Psychosis is a mental disorder that affects how your brain processes information. People experiencing this condition lose touch with reality, and they begin to have distorted thoughts. Such people aren’t in a position to differentiate what is real from what is not.
It’s also challenging to identify whether you have this condition since the delusions always feel real. About three in 100 people experience this condition at one point in their lives. Here is an informative guide that explains psychosis, its causes, and how you can access treatment.
Causes of Psychosis
Some people experience psychosis once, and others have short episodes of the condition. Some might struggle with it for a more extended period. Each psychosis case is different, and there are a number of things that could cause it. However, various triggers, factors, and situations increase the risk of psychosis.
The use of alcohol or stimulants can cause drug- or alcohol-related psychosis. Everything from prescription medication like steroids to drugs like cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamines can cause psychosis. People who use drugs will experience psychosis symptoms, but they typically go away once you stop using. Also, if you stop taking the antipsychotic medication abruptly, you might suffer from supersensitivity psychosis. Additionally, when you go through traumatic experiences, such as the loss of a loved one, accidents, or assaults, you might suffer from a brief psychosis disorder. Someone going through this condition will recover a few weeks later, depending on age and the traumatic event type. Head injuries can also cause organic psychosis. You are at risk of suffering from this condition if you have a stroke, dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, or a brain tumor.
If you have a close family member with psychosis, you are at a higher risk of developing the condition. According to research, the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome is one of the strongest factors that causes the development of psychosis. Sometimes, the condition appears as a symptom of other illnesses. People who have bipolar disorder may experience periods of psychosis. Some women develop postpartum psychosis after giving birth. Hormonal changes also explain the reason for psychosis signs in adolescents and young adults.
Symptoms of Psychosis
Psychosis occurs gradually, and determining when the first symptoms of the condition appear can be difficult. However, you can spot various warning signs and seek immediate medical help before the symptoms become severe.
Watch out for symptoms like difficulties in concentrating or thinking clearly. This could translate into a drop in grades or job performance. Some people also neglect personal hygiene like showering or brushing their teeth. Someone who has psychosis will begin to enjoy more time alone, and they sometimes experience a lack of emotions. Others may also show stronger emotions than what a particular situation calls for. You might begin to feel paranoid and very uncomfortable when around other people or hang on to unusual beliefs. You could even hear, see, or taste things that don’t exist.
Symptoms of a Severe Psychotic Episode
One primary symptom at this point of the condition is hallucination. If you or your family member start hearing voices when no one is around or experience strange sensations that you can’t explain, seek medical assistance.
Psychosis causes delusions. The affected people have intense beliefs about some things that might be against their culture, and they don’t make sense to other people. Delusions make you feel like you have special abilities or powers. Some people get an exaggerated sense of importance. Others feel like ordinary events or comments have special meanings. Such people believe that specific external forces control their feelings, behaviors, and thoughts. Delusions can make you feel like someone is following you or like you have an illness while you are healthy.
People having delusions and hallucinations may not find such situations distressing though they might disturb those around them. Psychosis also affects your cognitive ability. You might begin to experience memory problems and fail to understand new concepts or information. Other patients face difficulties while making decisions. Other symptoms include:
- Depressed mood
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Disorganized speech
- Lack of sleep or sleeping too much
- Switching topics erratically
If you or your loved one experience any of the above signs, seek help from a professional immediately. You will have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to diagnose the condition. A doctor will ask you various questions and observe your behavior. Expect to answer questions concerning your family history of any psychiatric illness, as well as your daily activities, thoughts, and symptoms.
You might also have to undergo clinical examinations to test for drug or substance use, any underlying medical conditions, or head injury. Therefore, the diagnosis may involve X-rays, urinalysis, blood tests, or an electroencephalogram to record your brain activity. If the results indicate signs of psychosis, you can proceed to treatment.
Treatment of Psychosis
The treatment will vary depending on the severity of the condition. It might also differ based on the presence or absence of any underlying mental disorder. When you seek help at the onset of the symptoms, the condition won’t affect your schoolwork, career, or relationships.
Treatment involves a lot of medication and therapy sessions. It’s a good idea to reach out to a rehab facility like Granite Recovery Centers. In such institutions, you can speak with a specialist who will help you understand what your treatment options entail. In the early stages of psychosis, you will likely work with a health care practitioner to come up with a personalized treatment plan that will combine medication, therapy, and family support. Psychosis treatment may also involve several other steps.
At times, people with psychosis can become very agitated to the extent of being a danger to themselves or others. In such a case, the doctor will administer a fast-acting medicine to calm the patient down quickly.
The main form of medicine administered to treat psychosis is antipsychotic drugs. Such medications include clozapine, haloperidol, and chlorpromazine. The type of drug prescribed depends on the nature of your condition. These drugs will help minimize delusions and hallucinations, helping the patients think clearly. You should only use these drugs under a doctor’s supervision to avoid adverse side effects. Most people will begin to have psychosis symptoms under control after taking the medication for a short period.
Note that although medicine can help psychosis, it doesn’t address underlying conditions. Therapy will help you better understand your condition’s root cause and how to manage it. At Granite Recovery Centers, a medical professional can help change your thinking. This approach effectively assists patients in making permanent changes and managing their situations better.
Once a patient arrives at Granite Recovery Centers, we will try to get to the root of the psychosis. If the patient has been self-medicating, we can treat both the psychosis and the alcohol or substance use disorder with a dual diagnosis treatment.
When people suffer from psychiatric disorders, many try self-treatment by turning to alcohol and drugs for relief. However, when the drug effects subside, their condition remains. It’s therefore important that you address any co-occurring issues for total recovery. You can also choose to enroll in any of our other treatment programs.
Granite Recovery Centers provides a mental health treatment program to address challenges presented by such conditions. Based on the cause of the psychosis, you may undergo cognitive behavioral therapy to help determine how the condition affects your thoughts and emotions. The psychiatrist will help you differentiate between imagination and reality. During such sessions, the doctor also insists on the importance of taking your medication and sticking to your therapy sessions to promote quick recovery.
Patients struggling with trauma will benefit from trauma therapy. The therapist will help you understand how the potentially stressful experiences affect you. You will work together with your doctor to develop strategies that will help you manage difficult feelings or thoughts and negative behaviors.
In case losing a loved one is the cause of psychosis, you will go through grief and loss therapy. The session gives you a chance to discuss your emotions. Your counselor will then guide you on better ways to cope with your grief. In case you had a problematic relationship with the deceased, the counselor will address any feelings of guilt to help you move forward. There are various modes of treatment at Granite Recovery Centers.
Inpatient Treatment Program
If your condition is severe, your doctor may recommend inpatient treatment. For this option, you reside within the rehab center where you receive constant monitoring and counseling. Such facilities create a very supportive environment that facilitates recovery. You will first have to undergo a medication detoxification to cleanse your body. During your stay, you will attend individual and group therapy sessions to address the thoughts and feelings that promoted drug use.
Patients also follow a daily schedule that involves physical exercises, chores, educational programs, and psychotherapy sessions. The main aim here is to help the patients lead a drug-free life, which aids in psychosis recovery. Depending on how you respond to medication and therapy and your ability to meet the set goals, your doctor will decide whether you can move to less intensive treatment or continue with the inpatient program.
If you identify the symptoms early enough and seek medical help in time, you can opt for outpatient treatment. You don’t stay within the rehab center for this option, but you will still need to take antipsychotic medication and visit the rehab facility for counseling. The outpatient program provides a peer- and life-building support system. You have a chance to interact with various people struggling with a similar condition to yours. Thus, you can share ideas on managing the situations, which is instrumental in recovery.
You will also participate in holistic therapies, skill-building sessions, and individual therapies if you have issues that you wouldn’t want to share in a group. For the outpatient program, you can attend school and work and do your daily activities as you work on recovery. You only come in for treatment on agreed-upon schedules.
For those patients who still need constant monitoring but don’t want to live in a supervised environment, you can opt for the partial hospitalization program. In this case, you come to the rehab facility for several hours five days a week. During your treatment, you will receive supported education to help you maintain a high-quality life. You will also gain support from other people experiencing psychosis, as well as those who have been through it in the past, through group therapy.
The treatment also involves family psychoeducation and support. You will undergo therapy sessions with your family members to help them understand psychosis and to help you manage the condition better. Remember that when you are ill, your condition may affect those close to you. These therapy sessions will help them better cope with the situation.
Psychosis symptoms can make you or those around you very frightened. The good news is that you can recover if you seek medical help early enough and be consistent with therapy. You might face difficulties trying to convince a person with psychosis symptoms to seek help because of their delusions and the fear of stigma. In such a case, you shouldn’t argue with such people. Instead, calmly explain to them that you are concerned about their situation. Assure them that the treatment will do them more good than harm, and you can even offer to accompany them to therapy.
Recovery from Psychosis
Psychosis recovery is a continuous process that requires professional support. Even after treatment, seeking help from a rehab facility like Granite Recovery Centers will help manage the causes of the conditions to prevent them from reoccurring.