Early Signs Of Psychosis: 6 Signs You Should Pay Attention To

Reviewed by Whitney White, MS CMHC, NCC., LPC

Published 12/28/2020

When someone experiences psychosis, this means they think or process things in a way that is different from others. This can eventually lead to a person being unable to determine what is real and what isn’t. Here is a look at the early signs of psychosis and other important signs that you should pay attention to.

What Is Psychosis

Psychosis occurs when your brain is unable to process things correctly. People with psychosis are thought to have lost some of their sense of reality, which can worsen as the condition progresses or when they are unable to get the mental health support they need.

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When people experience psychosis, they may have a problem determining what is real and what is just in their minds. As you can imagine, this can be difficult when it comes to keeping up with a routine, work, school, or family life, causing great disruptions in a person’s life.

What Are The Early Warning Signs Of Psychosis

As is explained on the NAMI website, psychosis is not a condition where things happen suddenly. When someone experiences psychosis, there were most likely warning signs earlier in their life.

Some of these warning signs are:

  • Not being about to care about hygiene
  • Steep decline in grades
  • Not seeming comfortable around other people
  • Staying away from others often

Once a person experiences one or more of these warning signs, they may soon experience the first signs of psychosis as well.

What Are The First Signs Of Psychosis

The first signs of psychosis are the things that happen to a person the first time they have a psychotic episode or a period when they are experiencing psychosis.

Some of these signs include:

  • Staying away from people they care about
  • Not taking care of themselves properly
  • Showing emotions that do not fit the situation
  • Having visual or auditory hallucinations

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8 Signs of Psychosis to Pay Attention to

There are specific signs of psychosis that you should pay attention to.

  1. Hallucinations: This refers to hearing or seeing things that are not there and are not experienced by other people. A person can experience hallucinations affecting any of the five senses but seeing and hearing are the most common. If someone you know is experiencing hallucinations, they might need to seek help immediately.
  2. Delusions: This is a feeling that others tell you the wrong information or simply believe things that are not true. In some cases, a person may think they have a special purpose in life or people out to get them.
  3. Depression: By itself, depression is a serious mental health condition, so when it is present in someone with psychosis, this can be even more troubling.
  4. Not Speaking Clearly: A person experiencing psychosis may not be able to talk in a way that you can understand. They might change topics frequently and not make much sense to you when they are speaking.
  5. Trouble in Daily Life: At times, a person with psychosis will be unable to do much of anything that is considered routine. They may stop eating, sleeping, or bathing, which is a cause for concern. This may be related to a loss of motivation as well.
  6. Thoughts of Suicide: In some instances, those with psychosis may show suicidal tendencies. If you notice this or experience this, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

What Are The Signs Of A Psychotic Break

When you hear the term psychotic break, this is used to describe a time when a person experiences symptoms related to psychosis, either for the first time or the first time in a while. The signs will be much like the other signs expressed earlier in the article.

What Can Be Done

If you or someone you care about exhibits symptoms associated with psychosis, take this psychosis test to find out more information about your symptoms. The test isn’t a diagnostic tool, but can help you determine how your symptoms line up with psychosis.

There are two types of treatment recommended to treat psychosis and are used together in most cases.

Medicines

Since the symptoms are considered quite severe in some cases of psychosis, a psychiatrist may prescribe medicines to help manage certain symptoms. It is necessary to keep an open dialog with your doctor or psychiatrist and pay attention to your symptoms to note if and when they change. It can take a while to find a prescription that works well for you, so you may need to try more than one type before a specific medicine provides what you need. This is discussed in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience.

A good way to keep track is to keep a journal and note the symptoms you have each day. This will give you an idea of when symptoms change or when you gain additional symptoms.

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Psychotherapy

There is evidence that psychotherapy can help someone with psychosis. A therapist can help a person can be learn how to work on their stress levels, how they interact with others, and ways to manage emotions that may be troubling.

Other Things to Know

In some circumstances, psychosis is present alongside another mental disorder. It is associated with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, so it is important to get treatment as soon as you can when you notice that you are experiencing the relevant signs and symptoms. If someone you care about is experiencing them, there is help out there for you as well. Talk to your therapist about what can be done and how you can work through it and be as supportive as possible. A person with psychosis may need a support system, and having support for yourself may help you be a good support to someone you care about going through psychosis.  

Possible causes of this condition are trauma or an additional existing condition, whether physical or mental. This is another reason it is important to get the treatment you need as soon as you can. Therapists can teach strategies that will help you learn how to think differently, which can be useful to you in all stages of life. Moreover, if you have a physical ailment, this is something that needs to be treated by a medical professional. In some cases, a person may have a health condition that contributes to psychosis, so the treatment plan will have to include treating that condition as well. When you can, be proactive about your health, especially if there is someone in your family that experiences psychosis, as this may give you a better chance of experiencing it yourself.

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Is there A Cure?

There is no cure for psychosis, but it is important to note that a person that experiences psychosis could have it for a short period or for a long time, or it may show up in the form of a psychotic break sporadically. If you have any symptoms related to psychosis, it is a good idea to get treatment as soon as possible. This might help limit the severity of your psychosis, where you may not have to experience it for many years.

However, even with chronic psychosis, it can be treated, and people can feel better and lessen their symptoms. When you follow a well thought out treatment plan and do the things that your psychiatrist and therapist suggest, you will be well on your way to seeing a reduction of certain symptoms. Many people will see less severe symptoms within the first few years of treatment, but it may not take that long for others. There’s no way to know for sure until you are in treatment for yourself.

If your psychosis is caused by a physical ailment or a mental condition, you must seek treatment for these things as well. When you don’t, psychosis treatment is unlikely to have a positive effect.When someone you know is experiencing signs of psychosis, do your best to be supportive. You can’t make someone get mental health help, but you can be there for them until they decide to do so.