Psychosis is a mental health problem that causes people to perceive or interpret things differently from those around them. This might involve hallucinations or delusions.
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The two main symptoms of psychosis are:
The combination of hallucinations and delusional thinking can cause severe distress and a change in behaviour.
Experiencing the symptoms of psychosis is often referred to as having a psychotic episode.
Read about the symptoms of psychosis.
You should see your GP immediately if you're experiencing symptoms of psychosis. It's important psychosis is treated as soon as possible, as early treatment can be more effective.
Your GP may ask you some questions to help determine what's causing your psychosis. They should also refer you to a mental health specialist for further assessment and treatment.
Read more about diagnosing psychosis.
If you're concerned about someone you know, you could contact their GP. If they're receiving support from a mental health service, you could contact their mental health worker.
If you think the person's symptoms are placing them at possible risk of harm, you can:
A number of mental health helplines are also available, which can offer expert advice.
Read more about how to get help for others.
It's sometimes possible to identify the cause of psychosis as a specific mental health condition, such as:
Psychosis can also be triggered by:
How often a psychotic episode occurs and how long it lasts can depend on the underlying cause.
Read about the causes of psychosis.
Treatment for psychosis involves using a combination of:
After an episode of psychosis, most people who get better with medication need to continue taking it for at least a year. Around 50% of people need to take long-term medication to prevent symptoms recurring.
If a person's psychotic episodes are severe, they may need to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital for treatment.
Read about treating psychosis.
People with a history of psychosis are more likely than others to have drug or alcohol misuse problems, or both.
Some people use these substances as a way of managing psychotic symptoms. However, substance abuse can make psychotic symptoms worse or cause other problems.
If you think a friend or relative is self-harming, look out for signs of unexplained cuts, bruises or cigarette burns, usually on the wrists, arms, thighs, and chest. People who self-harm may keep themselves covered up at all times, even in hot weather.
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If you're feeling suicidal, you can:
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