Psychosis describes the distortion of a person’s perception of reality, often accompanied by delusions (irrational and unfounded beliefs) and/or hallucinations (seeing, hearing, smelling, sensing things that other people cannot).
Psychosis is a symptom of some of the more severe forms of mental health problems, such as bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia or some forms of personality disorder.
Psychotic symptoms can also occur when people are in Intensive Care Units suffering from serious physical illnesses; in elderly people with an acute infection, when people have brain damage and in people with drug and alcohol problems. People sometimes experience psychotic like symptoms when they are exhausted, or after a serious shock. Not everyone who is experiencing psychotic symptoms has a mental illness.
The signs or symptoms of psychosis vary from person to person and can change over time. People developing a psychotic disorder will often not reach out for help. Someone who is experiencing profound and frightening changes such as psychotic symptoms will often try to keep them a secret. If you are worried about someone, approach the person in a caring and non judgemental manner to discuss your concerns. If possible, approach the person privately about their experiences in a place that is free of distractions.
Approaches that help psychosis include:
– early intervention
– psychological therapies
– self help
As with all mental health problems, recovery can be enhanced by effective support, a secure home, healthy food, exercise & fresh air, enjoyable activities, medication when needed and the knowledge that other people are caring for you.