Psychosis is a severe mental health disorder. Your thoughts, emotions, and interpretation of things differ from those around you and you lose contact with external reality.

Experiencing the symptoms of psychosis is often referred to as having a psychotic episode. These will be marked by disordered thoughts, highs followed by lows of deep depression and generally erratic behaviour, which is very different from your normal self. You may experience hearing voices (hallucinating), or even feeling persecuted by delusions that others are out to harm you. You may be finding it difficult to make decisions or to leave the house. You might even be having thoughts of suicide.

These, and episodes like these, can be very frightening, leaving you feeling vulnerable, depressed, marginalised and not in control of your life. You may also be feeling very confused because psychotic disorders are not easy to understand, and you may not know what is causing them.

You may not even be aware that you are acting strangely in some cases. You may even feel your depression or feelings of suicide are normal and you have to learn to cope with them, preferring not to burden or 'worry' others with them.

The earlier you seek help the better.

Psychosis is an umbrella term. It describes a set of serious mental illnesses and psychotic disorders including:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Drug induced psychosis
  • Delusional disorder
Recognising psychosis: what are the symptoms?
The two main symptoms of psychosis are:
  • hallucinations – this is defined as a person hearing, seeing, or experiencing things that are not there; hearing voices is a common example
  • delusions – where a person believes as fact things which are clearly impossible and untrue, i.e. a paranoid belief that your boss is planning to kill you

The combination of the two can severely disrupt your thinking, emotion, and behaviour.

Treating psychosis: what are the options available?
Psychosis is not a condition but is caused by other conditions i.e. severe depression, schizophrenia, drug abuse, stress, anxiety, traumatic experiences.

It is important that the underlying cause(s) is diagnosed quickly so that effective treatment can be initiated.

If you or a family member have concerns about the possibility of having a psychosis then please contact me and I can advise whether an outpatient assessment is feasible. Sometimes if you are too ill you may require urgent hospitalisation, either in the NHS or independent sector – I can advise on the treatment options.

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