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WHAT IS PSYCHOSIS?
Psychosis is treatable
Psychosis is a treatable condition of the mind that affects one’s thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors. Psychosis can be thought of as a temporary disconnect from reality in which an individual experiences disruption in their thoughts and perceptions, making it difficult to decipher what is real and what is not. Psychosis can be due to a number of things, including drug use, certain medications, sleep deprivation, medical conditions, or mental health conditions (e.g., schizophrenia spectrum disorders, PTSD, major depressive disorder). Psychosis is often described as frightening and confusing, and often times leads to functional impairment.
Possible causes of psychosis
Psychosis that develops into a mental health condition, such as a schizophrenia spectrum disorder, does not have one or even two easily identifiable causes, but rather has been found to be related to a number of things, including biological factors (e.g., genetics), factors related to brain structure, (e.g., neurotransmitters, brain circuits), and environmental factors (e.g., trauma, prenatal complications, poverty, stress)
Psychosis is more common than many believe
Approximately 100,000 young people experiencing psychosis each year, and 3 in 100 people experiencing a psychotic episode at some point in their life. Furthermore, psychosis is not an “all-or-nothing” phenomenon, but rather exists on a continuum. This means that individuals may experience a spectrum of psychotic symptoms, ranging from less severe to more severe, and less frequent to more frequent. For example, anyone can experience mild psychosis as a result of sleep deprivation, drug use, chronic and severe stress, or even accompanying other intense emotions, such as fear.
Symptoms of psychosis
Psychosis can look different for each person but is often characterized by one or more of the following: unusual thinking (e.g., suspiciousness & paranoia), perceptual disturbances (e.g., hearing voices or seeing things others do not), and disorganized speech (e.g., rambling, incorrect use of words).
Psychosis may also be accompanied by negative symptoms. This can include isolation, lack of motivation, difficulty expressing or identifying emotions, decrease in range of emotions felt or intensity of those emotions, and poverty of speech.
Additionally, psychosis can be accompanied by cognitive symptoms, including decline in functioning such as memory deficits, difficulties planning, organizing one's thoughts, & concentrating. Cognitive symptoms can also include mood symptoms, such as increased sadness or emptiness, irritability or increased agitation, loss of interest, or physical symptoms (e.g., weight gain/loss, fatigue).
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