What is psychosis and its symptoms?

Psychosis describes a condition and a set of symptoms that includes delusions, hallucinations, and disturbed thinking.

The experience of some these symptoms is called a psychotic episode.

Psychotic episodes vary in length and frequency. For some people they can last for a few days while for others they can continue until they are treated. Some people have them regularly while for others episodes may happen rarely.

If you have a psychotic episode, you may not know that you are unwell. You may believe that what you are experiencing is actually happening.

For example, you may believe:

  • you are being followed,
  • your life is at risk,
  • you are being threatened.

Psychosis is a symptom of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder.

It can also be a symptom of dementia, some forms of personality disorder and Parkinson’s disease.

Psychosis can be caused by:

  • drug and alcohol abuse,
  • severe stress or anxiety,
  • severe depression,
  • sleep deprivation,
  • rare side effects of some types of medication.

If you are concerned about the medication you are taking and psychosis, please speak with your doctor.

Medications known to include possible psychotic side effects include:

  • Muscle relaxants
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Cardiovascular medication
  • Antihypertensive medications
  • Analgesics
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antiparkinson medications
  • Chemotherapy agents
  • Corticosteroids

Types of supports for psychosis?

The treatment for psychosis can include a combination of:

  • social supports like family support  or group support,
  • psychological therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and other talking therapies, and
  • medication

Your doctor will be able to help you find the best treatment for you. Go to our recovery page to learn more.