Can a book trigger/inspire/feed a psychotic episode?

For example, reading George Orwell’s 1984 and becoming paranoid about surveillance and people watching you. Or reading about conspiracy theories, bible prophecy (Book of Revelation), dystopian literature, that sort of thing. Happened to me.


Yes it happens.

I think you answered your own question…


I think so. Especially off meds. While I was off meds I had the thought of committing sepouku after playing about Japan and samurai because I felt I dishonored my family. Now on meds I can play it without such thoughts.

While I was reading “Catch 22” I started having crazy nightmares. It actually helped me with my own creative writing though, so it’s always possible if it’s stimulating your imagination that it could stimulate psychosis. At least that’s my perspective.

Yes, absolutely. I have severe delusional thinking about sexualization of women… A lot of books that just mention a simple intimate encounter make me think they’re all about sexualizing women and ra** and just terrible stuff in general… Like every description of a woman is a way of sexualizing them??..

I’m OK on meds, though. I have yet to go back to reading books, but I would like to.

John Hinkley, the guy who shot president Reagan, was obsessed with the book “The Catcher in the Rye”.

Yes for people with psychotic disorders unfortunately nearly anything can be a trigger.


I used to worry all my posts here would trigger someone to a delusional psychotic thought process.

The best we can do is try to give a warning if we think something might be triggering but we don’t always know so not much to do there. Ah well. Psychosis sucks.


Exactly. 15161215225

Yes it can trigger psychosis especially if it’s got violence or mental illness in it.

I found occult’ish books to trigger my “I think I’m psychic” belief.

Yes, definitely.
After I read the first two Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children books, I was so paranoid about war, having nightmares about Russians attacking, and worried for Ukraine (I have family, there).
Watching the Tim Burton film based on it helped, because the movie is so terrible and has terrible acting, so it ruined the whole aesthetic in my head.

I think not only books, but movies, TV shows, even music can trigger/feed a psychotic episode. When I was 16, going through my first psychotic break I would listen to oldies like John Lennon and the Doors and thought I could speak to both John Lennon and Jim Morrison. At one point I believed I was a character in Tom Sawyer, which i was reading for school at the time. Another time I thought I’d become Wednesday Addams…from well the Addams family. It took a long time back then to learn what went through my head didn’t mean it was real and I wasn’t a character in a book or movie.

As much as I am against the idea that the entertainment world (movies/music) can influence people to do bad things I think people already in a bad way may mistake the entertainment value in these mediums as validation to what they already believe.

I occasionally have to stop watching shows when I start hearing the characters in my head…just to take a break from them and get a hold back into reality.

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This is one reason I rarely read book series back to back (like I enjoy the House of Night series by PC Cast and Kristine Cast which has at least 11 books in it, but I can only read one book at a time and not consecutively. or I get to into the characters). I rarely watch sequal movies back to back either, like I take a break from Divergent and watch something else before moving onto Insurgent. Just to take a break from the characters. Makes watching/reading sequels a lot longer but it’s a lot healthier for me mentally to take little breaks between sets.

Facebook triggered a major psychotic episode for me when I was not taking my medication. I am addicted to Facebook but I compare my life to everyone else’s. I have very successful classmates from high school and college which bothers me. I had to delete and block a married couple who had “the perfect marriage and life.” So glad I blocked them!