The word psychosis describes a state of mind where a person has thoughts and experiences that are out of touch with reality.
Psychosis is a mental heath problem (like depression or anxiety), which causes distress because of the way it makes a person feel.
Everybody’s experience of psychosis is different but there are some common symptoms. You may have experienced some of these:
• Delusions: Strong beliefs that you hold but other people around you do not share. These beliefs can often be about threats from other people; these are called paranoid or persecutory delusions. An example might be that you believe that a group of people are out to get you, e.g. drug dealers. Some people have beliefs that they are very important or have special powers.
• Hallucinations: Hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling or tasting something that is not there. Sometimes these experiences can be pleasant but sometimes they can be upsetting. For example you may hear a voice telling you that you are a bad person who has done terrible things.
• Changed feelings: Experiencing hallucinations and delusions is very distressing and you may feel very anxious and down because of these experiences.
Some people also find …
– They feel ‘flat’ or don’t really feel anything
– Their feelings change very quickly
– That they are out of step with how other people feel.
• Confused thinking: These experiences make it …
– Hard to concentrate or remember things
– Hard to follow things people say or that you read
– Hard to link thoughts together and make sense of things
• Changed behaviour: These experiences can make you behave differently and your family and friends may notice this change. For example you might avoid seeing people because you believe you are in danger.