Psychosis is defined generically as a serious mental disorder. This illness is often associated with hallucinations or delusions, as well as a loss of touch with reality. Hallucinations are described as sensory experiences and are said to happen in the absence of an actual stimulus, they may be experienced as auditory hallucinations or visual hallucinations. Delusions are when a person has thoughts that contradict actual evidence. Psychosis results in loss of motivation, emotional withdrawal. More symptoms would include social isolation, apathy, loss of appetite, worsened hygiene, disorganized speech and behavior, as well has behavior like anxiety, hostility, aggression, hypervigilance, and constant fear. People suffering psychosis may also experience depersonalization which is described as a feeling of being unreal and detached from themselves mixed with anxiety. There are many different kinds of psychosis; beginning with types there is brief psychotic disorder, drug or alcohol related psychosis, and organic psychosis. Brief psychotic disorder occurs during times of extreme personal stress, recovery time for this type is a few days to weeks depending on severity. Drug or alcohol induced psychosis are triggered mostly by stimulants such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and LSD, but may also be triggered by suddenly stopping drinking or a drug when addicted. Organic psychosis is caused by illness or a head injury that affects the brain causing symptoms of psychosis. Bipolar disorder, delusional disorder, psychotic depression, and schizophrenia are all disorders commonly associated with psychotic symptoms. Statistics say three out of one hundred people will experience a psychotic disorder in their lives. People suffering from any psychosis do act strangely so it may be frightening but they should receive help and treatment immediately as they are more likely to harm themselves. The causes of psychosis are commonly hard to figure out; one of the main causes is stress, as well as illnesses. The illnesses that often lead to psychosis are brain diseases such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s, some chromosomal disorders, brain tumors, or cysts. Also, types of dementia may cause psychosis; Alzheimer’s disease, HIV, Syphilis, epilepsy, and strokes are all examples of these. Psychosis is very serious and can also impact lives immensely.
Macbeth did experience symptoms of developing psychosis throughout the play. After receiving prophecies from the weird sisters that he is to be successful, and most importantly king, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth go back and forth about killing the king so Macbeth shall claim throne as soon as possible. Macbeth is portrayed as a noble man in the beginning but he is slowly manipulated by Lady Macbeth as she puts his manhood into question for not wanting to murder the king. Lady Macbeth can partially be to blame for his development of his mental illness as she manipulated him with her words and she picked at what would bring out insecurity in him. The night he is to follow through on the murder, he experiences the first hallucination in the play. Macbeth is waiting for Lad Macbeth to give him the signal to go in for the kill when he sees a dagger floating before him in the air, leading him to the room where King Duncan is sleeping. After he follows through on killing King Duncan, which murdering another person itself is psychotic, he is driven to kill more people to keep it hidden that he was the one to kill the King and take his place. He raises suspicion, as his kill list grows. After he kills Banquo he becomes more psychotic, as he comes back to his dinner and meets another hallucination; there in his place setting, he sees the ghost of Banquo and makes a scene in front of all of his guests, not realizing they cannot also see the figure of the dead man in front of them. Lady Macbeth has to cover for him and make up an excuse for his strange behavior. Carrying on into the next meet Macbeth has with the weird sisters, they give him some new prophecies: “Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff; Beware the thane of Fife.” IV.1.77-78, “The power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth,” IV.I.86-87, “Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill shall come against him.” IV.I.101-103. Macbeth finds reassurance in these prophecies and behaves as if he is invincible; he thinks he cannot be harmed. There are so many events that occur in the play that mess with Macbeth’s head and those events are what led him to psychosis.


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