Psychosis is a mental health problem that causes people to view the world around them differently to everyone else. It often involves delusions or hallucinations.
The causes of psychosis are thought to be linked to other mental health issues, genetics or use of drugs and alcohol. There are many mental health issues that can have links to psychotic episodes such as schizophrenia, bipolar or severe depression. Lack of sleep or severe stress and anxiety may also be contributing factors. Some physical health problems may also cause psychosis.
The symptoms of psychosis may include but are not limited to:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor mood
- Poor sleep habits; either sleeping too much or not enough
- Suspicious thoughts
- Suicidal thoughts
- Thought disorder e.g. thought insertion or broadcasting
A diagnosis of psychosis will usually start at your primary care doctor but will typically need to be confirmed by a psychiatrist. They will ask you questions including family history, drug or alcohol use and symptoms and if they suspect that you are suffering from psychosis they will refer you to a psychiatric team for a full evaluation. Doctors will also want to rule out any physical health problems that may be causing psychotic episodes such as urine infections, hypothyroidism, dehydration or low sodium.
Psychosis treatment is usually a combination of medication, therapies and social support. Care teams will often want to start with medication called antipsychotics. Talking therapies will usually involve CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) which focuses on your thoughts, feelings and behaviour and aims to teach you coping mechanisms to deal with your symptoms. Family therapy may also be beneficial as social support can be vital in helping to manage psychosis. Local support groups may also be available in your area.
If you have concerns that you or anybody close to you may be suffering from psychosis you should seek support from your primary care doctor. They will be able to put you in touch with the right support for you. If you fear that you or somebody else is a danger to themselves or others you should visit your local emergency centre for immediate intervention.