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Psychosis | What Is Psychosis? | Signs Of Psychosis

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by ★ SF Staff (CP), Sep 22, 2015.

  1. ★ SF Staff (CP)

    ★ SF Staff (CP) Administrator Staff Member Safety & Support

    Hi everyone!!

    This thread is all about psychosis and psychotic disorders and provides information on what the disorder is, the signs and symptoms, treatments and provides a list of links and resources that you may find useful. We also welcome you to discuss your experiences with psychosis in this thread with other members.

    What is psychosis?

    Psychosis is a mental health issue that causes people to perceive the world around them differently from people around them and can be described as “losing contact with reality”. People who experience psychosis may present with bizarre and unusual behaviour with personality changes depending on the severity of the illness. People with psychosis can suffer with delusions, hallucinations, or both and in many cases severely impairs insight. It is a very severe condition that can put somebody or others at risk depending on the severity of symptoms so it is important that you seek help immediately if you believe you are suffering with symptoms of psychosis.

    Some common psychotic disorders include:

    Schizophrenia – This is a mental illness that affects the way that you think and psychiatrists class this a psychotic illness. It consists of delusional thinking, hallucinations, disordered thinking and personality changes. Schizophrenia usually starts when you are younger and is a chronic mental health illness but with the right treatment you can achieve stability.
    Bipolar Disorder - A mood disorder that can include psychotic symptoms
    Drug/alcohol induced psychosis - Psychosis induced by drugs and alcohol
    Psychotic depression - Major depression with psychotic symptoms
    Post-partum psychosis/depression - Psychosis that can manifest after giving birth to a baby. This is a severe condition and requires immediate medical attention!

    Some people mistake psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia as having a split personality, but this is a misconception. Having psychosis means you are experiencing something that seems real to you, but in reality is not what other people are experiencing.

    Signs and Symptoms

    Symptoms of psychosis can be split into 4 categories, these are:


    Hallucinations are where somebody perceives something and believe it is there when in reality it is not and can affect all of the 5 senses.
    -Sight – Somebody who is hallucinating may see objects, people or animals that are not there. This is not always an unpleasant experience, but some images and experiences can be terrifying.
    -Sounds – Somebody who is hallucinating may hear unpleasant, angry or derogatory voices that are telling them horrible things about themselves or encouraging them to harm themselves or carry out an act. Not all voices are unpleasant and can be friendly to the person who hears them. Some people may even have a mixture of good voices and bad voices.
    - Touch – Somebody who is hallucinating may think somebody is touching them when there is nothing there.
    -Taste – Some people suffering with psychosis complain that they have a horrible taste in their mouth
    -Smell – Some people with psychosis can smell scents that aren’t there. These can be bother pleasant and unpleasant.


    Delusions are patterns of disordered thinking where a person has a belief that something is real when in fact it is not. These can be split into 3 categories:

    -Paranoid delusions – These are delusions where somebody with psychosis may feel like they are being persecuted or followed. An example of this would be the belief that the government has tried to implant mind control devices in their brain and may be paranoid that there are cameras and microphones in their house.
    -Delusions of grandeur – These are delusions where a person with psychosis may believe they are a person of importance and significance with a specific mission. An example of this is somebody believe they are a prophet and are on a special mission from God. Other people may think they have to decipher a special message.
    -Delusions of reference – These are delusions where a person with psychosis may believe that there are special messages for them in songs, on the radio and on the TV or can hear people talking to them via these means.

    Disordered Thought

    People with psychosis may experience very disordered thoughts and thinking. This can include rapid and constant speech, swapping from one topic to another mid-sentence and sudden loss in train of thought resulting in an abrupt pause in conversation or activity.

    Lack of Insight

    People suffering with psychosis are often unaware that their behaviour is irrational and that their delusions and hallucinations are not real. They may not even understand that their delusions and behaviour can be dangerous.


    Most people will not actively seek out treatment themselves as they are unaware that they are psychotic and are usually diagnosed in their acute episode where their symptoms are active. Only a psychiatrist can diagnose a psychotic illness. To treat a psychotic episode your psychiatrist will normally prescribe anti-psychotic medication to aid with your psychotic symptoms. For chronic conditions you may require a course of therapy to help you manage your thinking patterns and may attend therapeutic communities.

    Links and Resources

    Here are a few links and resources that may help you when dealing with psychosis:



    Here is a list of resources to help you manage your psychosis:

    If you have any other useful links and resources then please share with us!

    Share Your Experiences!

    Please use this thread to share your experiences of psychosis with other members. Sharing experiences and hints and tips are useful to other members, and be sure to post if are you are looking for support, help and advice.
    pooky likes this.
  2. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    Thank you for this very informative thread.
    When I was on Stilnoct(ambien/zolpidem)- I could see things when I closed my eyes, like little blue lights for instance but they were very comforting and relaxing. One day though after taking it I could see coffins everywhere, it was scary but tolerable. Is this considered psychosis or a side effect?
  3. Butterfly

    Butterfly Sim Addict Staff Alumni SF Author SF Supporter

    It could be psychosis but my general rule of thumb is, if you are experiencing it but able to tell the difference between what is real and what is not it is not likely to be a full psychosis. Sometimes when I take sedating medication I can often hallucinate between the time I take the med and before I go to sleep but I know it's not real.

    At one point I hallucinated dead people knocking at the door and would see spiders crawling everywhere and feel like I had bugs crawling underneath my skin but I kinda knew it wasn't real but it was terrifying none the less. Problems start for me if I hear voices.

    I also struggle with delusions at times. Sometimes I have believed I was meant to deliver a purpose or message and I get really obsessed with things. Other times I believe that I am being followed or someone is out to get me. Last time I was a bit manic I thought the media conglomerates were conspiring against me but I didn't know why lol.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2015
  4. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    wow,scary times indeed!! Yeah,. when I halluincated I knew it was not real but t'was still freaking me out a bit. Seroquel on the other hand, when I took that I did not know what was real, I believe seroquel sent me into psychosis a few times after it stopped agreeing with me.

    Thanks for explaining the difference and sharing your experience, it is frightening but good to know the info :)
  5. Butterfly

    Butterfly Sim Addict Staff Alumni SF Author SF Supporter

    Lynn, you definitely experienced hallucinations, there is a special name for seeing the blue dots but that is not psychosis. The coffins you saw were hallucinations and you may have been mildly psychotic but if it resolved itself and you knew it wasn't real then it's hard to say. A lot of my hallucinations (visual) I know aren't real but it depends on my other symptoms as well.

    However there is no denying that hallucinations and psychosis can be very unpleasant and scary.
  6. bhawk

    bhawk Well-Known Member

    Suffering from a psychotic disorder i found olanzapine has done an amazing job. I do still see and smell the odd hallucination but they are no longer as "real"
    When ill the hallucinations seemed somewhat more real than actual reality. now i can dismiss the odd one. I have someone i can talk to so she knows if anything is starting to get out of hand but so far the meds are as good as i could wish for.
    I also found along with the diminishing reality of hallucinations, i also stopped having the delusions too....GO OLANZAPINE!
  7. sashasara

    sashasara Member

    I have had the diagnosis of psychosis in the past and it has changed to delusional disorder. I wish I could talk to someone about it. Someone who would listen. The truth is I'm not crazy. I just know the truth about the government implanting microchips into our brains to control our minds. But if I say that to someone they don't listen. It's hard.
    vyrhoci likes this.
  8. Inspire&Inquire

    Inspire&Inquire SF Supporter

    In my own experience, I suffer from delusions of grandeur, and in extreme cases, after sleep loss, have suffered from disorganized speech. These have also been accompanied by a mood disorder, either unstoppable confidence or a feeling of bliss. These symptoms seem to be accompanied by a loss of sleep and neglecting to take prescribed medications. Early signs are a lack of empathy, I do or say hurtful things and have no idea how I'm coming across. Lack the feeling of remorse. Psychosis usually follows these signs. It feels like when I'm undergoing a psychosis that events are conspiring against me. For instance I'll tell an incredibly offensive joke that I think is funny.
    I have a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, which wasn't mentioned in the article but is similar to having bipolar and schizophrenia at the same time, it is not usually as severe or chronic as schizophrenia is.
  9. memyselfand1

    memyselfand1 Well-Known Member

    I experienced a psychotic break two weeks ago and it was absolutely the worst thing that has ever happened to me and it literally frightened my parents, my dad had to rush home from work in order to take me to a+e. It was like my mind has could completely ripped out of my brain and I was stuck in game i couldn't get out alone. I hadn't slept in 4 days straight just taking tiny cat naps, I wasn't eating that much or drinking my favourite tea, I was so stressed from believing I had killed my dog and in fact it turns out to his gut trouble and had to spend two days in hospital, to having numerous problems at work, one minute telling everything is fine and next minute not knowing if my job is make the 16 the weeks and then desperately running to another job and only lasting two hours crying in the middle of it to Justin Bieber and Ed Sheran and then getting myself into my overdraft and not being able to pay it back.

    I had a mixture of delusions, hallucinations and paranoid and at the hospital i just kicked off big time, i hit a nurse who was trying to help me and i kicked the door when the doctor is coming in. I seriously believed i was on breaking bad as i was talking like them. I remember saying things like i love G, i hate G, i love my parents, hate them want everyone dead and basically changing personalities. I was then high/euphoric and then extremely depressed crying and jumping around complete opposites i know. I so badly wanted to sleep yet my mind and body were jumping.

    Finally when things calmed down,, I spat out a sleeping pill, the doctors there almost sectioned me but they had no beds and decided i would be better off at home where i got to sleep at 6am still in the episode. I then slept for a few days after taking my anti-psychotics and sleeping meds which was given by Dr K and I am now going to see my gp on tuesday for extra help. I am gonna ask about possible injection route if these meds are successful and I am also looking possible day unit for mental health not learning disabilities. If it means a stay in a place thats scary, frightening and sets me off its best if it happens in a safe place and then finally cmht can actually see a crisis, rather than just fob me off with pathetic talking therapies, jobseeking groups and i dn't feel as i am lying to anyone or making all this bs up.
  10. beatdown

    beatdown Well-Known Member

    I have some experiences of this. 2 times Ive seen a white light flash as I was in bed waiting for sleep, and many other times Ive heard voices, usually sounding like my mothers, telling me horrible things about myself, either when Im trying to sleep or just woke up.
  11. birdie5

    birdie5 SF Supporter

    When I was going through a rough time a few years back, my mind broke down. I found myself drawing pictures of animals and objects. The ( not very nice ) people involved were shown as cheetahs. Bats were my protector and I drew pictures of them and put them on my head board so they would protect me. It went away after the situation was resolved.
  12. Nicole tuecke

    Nicole tuecke Well-Known Member

    I think ibhave been experiencing some forbofvthis for awhile now n its driving me crazy
  13. pooky

    pooky You are valuable :-)

    I have schizophrenia. I was diagnosed in 2005. I am medication free for six months
  14. Gonz

    Gonz Well-Known Member

    I was recently "diagnosed" as having major depression with psychotic features. Specifically, I have paranoid delusions that vary in intensity depending on my emotional state. I'll have stretches where I am aware that these beliefs are false and can dismiss the thoughts with varying degrees of ease. And stretches, when I am having a depressive episode (which have become more frequent, due to life events), where those thoughts and beliefs control my life and I cannot be convinced that they are not true. Most of the time I am somewhere in between; questioning the beliefs, but being unable to put them aside entirely.

    I put diagnosed in quotes because I was referred to have a physical to rule out any medical causes before that diagnosis was made official, and I chose to not go to the physical and not to pursue treatment for the time being because, frankly, this scares the hell out of me and avoidance has always been my coping mechanism of choice. But I don't think that is going to work in the long term.

    So I wanted to ask, for those who've dealt with something similar, what does treatment look like? What form does it take? Medication, obviously, but what are the side effects? Or are there effective treatments that don't involve being medicated? Is there any kind of talk therapy? And what does that consist of? And, if so, how do I find someone competent? I know I may have to see several to find a good fit. But I've seen a number of therapists in the past, none of whom were helpful, and I just don't have it in me to try too many more times, so any advice on that would be extra helpful.

    I'm sorry, I know this is a lot of questions and I don't expect anyone to be able to answer all of it, but any insight would be very much appreciated.
    bobbob likes this.
  15. Innocent Forever

    Innocent Forever Go as long as you can. And then take another step. Chat Pro SF Supporter

    Sending hugs.
    My answer is not from personal experience but from the experience of people I know.
    I've a friend on meds whose side effect (as are many here) is that she eats more. She doesn't HAVE to eat more, but being on meds often makes it harder re food especially if a person is prone to over-eating.
    Her goal is to go off meds eventually with her psychiatrists approval.
    Psychosis treatment is meds, but it doesn't always have to be. The people I know who were psychotic were enough so that they couldn't put it aside or live life.
    You're right that avoidance won't work long term. There are therapies that can help. The therapies I personally think would be helpful are things like ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy), DBT (dialectical behavioural therapy), Innate Health (which isn't therapy per se) or anything along the same lines. The reason I'm choosing those is because the essence of them all is learning that you aren't your thoughts. Learning to accept yourself regardless of your thoughts. Learning how to be okay with whatever is going on around you. So that, even if you believe something, you don't have to act on it, or can take actions regardless if it's going against your beliefs. It's the stuff I want to learn and those are the ones I've heard about that would be a good fit.
    To be honest, what treatment would look like for you would be different to what it would be for everyone. So for some people they'd go on meds long term. Some people would go on medication with the goal of it being short term. Some people wouldn't try it. And the side-effects are different for every person.
    I don't know what to tell you about therapists :( I, personally, have tried loads of therapists, and the last therapist I spoke to eventually found my pushing him away too much for him and left. I've gained very little from therapists, gained much more from awareness. That's because the therapists I went to, most of them found my issues too much for them to handle. I know plenty of people who have had great experiences with therapists. Therapy really is about finding a therapist who is a good fit for you. The ideal is to meet a therapist beforehand to see if there's a feasibility of them being a fit, discuss their modality, how they think they can help you, see if your goals align, find out about their supervision, what they would do if they had an issue etc. This is BEFORE therapy. I don't think I'd be able to do that, but that's the ideal. And then spend the first few sessions getting to know each other and making a working plan of action. I know finding the right therapist is hard. I also know it's doable....
    Sending strength your way.....
    ps, just my random inexperienced thoughts.
    bobbob likes this.
  16. Gonz

    Gonz Well-Known Member

    Thanks @Innocent Forever, this is really helpful.

    Can I ask, re your friend, how effective the meds are? I mean, I’m sure her symptoms are at least lessened somewhat, but have they gone away entirely? I understand if you can’t answer that with certainty.

    This has been my experience as well. At least with the ones that weren’t outright assholes. But I really don’t like being medicated (though I am trying to accept that it will likely be necessary for at least a while), and I don’t see myself getting to the point where I don’t need meds without therapy.

    Just wish there was some better way to figure out who’s going to be a good fit, given that getting out and talking to people is already so difficult for me and talking about this stuff in particular is one of the most stress-inducing interactions I can imagine.

    Thank you so much.
  17. Innocent Forever

    Innocent Forever Go as long as you can. And then take another step. Chat Pro SF Supporter

    They've actually gone away entirely - that is what she tells me. Although she says that the treatment method for her if she would spiral would be upping the meds, whilst she actually believes it doesn't have to be, but she has to learn how to.
    This is probably really true. That you can get to a point where you can handle your life without meds, but you would need therapy. Although therapy doesn't always have to be with someone else. When I was saying something to be my dr, his reply was 'so, you're being your own therapist?'. There is stuff you can learn on your own. And I know that therapy is important (despite my dr saying that, he also told me he wished he could find me a therapist).
    I think there is unfortunately not much way of knowing who will because every therapist interacts differently with every client, so the therapist who is great for your friend would be meh for you and vice versa.
    I know there are people who explain how to find a good therapist, but I'm not really sure how to.
    Just remember, you're worth it, and you can get there...
  18. Gonz

    Gonz Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I’m kinda trying to come up with a long term plan that, ultimately, ends up with me being med-free and not needing a therapist. Trying to be realistic about it though. I figure it’ll look something like this:

    Meds to get the false beliefs under control and meds to help with the depression. I may not like it but, in the short term at least, I think it’s probably necessary. The beliefs are sort of tied to my emotional state so, if I can get to the point where I’m no longer having the major depressive episodes, then I won’t have to worry about the beliefs anymore and can stop that medication. All the while I'm seeing a therapist to learn how to deal with/prevent the depressive episodes, so that I can stop that medication as well. I really really hope I can find someone I can work with, because I’ve let things progress to the point where I don’t think I can handle myself without some help. Then, once I've been med-free for at least a little while and am confident in my ability to manage my emotional state without that crutch, therapy can end.
  19. Innocent Forever

    Innocent Forever Go as long as you can. And then take another step. Chat Pro SF Supporter

    I really like your plan
    Have you made the dr's appointment (for a full physical examination)?
  20. Gonz

    Gonz Well-Known Member

    Ah, I see I left out the first and most important part of the plan: the weeks of waffling back and forth over whether or not to actually go through with it.