Psychosis

Overview of Condition

Psychosis is most commonly described as a loss of contact with reality and can present itself in various ways.  It distorts the sense, making it difficult for the individual to tell what is real from what is not.  When this experience happens, it can be called a psychotic episode.  Some experiences with the illness include functional impairment, sensory distortion and changes in one's personality.  Psychosis can occur due to biological, environmental or social factors.



 



Although some may only experience a single episode of psychosis, symptoms may come and go or be relatively constant and is often associated with mental health disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.  Psychosis affects three out of every 100 people and is more commonly diagnosed in young adults, but can happen to anyone.

What Is Psychosis?

Psychosis is a mental condition where an individual starts to lose touch with reality and seeing, hearing and believing things that are not real.

Signs/Symptoms

The symptoms of psychosis vary but are referred to as positive symptoms.  Positive symptoms refer to symptoms that are added in, beyond normal human experiences and distort psychological function. 

Positive Symptoms

Hallucinations

A person suffering from psychosis may, hear, see, smell, taste or feel something that is not actually there.  They may be seen responding to internal stimuli, like voices that only they can hear.  These stimuli are very real to the affected individual but may seem false to someone unaffected. 

Delusions

Affected individuals may fervently believe in certain things that have no evidence based in reality.  For example, delusions can cause paranoia, such as believing they are being conspired against or followed by others.  Other common experiences of delusions are things like grandiosity, thought broadcasting, and experiences of external control - feeling that others are controlling their thoughts or actions. 

 Thought Disorder

A person suffering from psychosis often has trouble with mental clarity.  This could include a change in their rate of thinking, such as rapid thought process or a stunted rate of thought, which can lead to disorganized thinking and confusion.  They may jump rapidly from thought to thought with no apparent connection between those thoughts. 

Treatment Options

The treatment of psychosis can involve a combination of medications and therapy. It is recognized that most people diagnosed with a psychosis disorder can recover with appropriate treatment if treatment is engaged early.

Medications

Psychosis symptoms can be controlled antipsychotic medications. These medicines reduce hallucinations and delusions and help people think more clearly. They come in the form of pills or injectable shots (short or long acting). A long acting injectable can cover longer treatment duration and currently comes in three forms: 2-weeks, 1 month and 3 month.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT, is a form of talk therapy that can help individuals manage their symptoms by changing the way they think and behave.  It is most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but has shown efficacy in treating psychosis. 

Psychosis Caregiver: Caring for someone with Psychosis

Often the task of providing care to loved ones with mental illness falls to a parent, family member or friend. But being a caregiver can be very stressful and burdensome. It often leaves the caregiver with little or no time to tend to his/her own needs. Approximately 63% of caregivers admit not having enough time for themselves, and 55% admit that they don't have time to manage their own health. Routine visits to the doctor are essential to ask for advice and assistance with caregiving, especially since caregiving is known to have mental health consequences for the caregiver, including the increased likelihood of depression, insomnia, and anxiety.

Key Facts

  • Psychosis distorts the senses and makes distinguishing reality difficult for the suffering individual. 
  • Psychosis affects three out of every 100 individuals and is more commonly diagnosed in young adults.
  • Treating psychosis can involve a combination of medications and therapy. 

 



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