Can Anxiety Cause Psychosis? | The Link Between Mental Health & Wellness

Last Updated
December 15, 2023

Can Anxiety Cause Psychosis?
Anxiety vs Psychosis
Helpful Products

Can Anxiety Cause Psychosis?
No, anxiety itself does not directly cause psychosis. However, severe or prolonged anxiety can contribute to conditions or states of mind where someone might experience symptoms that are similar to psychosis.

Anxiety is a mental health condition characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one's daily activities. Examples of anxiety disorders include panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Psychosis is a serious mental disorder characterized by a disconnection from reality. People experiencing psychosis may have hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there) or delusions (firmly held beliefs in things that are not true). Their thoughts and speech might be disorganized, making it hard to understand them.

Symptoms Of An Anxiety-Induced Psychosis
- Hallucinations
- Delusions
- Paranoia
- Mania or mixed episodes
- Disorganized speech and behavior

Treatment Of Anxiety-Induced Psychosis
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
- Family-oriented therapy

Can anxiety cause psychosis?

Anxiety disorder and psychosis are both mental disorders that can interrupt a person's life. Both can cause distress, confusion, and trouble for their sufferers. People often wonder if anxiety can lead to the symptoms of psychosis or vice versa. This article will examine the relationship between anxiety and psychosis in order to understand better how they may be connected.

A woman suffering from anxiety in a post about can anxiety cause psychosis

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of worry, fear, unease, or dread. It is an evolutionary adaptation that helps us identify and respond to danger. Anxiety can be short-term when it is an appropriate reaction to a stressful event or long-term in the case of childhood trauma.

When it becomes a chronic condition, having an anxiety attack affects daily functioning. Anxiety disorders include social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

What is psychosis?

Psychosis is characterized by altered thinking, behavior, and perception. People with psychotic disorders may experience delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior, and impaired cognitive functioning. The most common psychotic disorders are schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. People with psychosis often lack insight into their symptoms and may be unaware that their beliefs and perceptions are distorted.

Treatment is often necessary to help manage symptoms, reduce the risk of relapse, and promote recovery. In short, Psychosis is a symptom and not an illness. Psychosis can be triggered by extreme stress, trauma, or a mental or physical illness.

Psychotic Symptoms and Related Conditions in a post about

The relationship between anxiety and psychosis

Studies have shown that anxiety is closely linked to psychosis. [1] People with anxiety disorders and major depression are more likely to develop some serious mental illness, like psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and schizoaffective disorder. In fact, around 27% of patients with Anxiety and Depression show one or more psychotic symptoms. [1] And those who show psychotic symptoms tend to have a more severe Anxiety/ Depression condition.

Psychosis and anxiety can have a complex relationship. In some cases, psychosis may lead to depressive and anxiety disorders which can also be triggered by a mental illness. [3] This is especially true for young adults and people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, as episodes of psychotic symptoms can be very frightening and stressful. On the other hand, having a problem with mental health issues such as Anxiety or Depression can put someone at greater risk of developing a psychotic disorder.

People with Major Depressive Disorder may be more likely to experience hallucinations and delusions due to changes in brain chemistry.[2]

Symptoms of anxiety-induced psychosis

Other than anxiety-related symptoms, people who suffer from anxiety disorder may also have a depressed mood and show psychiatric symptoms such as;

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Mania or mixed episodes
  • Disorganized speech and behavior

In severe cases, people with anxiety may experience auditory or visual hallucinations, delusions of persecution/ grandeur, paranoia, or mania. This could be a sign that their anxiety has progressed to a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia. People who suffer from extreme stress often struggle to control their thoughts and feelings, making it difficult to differentiate between reality and delusions.

If anxiety attacks are left untreated, anxiety-induced psychosis can lead to greater social isolation, major depressive disorders, and suicidal ideation.

An anxiety patient experiencing psychotic symptoms in a post about can anxiety cause psychosis

Treatment options

To manage the symptoms of anxiety-induced psychosis, psychiatrists generally prescribe medications like antidepressants or antipsychotics. Additionally, psychotherapy can be instrumental in supporting those living with this disorder. Examples include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)- This is an incredibly effective form of treatment that assists an individual in recognizing and transforming any unhelpful thinking patterns. We suggest online therapy for convenience.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)- This is a powerful technique to assist people dealing with intense emotions, including those stemming from anxiety-related psychosis.
  • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)- This is an effective treatment that enables individuals to comprehend the interpersonal relations in their life and how they might be contributing to psychological distress. By doing this, IPT can help those struggling with anxiety-induced psychosis gain a better handle on their mental health.
  • Family-oriented therapy - This is an approach to psychotherapy aimed at enhancing family dynamics and promoting meaningful conversation. It can reduce overall stress levels in the home, forming a more conducive atmosphere for individuals struggling with anxiety-induced psychosis to recover effectively.


Psychosis is often seen as a severe condition in anxiety sufferers. Hence, it should be addressed before it becomes unmanageable. The right treatment plan should be tailored to the individual’s needs. Additionally, you can seek help from online therapy services and support groups or engage in self-care activities to help manage anxiety and reduce the risk of psychosis. With proper treatment and care, anxiety-induced psychosis can be managed, and you can lead a healthier and better life.


Which type of anxiety causes psychotic behavior?

Psychotic episodes are only seen in severe panic attacks.[4] However, once the patient enters a state of psychosis, it can reoccur 10 to 15 times per day. Further, psychotic symptoms can worsen the anxiety symptoms, leading to further distress and possible hospitalization.

How do I know if I have anxiety or psychosis?

The truth is, you can not easily distinguish between the two. Psychosis and anxiety share common symptoms, such as insomnia, restlessness, racing thoughts, or feeling overwhelmed. If you’re experiencing any of these problematic anxiety symptoms, it’s important to seek help from a professional who can assess your situation and provide the treatment you need.


  1. Evidence That Psychotic Symptoms Are Prevalent in Disorders of Anxiety and Depression
  2. Brain changes in depression - PMC
  3. Frontiers | Case report: From anxiety disorders to psychosis, a continuum in transitional age youth?
  4. Panic attacks with psychotic features - PubMed

⚠️ Disclaimer: The content of this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Consult a qualified health professional for any medical concerns.

Subscribe to our newsletter

We’ll never send you spam or share your email address.
Find out more in our Privacy Policy.

Leave a Reply

April 11, 2024
ADHD Breakthrough: Bionic Reading Unlocks New Levels of Focus

Bionic reading transforms the reading experience for ADHD individuals by guiding the eyes for focus and understanding. Dive into the world of bionic reading.

Read More
April 11, 2024
The Best Shopping Addiction Workbooks

Find the best shopping addiction workbooks to guide your journey to recovery, offering structured programs, practical tools, and empowering strategies.

Read More
April 11, 2024
The Best Verbal Abuse Books

Discover the best verbal abuse books for understanding, coping, and healing from this damaging behavior, offering expert guidance and support.

Read More
April 10, 2024
The Best Books on Bullying

Explore our curated list of the best books on bullying, offering insights and strategies to understand, prevent, and address bullying effectively.

Read More
Mass Noorani
Mass Noorani is a professional writer who has been working with writing-challenged clients for over two years. She provides ghostwriting, SEO writing, Blog Content Writing, and ghost editing services. Her educational background in Information Technology and her passion for animals and science has given her a broad base from which to approach many topics. Her writing skills may be confirmed independently on request. She especially enjoys writing about Technology, Pets, Gaming, Science, and DIY Crafts.
Author info
ADHD Breakthrough: Bionic Reading Unlocks New Levels of Focus

Bionic reading transforms the reading experience for ADHD individuals by guiding the eyes for focus and understanding. Dive into the world of bionic reading.

Read More
Is Postpartum Depression Hereditary? | Exploring the Genetic Factors and Risk Factors

Explore the complexities of postpartum depression and genetics in our blog 'Is Postpartum Depression Hereditary?' for insights into maternal mental health.

Read More
Trauma Responses In Relationships: The Importance, Types & Effects

Explore 'Trauma Responses in Relationships' and learn to navigate emotional challenges in intimate partnerships for stronger, healthier connections.

Read More


Colorful face with gears representing brains logo for shrinks-office.com

Subscribe to our newsletter

Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice.
We always recommend speaking to a professional when it comes to your mental healht.
As an amazon affiliate and other affilate agent. We list affilate programs and links in our website.
Seraphinite AcceleratorOptimized by Seraphinite Accelerator
Turns on site high speed to be attractive for people and search engines.