Information about Psychosis

Psychosis, also known as a psychotic episode, is when an individual percieves or interprets something in a different way to others around them. The most common types of psychosis are hallucinations and delusions. Episodes can be both positive and negative and affect individuals in different ways. These episodes can be short or long term and an individual may only experience one in a lifetime.

Psychotic episodes usually affect the way you behave and function in day to day life. They can also upset the people around you who may not fully understand what is happening. Professional help makes all th difference when you experience psychosis, whether as a single episode or more frequently.

Symptoms of psychosis fall into three broad categories:


  • seeing things that others don’t
  • objects appearing distorted or moving
  • experiencing tastes, smells or sensations without cause
  • hearing voices


  • delusions of grandeur – believing you are an important person
  • paranoia – thinking someone or something is trying to harm you

Disorganised thoughts or speech:

  • racing thoughts
  • moving quickly from one idea to another
  • speaking quickly
  • changing the topic very quickly
  • finding it difficult to concentrate

Potential causes of Psychosis:

Psychosis is often a symptom of a mental health problem, however, there are some things which can make it more likely that you will experience a psychotic episode. Some of these are; physical illness or injury, drugs, sleep deprivation, hunger, bereavement, abuse, trauma and family inheritance.

Associated mental health problems:

    • Psychosis is usually considered to be a symptom of a mental health problem, rather than a standalone issue. However, it is possible to experience psychosis without a formal diagnoses of another issue. Some of the related mental health difficutlies are:

    • Severe depression
    • Schizophrenia
    • Bipolar disorder
    • Schizoaffective Disorder
    • Paranoid Personality Disorder
        • Schizotypal Personality Disorder
        • Postpartum Psychosis
        • Delusional or Paranoid Disorder
        • Brief Psychotic Disorder


    NICE guidelines (2015) suggest that some of the most effective treatments for psychosis are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and medication.

    Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – CBT for psychosis examines how people make sense of what they are experiencing and why this is causing distress. The aim is to find different ways of understanding what has been happening to you, achieve your personal goals and regain control of your life. Goals could include reducing distress, employment or returning to education.

    Medication – a psychiatrist or GP will be able to prescribe medication depending on the symptoms you are experiencing at the time, the severity of the symptoms, past experiences, physical health and how likely you are to consistently take your medication. Most people with psychosis will be offered antipsychotic drugs.

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