These pages explain what psychosis is and its possible causes and treatments. You will find them useful if you are affected by psychosis or if you have a friend or family member who is affected.
- Psychosis is a medical term used to describe hearing or seeing things, or holding unusual beliefs that other people do not share.
- Common examples include hearing voices or believing that people are trying to do you harm.
- You can experience psychosis for a wide variety of reasons. For example it can be due to having a mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It can also be caused by drug use, brain injury or extreme stress.
- There is no one single cause of psychosis but researchers believe that genes, biological factors and environment may play a part.
- In the NHS, you should be offered medication and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help with your symptoms.
- To access treatment for psychosis, you usually need to have an assessment by specialist mental health services.
- If you are experiencing very severe psychotic symptoms you may need more urgent help such as going into hospital.
- If you are trying to communicate with a person experiencing psychosis there are communication methods you can try.
- There are different perspectives on how we should view and deal with psychosis. This includes listening to the voices or trying to understand the meaning of the unusual beliefs.
These pages are created by the Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service in accordance with the Information Standard. Last reviewed in February 2014. Next review February 2016.
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