Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Natalie DattiloEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_2055


Psychosis is a symptom of mental illness characterized by severe impairment in cognitive, affective, and social functioning. Features of psychosis include grossly impaired reality testing, hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, disorganized thinking, interpersonal and social difficulties, and a lack of awareness that the behavior is unusual.

Historical Background

Karl Friedrich Canstatt (1807–1850), a German physician and author, introduced the concept of “psychosis” into the psychiatric literature in 1841. He used the term synonymously with “psychic neurosis” and emphasized, for the first time, a psychic manifestation of brain disease (Burgy 2008). Baron Ernst von Feuchtersleben (1806–1849), an Austrian physician, poet, and philosopher, is credited with first using the term psychosis synonymously with “psychopathy” in 1845.

During the second half of the nineteenth century, the term psychosis was widely used and considered synonymous with terms such as “mental disorder,”...

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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA