What is Psychosis?

Psychosis is a mental health condition characterised by a loss of contact with reality, which may include hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that others don’t), delusions (false beliefs), disorganised thinking, and impaired functioning. It can occur as a symptom of various mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe depression with psychotic features.

How can it affect you?

  • Emotional Well-being: Psychosis can cause distress, fear, confusion, and feelings of isolation or detachment from reality.
  • Social Functioning: Psychosis can disrupt relationships, work, and daily activities. Individuals may have difficulty communicating or engaging in social interactions.
  • Cognitive Functioning: Psychosis can impair cognitive abilities such as memory, attention, and decision-making, affecting daily functioning and independence.

Symptoms of Psychosis

  • Hallucinations: Perceiving sensory experiences that aren’t real, such as hearing voices, seeing things, or feeling sensations that others don’t.
  • Delusions: Holding false beliefs that aren’t based on reality, such as believing you have special powers, are being persecuted, or have a special mission.
  • Disorganised Thinking: Difficulty organising thoughts, speaking coherently, or following a logical sequence of ideas.
  • Impaired Functioning: Difficulty with daily activities such as self-care, work, school, or maintaining relationships.
  • Changes in Behaviour: Sudden changes in behaviour, emotions, or social interactions that are unusual or uncharacteristic.

Managing Psychosis

  • Medication: Antipsychotic medications prescribed by a psychiatrist can help alleviate symptoms of psychosis and stabilise mood and thought patterns.
  • Therapy: Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or supportive therapy, can help individuals understand and cope with their experiences, challenge delusional beliefs, and learn healthy coping strategies
  • Support Services: Community mental health teams (CMHTs) provide assessment, treatment, and support for individuals experiencing psychosis, including medication management, therapy, and practical assistance with daily living.
  • Early Intervention: Early intervention services offer specialised assessment and treatment for individuals experiencing first-episode psychosis, focusing on early identification, intervention, and support to improve outcomes.
  • Self-Care: Engage in self-care activities that promote overall well-being, such as regular exercise, healthy eating, sufficient sleep, stress management techniques, and avoiding alcohol and drugs.

Get help

Speak to your GP:If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of psychosis, seeking help from a qualified mental health professional is essential. With proper treatment and support, individuals experiencing psychosis can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Charities and Organisations: Charities and organisations such as: Bipolar UK, The National Paranoia Network, and the Hearing Voices Network  can provide useful help and support.