Psychosis
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What is psychosis?
Psychosis is a mental health problem which causes people to perceive or interpret things differently from those around them. This might involve hallucinations or delusions.
The two main symptoms of psychosis are:
  • hallucinations – where a person hears, sees and, in some cases, feels, smells or tastes things that aren't there; a common hallucination is hearing voices
  • delusions – where a person believes things that, when examined rationally, are obviously untrue – for example, thinking your next door neighbour is planning to kill you
The combination of hallucinations and delusional thinking can often severely disrupt perception, thinking, emotion, and behaviour.

Experiencing the symptoms of psychosis is often referred to as having a psychotic episode.

What causes psychosis?
Psychosis isn't a condition in itself – it is triggered by other conditions. It is sometimes possible to identify the cause of psychosis as a specific mental health condition, such as:
  • schizophrenia – a condition that causes a range of psychological symptoms, including hallucinations and delusions
  • bipolar disorder – a mental health condition that affects mood; a person with bipolar disorder can have episodes of depression (lows) and mania (highs)
  • severe depression – some people with depression also have symptoms of psychosis when they're very depressed
Psychosis can also be triggered by traumatic experiences, stress, or physical conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, a brain tumour, or as a result of drug misuse or alcohol misuse.

How often a psychotic episode occurs and how long it lasts can depend on the underlying cause. For example, schizophrenia can be long term, but most people can make a good recovery and about a quarter only have a single psychotic episode. Episodes related to bipolar disorder usually resolve, but may recur.

Read more about the causes of psychosis.

What are the symptoms of psychosis?
Someone who develops psychosis will have their own unique set of symptoms and experiences, according to their particular circumstances.

However, four main symptoms are associated with a psychotic episode, they are:
  • hallucinations
  • delusions
  • confused and disturbed thoughts
  • lack of insight and self-awareness
How can we help you?
We provide an Early Intervention in Psychosis Service for people age 14 to 65 in the boroughs of WarringtonHalton, KnowsleySt Helens and 

Wigan


If you feel you are in mental health crisis, visit our help in a crisis page for advice and support.
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