What happens if psychosis goes untreated?

Psychosis doesn’t have many medical complications. However, if left untreated, it can be challenging for people experiencing psychosis to take good care of themselves. That could cause other illnesses to go untreated. Most people who experience psychosis will recover with proper treatment.

The idea that early treatment leads to better outcomes is a standard in medicine. From cancer to coronaries, we find that detection early in the disease course offers better prognosis. The longer a pathological process is left unchecked, the more damage is done; illnesses become more complex, thus they become more difficult to treat.

Numerous, different studies have tried to shed light on the delay in untreated psychosis and prognosis. They have measured the association between the time untreated and subsequent symptoms, cognitive problems, and changes in the brain. Mechanisms have been suggested to explain these findings. As summarized by Rund,3 Wyatt1 believed that untreated psychosis was biologically toxic to the brain. Sheitman and Lieberman4 elaborated, claiming that the inability to regulate a presynaptic dopamine release in the limbic striatum and the prolonged sensitization and overstimulation resulted in people being refractory of treatment because of structural neuronal changes. Others have postulated that active psychosis may damage neuronal connectivity,5 while Wood et al6 believed that the impacts were through stress and the release of stress-related hormones.


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