Psychosis - All about Psychotic Episodes

Very sick days may have had you imagining or seeing things sometimes. As soon as you wake up, and get better, you realize that what happened to you was not real and just a product of the body is weak. Anyway, you can still be shaking depending on what you saw. Can you imagine this being the lifestyle of some, and never having the luxury to know that hallucinations are not real. Ask a person diagnosed with Psychosis, otherwise known as Psychotic Disorder.

 

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis makes it hard for a diagnosed individual to maintain their sanity in the real world. Most of the time, psychosis is a side effect of a serious mental illness. Those who suffer from psychosis are likely to hear, see, or sense things that do not really exist. In other words, they experience sensory occurrences without the involvement of the senses.  These are hallucinations. There are also likely to have false beliefs, that they alone are very convinced to be real. This is the delusional side of Psychosis. Basically, those who are diagnosed with psychosis have lost their mental capacity to understand what is real and not. This confuses them, leading to messy behaviour that is not normal. It can frighten them, and they may try to hurt themselves and others. However, Psychosis is a treatable condition, especially when it is a result of another mental health problem.

 

Symptoms of Psychosis.

Below is a list of noticeable symptoms of psychosis.

  • Having a hard time focusing or concentrating
  • Grumpy, most of the time
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Either sleep a lot or not at all
  • Anxiety issues
  • Suspicious about things around them
  • Distancing themselves from family and friend
  • Spends a lot of time alone
  • Delusions or hallucinations that they seem to experience
  • Slurred or disorganized speech
  • Suicidal tendencies or attempts
  • Reduced emotional expressions
  • Disordered behaviour. This includes getting agitation, swear, mutter things and act inappropriately in the situation.
  • Unresponsive to the world and what happens around them

 

Some early warning signs of Psychosis

It is unlikely that severe signs of psychosis happen overnight. There are some noticeable alterations in an individuals life that may go months before developing into alarming signs of Psychosis. It may be hard for the patient to understand what is going on when the early hallucination and delusions visit them, and chances are slim that they share these minor inconveniences with anyone. As they grow, there is a better chance of family or loved ones noticing these signs.

Early treatment is encouraged for Psychosis due to specific reasons. One being, that Psychosis is a treatable situation, and the productivity of the treatment is much higher if treatments are received early on. Another is that when these delusions and hallucinations develop beyond control, families may have a difficult time bringing the patient to treatment. Also, due to the fact that if Psychosis signs are detected earlier, it makes to identify and diagnose any underlying mental health condition that is causing psychosis.

Before it comes to a point of noticeable hallucinations or delusions, here are a few changes you might notice in their day to day life, which can imply a growing case of Psychosis.

  • A sudden drop in performance, say at work or at school.
  • Ignorance of personal care and hygiene No longer focused on themselves
  • Having a hard time trusting or hanging around with others. Gets easily suspicious and nervous.
  • Difficulty concentrating. Can not seem to think straight or get their words together,
  • Likely to spend a lot of alone time
  • Unnecessary and inappropriate behaviour, with the use of strong language.

Chances are these occurrences are brief and caused by an external factor and will pass as they come. However, if they seem to persist and progress, seek treatment immediately.

 

What does a Psychosis episode look like?

Lengths of episodes vary from a person to person. A psychotic episode may take the look of the symptoms listed above, changing in severity.  The cause of psychosis plays a considerable role in how severe the episodes are and how long they last.

The patient may start hearing and seeing things and might question those around them those too. Trying to convince them there is no such thing can get their visions to develop further, causing confusion, fear and anger in the patient. The patient may also blabber, say things that don’t make sense, making look like they are talking to someone else. They might also respond to sounds no one else can hear. They might be suspicious about anyone that can include their closest family, thinking they are here to hurt him. Random outbursts and inappropriate behaviour can be common. For a proper diagnosis, it is best to meet a health care provider as early as you can.

 

Delusion and hallucination types experienced during Psychosis

What are delusions?

Delusional people believe in false and irrational things. This is much more intense in those with Psychosis. Almost every belief they have been delusional., and there is no way of convincing them of it. No matter how obviously wrong they are to us, in their eyes it is absolutely real. No logic or reasoning can change their mind. Trying to reason with them and convince them that they are possibly going crazy can scare and anger one with psychosis. There are different kinds of delusions that a person with psychosis may experience.

  1. Delusions where they are paranoid for their life – This is the most common sort of delusion experienced by those suffering from psychosis. They may feel like they are being watched, followed and going to be hurt or killed by someone. This is one of the major reasons they build trust issues.
  2. Imagining that they are the chosen one – They may also feel like someone is sending them a message, a code, or something that others can not see. They may believe that they are communicating with a higher power.
  3. A false belief of supremacy – Those that are diagnosed with psychosis is likely to delusionally believe to be better than everyone else. They believe they are superior, have special abilities, are always the most important person in the room, or have power such as god.
  4. Somatic delusions – They may believe that their body is faulty, there is an issue with it, it’s incomplete or that they are sick by different diseases.

Delusions can be confusing and frightening. It either has one arguing with the rest and try to make sense of it or isolates them while enjoying this very new, different world. Whichever is not normal and is something that requires caution, compassion and hurries to deal with.

 

What are Hallucinations?

Hallucinations take place due to a sensory perception without an outside force. Basically, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting things that are not really there. It is true that all of us have witnessed some sort of hallucination when we thought we saw a person that isn’t there. However, psychosis hallucinations get pretty intense compared to those. Everything they seem to experience in the form of hallucinations is extremely real to them, to a point they do not understand how they are not. They have a hard time figuring out what is real or not. For example, if your brother has psychosis hallucination, he might see you with another person next to you, who in his mind is really there. It is not a shadow or a blurred face. The difference is not distinguishable.

The most common sort of hallucination is hearing things. This can vary from one to another. While one hears sounds here and there, another can hear them all the time. Those sounds/voices can be threatening, abusive, telling them what to do. Psychosis patients normally converse with these voices or shout back at them. In the same way, people may taste, smell or see things they don’t quite understand.

Just like in the case of delusions, hallucinations can be like a bad dream for the person experiencing them. The outside world can hardly imagine what they go through. Also, delusions and hallucinations can occur at the same time. For instance, if a person hears a voice demanding them what to do or that they will hurt them, he or she may not trust the next person they see.

 

What can cause psychosis?

As with a lot of other mental illnesses, the causes of psychosis differs based on each case. Most of the time, it results as a side effect of a more severe mental illness. External factors such as drug use, lack of sleep, depression, etc can also cause this issue. Situational factors can also play a part at times.

 

Genetic influence

This is a factor that increases the possibility of experiencing psychosis. This does not mean the susceptible genes will definitely leave you with psychosis. If one or both parents are diagnosed with psychosis, chances are likely that the children may get psychosis. Again, this is just a matter of chances being raised. It is likely that you may never have an episode of psychosis.

 

Underlying illnesses

Most of the time, psychosis results as a side effect of an underlying medical illness. Some of the illnesses that can cause psychosis include,

  • Parkinsons disease
  • Schizophrenia
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Brain tumours
  • Cyst
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Dementia
  • HIV
  • Syphilis
  • Epilepsy
  • Stroke

Most of these are activities that mess with the brain and brain functions. For example, due to Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s, when one loses their memory, it is likely that they start hallucinating.

 

Outside influences

Influences you can or can not help, but will affect you for the rest of your life can be one of the reasons that you attract psychosis. For example, shocks you may have suffered while you were still in the womb, any sort of abuse you may have gone through, head injuries, drug/ substance abuse, depression, extreme stress and anxiety can have you ending up with psychosis. These external factors may take a toll on you without your knowledge.

 

Types of Psychosis

Brief Reactive Psychosis

This type of psychosis occurs in the majority of peoples lives. It is a psychosis situation that can take place when undergoing a very stressful situation. For example, losing a loved one can have you hallucinating until you deal with the grief. Brief psychosis episodes are temporary. Those two go through this recovers with time, when the cause of the psychosis settles down.

 

Drugs, substances and alcohol are naturally things that mess with one’s reality. Especially drugs such as Meth or Cocaine can trigger psychosis in a person. There are drugs such as LSD used for the purpose of hallucinations which however is a temporary effect. Even some prescription drugs can be powerful enough to have the user hallucinating.

However, these effects are temporary and are normally in the right after drug use experiences list. In addition, it can also be experienced if someone who is addicted to drugs suddenly stops taking them.

 

Psychosis caused by an injury (Organic)

It is always brain cells issues that cause psychosis. Thus, an injury ever enough to damage brain cells can cause psychosis symptoms.

 

These are conditions that have psychosis symptoms as a part of the very base of the illness. In other words, being diagnosed with these illnesses simply means that the diagnosed person is going to experience psychosis at some point. Most of those who seek treatment for psychosis have a diagnosis of one of these disorders.

 

Schizophrenia

This is a lifelong disease. If the patient complaining about psychosis has also had these symptoms for over a month, accompanied by other symptoms of schizophrenia for over six months, they are likely to be diagnosed with this condition.

 

Bipolar Disorder

With bipolar disorder, individuals experience extreme highs and lows. With their mood, the way and things they hallucinate differs. When they are extremely happy and active, they are delusional to a point that they think they are the best. They may believe they have special powers and to be the chosen ones.

When they are in their lows, it is the exact opposite. They are angry, revengeful, hurtful and scared. They may believe that someone is out to get them and harm them. Trust issues may also appear.

 

Drug-induced Psychosis

Drug abuse can have one to suffer from psychosis symptoms. These issues normally undergo treatment by ending the drug and rehabilitation.

 

Borderline Personality Disorder

Those diagnosed with BPD are struggling to identify who they are and make sense of themselves in the world. They struggle with expressing and containing their very intense emotions. They are very unpredictable when it comes to relationships and are not very good at being in a successful one. In severe cases, BPD patients can show signs of psychosis.

 

Depression

This is not very common. For Psychosis symptoms to appear on a depression patient, the case has to be absolutely severe. This can happen if one goes through a major breakdown and never covers from the shock.

 

Diagnosing Psychosis

For a diagnosis, it is necessary that you meet a psychiatrist. Through a set of mental health evaluations, your health care provider will arrive at a diagnosis. This process includes questioning regarding the psychosis episodes, frequency, severity, symptoms and for how long they have been happening. For this part, it is helpful if the patient is brought in as soon as the first few symptoms were detected. Medical tests including X-rays, MRIs CT scans may be ordered to rule out or recognize if an undiagnosed mental illness is causing the psychosis symptoms.

However, diagnosis can change. This is due to the fact that some mental health issues take time to entirely unroll. It is important that you continue visits with your health professional, so in the case of any changes, you will not be behind on treatment. Regardless, with early treatment, psychosis symptoms are possible to deal with.

 

Treating Psychosis

Treatment methods for psychosis depend on the underlying issues. However, if treated early, the effect psychosis symptoms take on a relationship can be greatly controlled. Below are a few treatment methods that are in use when it comes to treating psychosis.

 

Tranqualization

This however is not a long-term treatment method. Rapid tranquilization s used when a person with psychosis becomes agitated, panic and could possibly harm themselves and others. This method is when a fast-acting injection of tranquilization is used on a person to calm them down quickly.

 

Antipsychotic medication

This specified medication is designed to alter the brain chemistry which will reduce psychosis syndromes. They work effectively against hallucinations, delusions, pron=blematic thinking and manages them to a point they hardly return, as long as the patient is on medication. However, this powerful medication causes side effects that one must discuss with their doctor before using them.

 

Medications – overall

If depression, stress or anxiety, are causing psychosis episodes, medications can help with managing those mental strains. They help manage your mood and other causes that may possibly give way to psychosis symptoms.

 

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

CBT is changing behaviour by therapy. For this, you will receive the guidance of a professional counsellor who will meet up with you regularly and help you get to your goal by altering your behaviour. Medication may not go so far to the end, leaving psychosis patients with more to deal with During those situations, CBT has been found to be extremely helpful.

 

The help of family and close circle

An understanding circle is essential when there is a person that is suffering from psychosis. During these kinds of treatment sessions family will be involved They will be educated on Psychosis, and how best they can help their loved one recover. Such information and training help family members understand co-op and face the situation better.

These are just a few ways of treating psychosis. There are also,

  • Neurostimulation therapies
  • Open dialogue
  • Cognitive Remediation

However, the best treatment method for any psychosis patient must be decided according to their diagnosis, and by their health care professional.

 

How to live the best possible life with psychosis?

If you are here, you are either someone with early psychosis issues, trying to make it better, or you are concerned loved one, trying to make life a little easier for the person who is struggling with psychosis. Individuals living with psychosis go through many challenges every day. Not many complications come with psychosis, except for its very chaotic symptoms. Thus by following the below steps and keeping the symptoms in check, a quality life is an achievable goal.

 

Keeping up with the treatment

Medication, especially antipsychotic medication plays a vital role in keeping the psychosis symptoms in check. Not using the medication as administered can not only worsen the symptoms but can also cripple the patients progress along with self-confidence. It may take time to diagnose the illness because it takes a lot of studying to identify which health problem is responsible. However, through these ups and downs, if one sticks with the treatment which includes all the prescribed medication, therapy, lifestyle and doctors appointments, psychosis episodes can be treated effectively.

In addition, follow the below steps for quality life, even among one of the most difficult disorders

  • Having a friend, a family circle that the patient can depend on. The understanding, support and love of the immediate circle of the patient greatly affect his or her progress.
  • Taking proper care of themselves/ yourself is also important. It is not just your mind that is going to be the target of psychosis. Medication and other drugs can have side effects which will have them angry and frustrated and neglecting themselves. Progress has to happen in every way.
  • Maintaining a good health plan is important for the recovery process. Your body has to be healthy and safe so your mind can recover. Research suggests that most psychosis patients are overweight. Having a diet plan, a well-maintained sleep schedule, less stress and anxiety and practising mindfulness techniques can help with achieving the quality of life one dreams of.