations: things you perceive that are not really there (e.g. hearing voices or seeing ghosts)
  • Confusion: coherent conversations can hardly take place, forgetting what one is doing, etcetera.

How do you recognise that someone has acute psychosis?

The person often has a confused way of talking, mixes up things and speaks gibberish. Usually the answers to questions are short. He or she may sometimes adopt a frozen posture that virtually does not change. There is hardly any eye contact, the person usually looks to the side of you. A sort of suspicion and/or watchfulness.


  • Psychosis susceptibility among close relatives
  • Taking drugs
  • Personal and environmental factors e.g. stress, lack of sleep
  • Trauma

Diagnosis and treatment


  • Reducing anxiety and improving sleep habits often through the prescription of benzodiazepines
  • Taking antipsychotics to reduce anxiety
  • Sometimes also antidepressants
  • Understanding the triggers of the psychosis
  • Creating a good day/night time, rest rythm

Treatment centres and specialisations

Psychiatric Department (PAAZ)

Latest publication date: 21/01/2021
Supervising author: Dr Raemdonck Jan