Psychosis

Psychosis is a serious symptom of certain mental health problems. It also can be caused by some physical disease, traumatic experiences, or drugs and toxins. Psychosis involves perceiving reality differently from those around you. The difference between reality and what you think become blurred in your mind.

There are different kinds of psychosis, depending on the cause:

  • Medical problems like infections, thyroid disorders, some cancers, sleep deprivation, low or high blood sugar levels, or dementia

  • Drug-induced from alcohol, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, PCP, or others

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Depression

  • Schizophrenia

Symptoms

The symptoms of psychosis may not all be the same for each person. But they usually involve:

  • Hallucinations. Seeing, hearing, feeling, or even tasting or smelling things that are not there.

  • Delusions. Believing something that is not true, or false beliefs that are not part of a person's religious or cultural background.

There may also be disturbances in thinking, speech, and behavior, which can include:

  • Hearing voices that others don't hear

  • Seeing things that others don't see

  • Racing thoughts

  • Lack of energy

  • Feeling very fearful

  • Disorganized speech

  • Intentional or unintentional bodily harm to others

  • Paranoia

  • Trouble thinking or concentrating clearly

  • Depression, feeling suicidal

  • Insomnia

  • Withdrawal from those around you

Treatment for psychosis depends on the cause. Medicine, with or without psychotherapy, is often used.

Home care

  • Find a healthcare provider and therapist who meet your needs. Seek help when you feel like your symptoms are returning.

  • Be certain to tell each of your healthcare providers about all of the prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and supplements you take. Certain supplements interact with medicines and can result in dangerous side effects. Ask your pharmacist when you have questions about drug interactions.

  • Tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions.

  • Be sure to take your medicine as directed even if you think you don't need it.

  • Follow-up with lab tests as advised by your healthcare provider.

  • Talk with your family about your feelings and thoughts. Ask them to help you recognize any behavior changes so you can get help and, if needed, medicines can be adjusted.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your counselor, therapist or psychiatrist as advised.

Call 911

Call 911 if you:

  • Have suicidal thoughts, a suicide plan, and the means to carry out the plan

  • Have troubled breathing

  • Are very confused

  • Are very drowsy or have trouble awakening

  • Faint or lose consciousness

  • Have a rapid heart rate, very low heart rate, or a new irregular heart rate

  • Have a seizure

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Gradual or rapid return of psychotic symptoms

  • Feeling like you want to harm yourself or another

  • Feeling extremely depressed

  • Feeling very anxious, agitated, or angry

  • Feeling out of control or being controlled by others

  • Unable to care for yourself

  • Seeing things or hearing voices that you know aren't real