Psychosis is a term which is used to describe a group of symptoms that affect the mind, where there is loss of contact with reality. When a person becomes ill in this way, it is considered a psychotic episode.
There are different signs that appear when someone may be on the verge of a psychotic episode, such as social withdrawal, a decline in normal functioning, depression or anxiety, decreased concentration, sleep disturbance, and difficulty handling everyday stresses or pressures.
What types of psychotic illnesses are there?
Each person’s experience of psychosis is different. This can make it very difficult to make a clear diagnosis, particularly during a person’s first episode of psychosis.
Many mental health professionals do not use a diagnosis but refer to it as ‘an episode of psychosis’ or ‘first episode psychosis.What causes Psychosis?
It is currently thought that psychosis can be caused by a combination of biological, psychological, social and cultural factors.
Symptoms of psychosis are thought to often emerge in response to stress, drug abuse or environmental changes. They are more common in an individual whose capacity to cope with these stressors is overwhelmed.Recovering from Psychosis
From a medical perspective, recovery is often linked with the absence of active symptoms or disorder. Recovery can be understood as a unique and personal journey of reclaiming a sense of self, and well-being after a period of distress.
The pattern of recovery from psychosis varies from person to person and can be influenced by a wide range of factors. Some people recover quickly with very little intervention. Others may benefit from support over a longer period.
Who gets psychosis?
Approximately 3-4% of the population will experience a psychotic episode at some point in life. It occurs in all cultures and societies in both men and women.
First episode will generally occur in adolescence, generally 18-24 years of age. It is good to remember that symptoms of psychosis are treatable.
How is psychosis treated?
The first phase of treatment involves assessment: This means having a series of interviews with mental health specialists. Physical tests are needed to exclude a physical cause for the symptoms.
Information obtained from the person, family and friends, together with the test results, will provide some idea about the type of psychosis being experienced, the cause, and how it may be treated.