What is Psychosis?

sebastianeriksson3Psychosis is an abnormal condition of the mind that involves a loss of contact with reality. People experiencing psychosis may exhibit personality changes and thought disorder. Depending on its severity, this may be accompanied by unusual or bizarre behaviour, as well as difficulty with social interaction and impairment in carrying out daily life activities.

The term psychosis is very broad and can mean anything from relatively normal aberrant experiences to the complex and catatonic expressions of schizophrenia and bipolar type 1 disorder. In properly diagnosed psychiatric disorders, psychosis is a descriptive term for the hallucinations, delusions and impaired insight that may occur.

Generally, psychosis involves noticeable deficits in normal behaviour (negative signs) and more commonly to diverse types of hallucinations or delusional beliefs, particularly with regard to the relation between self and others as in grandiosity and pronoia or paranoia. Stress is also known to contribute to and trigger psychotic states.

A history of psychologically traumatic events and the recent experience of a stressful event can both contribute to the development of psychosis. Short-lived psychosis triggered by stress is known as brief reactive psychosis, and patients may spontaneously recover normal functioning within two weeks. In some rare cases, individuals may remain in a state of full-blown psychosis for many years.

What is Substance-Induced Psychosis?

Numerous psychoactive substances (both legal and illegal) have been implicated in causing, exacerbating, or precipitating psychotic states or disorders in users, with varying levels of evidence. This may be upon intoxication, for a more prolonged period after use, or upon withdrawal. 

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Individuals who have a substance-induced psychosis tend to have a greater awareness of their psychosis and, in general, have higher levels of suicidal thinking compared to individuals who have a primary psychotic illness.

There are many drugs that allegedly induce psychotic symptoms including alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines, ketamine, and psychedelic drugs like LSD. While the symptoms of a substance-induced psychosis may be similar to those of schizophrenia, in most cases it is not the same thing.

One major difference is that a substance-induced psychosis can be a temporary thing and may be reversible, another thing to keep in mind is that a substance-induced psychosis cannot cause an individual to develop schizophrenia if there is no predisposition at a genetic level to do so. 

What is a first episode of psychosis?

A first episode of psychosis is basically the first time a person experiences a psychotic episode. Psychosis usually first appears in a person’s late teens or early twenties and it is estimated that approximately three out of every 100 people will experience a psychotic episode in their lifetimes. It occurs in men and women and across all cultures and socioeconomic groups. A first episode of psychosis is often very frightening, confusing and distressing, particularly because it is an unfamiliar experience. Unfortunately, there are also many negative stereotypes and misconceptions associated with psychosis that can further add to one’s distress.

How do we work with Psychosis?

At The Liberation Place, we believe in working with individuals 

If you are concerned about yourself, or a loved one, and the possibility of psychotic symptoms, take a look at the information contained in our website and the external resources on the subject. If it's time to make a change and reach out for the support, recovery is a journey that starts with just one step, and only you alone can choose to take that step, but remember you are not destined to be alone when you choose to take that step with The Liberation Place!