Psychosis is a mental health problem which causes impairment in both thoughts and emotions making the sufferer lose contact with reality. Although the sufferer loses contact with reality, what occurs during this experience is very real to that individual. Psychosis is triggered by other conditions, such as schizophrenia, bipolar, and schizoaffective disorder. However, it is a symptom of many different mental illnesses which can make it difficult to identify which condition the said individual is suffering from. Symptoms of psychosis may also appear if an individual has used a substance such as alcohol, stimulants and psychedelics. However these symptoms tend to cease once the consumption of the substance stops. Some people may only experience one psychotic episode in their life time, but for others it can be a chronic and reoccurring condition.
There are many different triggers and factors that can cause psychotic episodes. The most common is other mental health conditions and substance abuse. Although, factors such as simple as stress can also cause a psychotic episode. Other triggers that can cause psychotic episodes are traumatic experiences, physical conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease and brain tumours.
Symptoms of Psychosis
The most identifiable and main symptoms of psychosis are hallucinations and delusions. There are many different types of delusions and hallucinations which I have gone into detail over in a previous article called The Positive and Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia: In Detail. Delusions and hallucinations can severely disrupt an individual’s thoughts, emotion, behaviour, and perception. This can make day to day life extremely difficult for those suffering from psychosis.
When an individual experiences psychosis, they will have their own unique experience and set of symptoms as psychosis effects each individual differently. An example of this is those who suffer from psychosis in third world countries often experience positive hallucinations and delusions which are uplifting rather than frightening, whereas in the western world hallucinations and delusions are typically of a negative stance.
Psychotic episodes can last for any duration of time, and those episodes which are severe enough often end in the individual being hospitalized in order to stabilize them before they are release. The duration and how often an individual experiences psychosis for often depends on the underlying cause of the psychotic episode.
There are a few different methods used to treat psychosis. An immediate intervention is typically the use of antipsychotic medication, however, this is very much trial and error as medication effects each individual differently and those who find a medication that works for them, may not work for other people.
As previously said, hospitalization is a common treatment for psychosis.
In the long term, it is important for the individual to recognize what triggers a psychotic episode, so they can be prevented. However, this does not always work as psychosis is a very complicated issue which can leave the said person with a lack of insight, making them unaware of the fact that they are currently experiencing psychosis.
Psychological therapy such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) can also be used in treating and preventing psychosis from reoccurring. Family therapy is also a useful tool as it decreases the chance of the individual needing to be hospitalized as their family now know how to cope with and help treat the psychosis.
Social support is another factor in treating psychosis, this can include things such as accommodation, work, education and any other social needs.