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What is Psychosis?

Psychosis is a symptom of serious mental illness and if you are experiencing symptoms of psychosis it is a sign that you are not well and need support.

A person experiencing psychosis loses touch with what is usually accepted as reality. They may feel paranoid, see things that aren’t there, hear voices or have delusions, or have confused thoughts.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can include:

  • Hallucinations – hearing voices no-one else hears, seeing things that aren’t there, or feeling, smelling or tasting unusual sensations with no obvious cause
  • Believing others can influence their thoughts, or they can influence the thoughts of others or control events
  • Believing they are being watched, followed or persecuted by others or that their life is in danger
  • Feeling their thoughts have sped up or slowed down
  • Thinking or talking in a confused way.

How is it treated?

If you are experiencing psychosis, it is likely that you will be offered anti-psychotic medication to help with your symptoms. Anti-psychotics or neuroleptics are usually recommended as the first treatment for psychosis and work by blocking the effect of dopamine (a chemical that transmits messages in the brain). Talking therapy is often offered to help with the emotional effects of psychosis, either through counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy which is based on an understanding of how people make sense of their experiences and why some people become distressed by them.

Watch video clip

CAMHS consultant –  Dr Manjiri Lee explains Psychosis, the symptoms and treatments in this short video clip.

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