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Symptoms of Psychotic Disorder Due to a Medical Condition

Rashmi Nemade, Ph.D. & Mark Dombeck, Ph.D., edited by Kathryn Patricelli, MA Updated: Mar 20th 2017

Psychosis Due to a Medical Condition

stethescope and form This diagnosis is made when a person's medical history, physical exam, or lab test results suggest that one or more medical conditions have caused brain changes that might create psychotic symptoms. Those delusions or hallucinations are happening because of the medical condition(s).

Conditions that may cause this include:

  • brain tumors
  • cerebrovascular disease
  • Huntington's disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • epilepsy
  • auditory or visual nerve injury or impairment
  • deafness
  • migraine
  • infections of the central nervous system.
  • increases or decreases in the activity of the thyroid, parathyroid, or adrenocortical system
  • decreases in blood gases such as oxygen or carbon dioxide or imbalances in blood sugar or electrolytes are some metabolic causes of psychosis
  • autoimmune disorders with central nervous system involvement such as systemic lupus erythematosus have also been known to cause psychosis

Psychotic disorder caused by a medical condition may be a one-time issue or may be ongoing. Although treating the medical condition often results in the stopping of the psychosis, this is not always the case. The psychotic symptoms may continue long after the medical conditions that have caused them are cured.

Symptoms must not be the result of another mental health condition. They must also cause significant stress or affect the person's work, relationships with others, or daily activities.


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