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Psychosis

Psychosis interview

Psychosis - experiencing a different version of reality to those around you - might involve odd beliefs, paranoia or hallucinations. Psychosis can be frightening when you’re going through it and recovery can seem daunting: find out where to start.

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis describes the experience you have when you have lost touch with what other people accept as reality. It is a term health professionals use to describe a set of symptoms that can be associated with several disorders. In the same way that a set of symptoms like a sore throat, cough and blocked nose could be caused by flu, bronchitis or a cold a set of psychotic symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations or disordered thinking are often caused by mental disorders, such as schizophrenia or bipolar affective disorder but could also be caused by other things such as drug misuse or organic brain disorders.    

An Overview of Symptoms 

Here are just a couple of symptoms associated with psychosis but for a more complete list click here.  

  • Delusions: Beliefs you have which are not real for example, believing you are particularly special or that you’re being controlled by others.
  • Hallucinations: A sensation that is experienced by yourself as real but not by others. It could involve hearing, seeing, smelling or feeling something or someone that isn’t there and that other people cannot sense. 

“I would hear voices telling me not to talk to my family or give any information away about myself”                        

Anna, 23 years

Help Steps

  1. Step 1: Talk to someone you trust.

    This could be your best mate, parents, boyfriend, girlfriend or tutor. It might feel difficult knowing where to start or you might think they won’t understand but it’s important that someone knows what is happening.

    • it can be a weight off your mind to say it out loud;
    • you will need their support if you are struggling;
    • someone just being there can help you relax and feel less isolated;
    • they can offer reassurance that things will get better;
    • they can motivate you when you can’t motivate yourself;
    • they can help you find professional help or help you with practical things like booking appointments.

    We really recommend talking to someone but if you feel you can’t talk to someone you know then the Samaritans offer confidential advice and support and can be contacted on 08457 90 90 90.

  2. Step 2: Self-help

    Self-help therapies are a range of techniques you can apply yourself to help cope with stress and feel in control. They will not treat psychosis alone but could be carried out alongside any other therapy you may be having. Discuss this with your health professional. Self-help could involve completing exercises that you read, watch, listen to or complete online, it could be using relaxation training or it could be attending support groups.

    Have a look at our resources for psychosis

  3. Step 3: Finding professional help and support.

    Psychosis is not something you should try and deal with alone and it is very unlikely to improve without professional treatment. You could contact your GP for a referral to an appropriate service; this may be a psychosis service and could include psychological therapy or medication. There are also lots of local and national support networks that your GP will be able to put you in touch with.

    Have a look at what works for treating psychosis and see our Interactive Map for local help.

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