Psychosis and Schizophrenia are not the same, even though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that impacts thought processes, emotions and behavior and can be a very frightening experience. It is the third common mental disorder. Schizophrenia can cause psychosis or lead to symptoms of psychosis. But: Individuals experiencing psychosis do not necessarily have schizophrenia.
Psychosis is a symptom defined by losing touch with reality. A period of psychosis is a psychotic episode, limitation to one period is possible (in difference to Schizophrenia). A psychotic episode can occur on its own or may be associated with a mental disorder (like Schizophrenia or bipolar disorder).
Schizophrenia (and also bipolar disorder) may share a common genetic cause.
Hormones may also have an influence: Some people experience postpartum psychosis after giving birth. Due to this, and the fact that the early signs of psychosis often occur first in adolescents, some have suggested that hormonal factors may play a role in those with a genetic susceptibility.
Brain changes: Tests have found differences in brain chemicals – specifically, the activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine in people that suffer from psychosis.
Sleep deprivation, certain prescription medication (including sedatives and stimulants), substance use of a medical condition like dementia may also lead to symptoms of psychosis.
As experiences of schizophrenia vary individually, treatments work out differently for people suffering from schizophrenia. Treatment can manage or prevent psychosis but there is no cure for schizophrenia. However treatments can improve the symptoms or lead to a longer period without symptoms.
Schizophrenia and Psychosis come along with a higher risk of suicide.