Psychosis affects the mind by causing hallucinations and delusions. Statistics show that approximately 3% of people in the U.S. will experience psychosis.

Psychosis distorts a person’s perceptions and thoughts through hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that are not real) and delusions (holding strange beliefs). While psychosis is often a feature of psychotic disorders, it can also occur without the presence of a mental health condition. 

Statistics show that psychotic episodes are not as rare as you may think: Around 3% of the people of the United States experience at least one psychotic episode during their lives. Every year, about 100,000 teenagers and young adults in the United States experience their first psychotic episode. Psychotic disorder statistics estimate that between 0.25 and 0.64% of the people in the U.S. suffer from a psychotic disorder.

Facts About Psychosis

Here are some interesting facts about psychosis:

  • While psychosis can be a symptom of psychotic disorders, it may also be caused by sleep deprivation, stress, certain prescription medications and substance use
  • People often show early warning signs before developing psychosis, including paranoia, social withdrawal, trouble concentrating or thinking clearly and difficulty communicating
  • Women are at a higher risk of psychosis after giving birth, with around 2 out of 1000 births resulting in postpartum psychosis
  • Ethnic minorities tend to have a higher risk of developing psychosis, although the cause for this higher risk is not known
  • In most cases, psychosis occurs during adolescence or in early adulthood. The average age of psychosis onset is 24. 

How Common Is Psychosis?

Psychosis statistics in the United States show that approximately 3 out of 100 people living in the U.S. have or will experience a psychotic episode in their lives. This does not necessarily mean that they will suffer from a psychotic disorder, since the prevalence of psychotic disorders is lower. In fact, less than 1% of the U.S. population lives with a psychotic disorder. 

Psychotic Disorders By the Numbers

While schizophrenia is the most common psychotic disorder, several other mental health conditions also fall into this category. Other psychotic disorders include schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, delusional disorder, brief psychotic disorder and substance-induced psychosis. Other mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder and depression, may also feature symptoms of psychotic disorders.

  • Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness characterized by recurrent periods of psychosis. Tell-tale symptoms of schizophrenia include lack of concentration, trouble thinking clearly and social and emotional withdrawal. Schizophrenia statistics in the DSM-V show that between 0.3 and 0.7% of people in the U.S. develop this psychotic disorder at some point in their lives. 
  • Schizoaffective Disorder. Schizoaffective disorder is a severe mental health condition characterized by symptoms of schizophrenia and mood disorders, such as depression. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, schizoaffective disorder statistics estimate that 0.3% of the population is affected by this disorder. 
  • Schizophreniform Disorder. Schizophreniform disorder presents the same symptoms as schizophrenia. However, these symptoms only last for 1–5 months in individuals with schizophreniform disorder. The prevalence of schizophreniform disorder ranges from 0.4–1% in the general population.
  • Delusional Disorder. Delusional disorder is a psychotic disorder characterized by the presence of delusions that last for longer than a month. According to research, the prevalence of delusional disorder is around 0.18%.
  • Brief Psychotic Disorder. Brief psychotic disorder presents similar symptoms to other psychotic disorders, such as hallucinations and delusions, but these symptoms last less than a month. The incidence of brief psychotic disorder ranges from 4 to 10 per every 100,000 people, and onset often occurs when an individual is in their mid-30s.
  • Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder. Substance-induced psychotic disorder occurs when substance use triggers the onset of hallucinations or delusions. The lifetime prevalence of substance-induced psychosis is estimated to be 0.42%.

Psychosis can be related to several conditions, such as manic depressive psychosis (also known as bipolar psychosis). Bipolar disorder, which is characterized by dramatic shifts from high (mania) to low mood (depression), can also trigger psychotic episodes. Bipolar disorder affects around 2.6% of the people in the U.S., but it is much harder to establish the prevalence of psychosis in bipolar disorder because it tends to be mistaken for schizophrenia.

Depression and psychosis may also occur during episodes of severe depression. Research shows that around 14% of people with severe depression had a history of psychotic features. 

Psychosis can also occur after childbirth. Postpartum psychosis statistics show that 1–2 out of 1000 births result in psychosis, often during the first four weeks after the delivery.

Psychosis Suicide Rate

Psychotic disorders increase the risk of suicidal tendencies, particularly for people living with schizophrenia. According to several studies, between 5 and 10% of people with schizophrenia commit suicide, compared to 10 per 100,000 in the general population

Psychotic Disorders Prognosis and Outlook 

While psychotic disorders pose a severe health risk, symptoms can improve with comprehensive treatment. Psychosis prognosis is also favorable, particularly with early intervention after the first psychotic episode. When treated early, many people do not have additional psychotic episodes. In cases of psychotic disorders, people can go on to live productive lives after receiving treatment, despite the occasional reappearance of psychotic symptoms.

Statistics on Psychosis Treatment

Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders can be treated successfully if diagnosed early. Unfortunately, most people with psychotic disorders never recover entirely, either because they never received treatment or the diagnosis occurred too late.

Consequences of untreated psychosis or psychotic disorders include:

  •  Worsening symptoms
  • Continual mental health decline
  • Being chronically ill
  • The need for daily support to handle psychosis

Recovery is possible, but comprehensive is essential for a successful recovery — especially if a substance use disorder is also involved. If you or a loved one live with psychosis or a psychotic disorder that co-occurs with addiction, contact The Recovery Village to find out more about the treatment options that may help you.

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Editor – Megan Hull
Megan Hull is a content specialist who edits, writes and ideates content to help people find recovery. Read more

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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.