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What is Psychosis?

The word “psychosis” is used to describe conditions that affect the mind, in which there has been some loss of contact with reality. The terms “early psychosis” or “first episode psychosis” mean that an individual is experiencing psychosis for the first time. Hallucinations, delusions (false beliefs), paranoia and disorganized thoughts and speech are symptoms of psychosis. Psychotic episodes are periods of time when symptoms of psychosis are strong and interfere with regular life. Although the lengths of these episodes vary from person to person and may only last a few days, psychosis is most likely to continue for weeks, months or even years unless the person is given proper treatment.

What are the early warning signs?

Keep in mind that the symptoms for psychosis can also apply to many things that could be happening to an adolescent including the changes that come naturally to everyone.

Symptoms to look for:

  • Social Withdrawal
  • Depression and/or Anxiety
  • Lack of Sleep or Inability to Sleep
  • Having a Hard Time Concentrating or Keeping Focus
  • Becoming More Suspicious of the Things Happening Around Them
  • Not Going To School or Work

Make sure to address any changes you see, early intervention can help foster a successful recovery.

How can I identify a psychotic episode?

You can look for both positive and negative symptoms. Positive ones will add experiences that aren’t normally experienced on a normal day.  They can include hallucinations, delusions, or disorganized behavior and speech. You may also see negative symptoms such as a lack of emotion, difficulty thinking or coming up with ideas, a lack of motivation or they aren’t speaking much.

What can I do to prevent an episode?

Episodes can occur in around 3% of all people during their lifetime, but there are certain factors that can contribute to an episode.

Some are brought on by conditions, such as:

  • Brain Injury
  • Brain Tumor
  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Thyroid Disorders

There are also some outside factors that can contribute, such as:

  • Stress
  • Drugs
  • Biological

How could stress be an issue?

Stress adds a lot of pressure on us and our mental development. The amount of stress that will lead to an episode can vary depending on the person but can certainly contribute to it. If someone is already likely to develop psychosis, stress can play a larger factor in causing an episode.

What do you mean by biological?

There are a few different biological indicators that can lead to a psychotic episode. These can include things beyond our control like genetics. Frequently, it’s been noted that dtysfunctioning neurotransmitters may be the cause of psychotic events. There are still ongoing studies trying to find ways to predict and prevent these episodes from happening.

What should I do if I notice symptoms?

It’s always a good idea to seek help. There are many different ways to help but the root of the problem will need to be identified. This will help determine the course of treatment so that you can find the proper help. We would recommend speaking to a doctor so that they can evaluate and you can come up with a plan to seek the help that’s needed.

What should the doctor know?

Just like with any issues you have when seeing a doctor, the more information you can provide them with the better they can help you come up with a plan. This could include any symptoms, medicines you’re taking, any personal information and family histories. Be sure to also make note of any questions that you need answers for and try to have someone with you to help support you.

How can a doctor treat me?

Doctors have many options in treating psychosis and it will all depend on what is causing it. Possible solutions can include medication, educating you and loved ones on what is happening to you, stress management, counseling and support groups, or even psychotherapy. Not every person has the same experience so you and your doctor will need to come up with a plan to help you.

What if one treatment doesn’t work?

Psychosis is complicated and not every treatment works for every person. So, if you feel like your treatment isn’t helping you then you should consult your doctor and adjust your plan. It’s common to have to make adjustments as everyone responds differently to certain treatments. The important thing is to know that you can ask for help and there are people out there who want to help you.

What can I do to get better?

Remember that recovering is different for every person and it may take a little time. You can also make sure that you are getting regular check-ups to make sure you’re progressing in the right direction. You can also set achievable goals for yourself, find positive activities to participate in, try your best to live a healthy lifestyle, and make sure to keep in contact with your social circle.