Psychosis

What is it?

Psychosis is when a person has lost some contact with reality, resulting in severe disruptions in thinking, emotion, and behavior. Psychosis can have a severe impact on a person’s life. Relationships, school, work, other usual activities, and self-care can be difficult to initiate or maintain. Disorders where psychosis may appear include: schizophrenia, psychotic depression, schizoaffective disorder, and substance-induced psychosis

Signs and Symptoms: 

Changes in emotion and motivation:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety, fearfulness
  • Irritability, extreme moodiness, sudden outbursts or highly emotional reactions
  • Suspiciousness, feeling that people are out to get them
  • Blunted, flat, or inappropriate emotion
  • Change in appetite
  • Reduced energy and motivation
  • Significantly increased sleep

Changes in thinking and perception:

  • Difficulties with concentration or attention
  • Sense of alteration of self, others, or outside world
  • Odd ideas (feels they or others have changed or are acting differently)
  • Unusual perceptual experiences (reduction or greater intensity of smell, sound, or color)

Changes in behavior:

  • Sleep disturbance social isolation or withdrawal
  • Reduced ability to carry out social roles
  • Seeing things and hearing voices that are not real
  • Severe problems in making and keeping friends
  • Social isolation
Support Strategies: 
  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen nonjudgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies
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