What causes psychosis?

The exact causes of psychosis are not known, but current research suggests that psychosis arises from changes in brain functions that affect the connections between brain circuits. These abnormalities in brain functions can involve neurotransmitters, the chemical messenger systems in the brain.

These abnormalities in the brain may be due to:

  • neurodevelopmental abnormalities
  • genetics
  • complications of pregnancy or childbirth
  • stress

Studies also suggest that experimentation with psychoactive substances like ecstasy, marijuana, cocaine or LSD can trigger the onset of a psychotic episode in a person with a pre-existing biological vulnerability.