What Is The Real Meaning of “Psychotic?”

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What is the Real Meaning of “Psychotic?”

He's psychotic. You're delusional. I must be hallucinating. Terms related to psychosis are common and thrown around as casual slang. But do people fully understand the meaning of psychosis and its related terminology? What does psychotic really mean? Psychotic is a term that doesn't describe people at all. It describes a class of disorders which include schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. A mental illness can be a psychotic disorder, but a man or a woman experiences psychosis.

Psychosis refers to a break with reality. A person's mind begins to play tricks on him, and he can't tell the difference between what is real and what his mind is experiencing as real. The tricks happen in the form of hallucinations and/or delusions. Hallucinations involve the senses; something deep within a person's brain tells her that one or a combination of the senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste) is sending signals that the person experiences as real. Delusions are similar, but they involve thoughts and beliefs rather than senses. When a person experiences psychosis, he/she can't differentiate the tricks in the brain from the real world. The hallucinations and delusions of psychosis, the actual experiences rather than the clichéd expressions, can be confusing and frightening.

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APA Reference
(2015, September 9). What Is The Real Meaning of “Psychotic?”, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Last Updated: October 4, 2023

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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