What is Psychosis?
Psychosis is a mental health problem which makes a person interpret or perceive the things around him differently. The thinking and emotions of the affected person are so impaired that he’s already lost in contact with reality. People suffering from psychosis are referred to as psychotic.
Symptoms and Causes
There are two main symptoms of Psychosis:
- Hallucinations – when a person sees, hears or feels things that are not really there. Examples: Hearing voices, feeling insects on skin, seeing imaginary visions or images.
- Delusions – when a person has false thoughts or believes in things that are obviously untrue. Examples: Believing that he’s related to a famous person, believing his cat is plotting to kill him.
Another symptom of psychosis is the flight of ideas or when a person’s thoughts move too quickly from one idea to the next. It’s also called the ‘word salad’ or ‘thought disorder’. A person experiencing this might lose control of his words and link words together not because of their meaning but simply because they sound alike.
Here are some of its common causes:
-Brain cysts or tumors
-Infections affecting the brain
-Prescription drugs (steroids, stimulants)
-Brain diseases (Parkinson’s, Huntington’s)
-Psychological Disorders (Schizophrenia, Bipolar and Personality Disorders)
Types of Psychosis
There are 3 main types of Psychosis:
- Brief Reactive Psychosis – Temporary reaction to extreme personal stress like death of a loved one. A person suffering from this will eventually recover in a few days.
- Drug- or Alcohol-Related Psychosis – A person can experience this type of psychosis in two ways – short-term and long-term. Short-term psychosis is when a certain drug or alcohol resulted in a psychotic episode – but it usually goes away when the effect of the drug or alcohol wears off. Long-term psychosis happens when a person addicted to a drug or alcohol suddenly stops taking or drinking it.
- Organic Psychosis – This type of Psychosis is caused by a brain illness like Parkinson’s disease.
Treatment and Recovery
Treating psychosis often involves a combination of treatments. Here are the three most commonly used methods to treat psychosis:
- Rapid Tranquilization – There are times when a person having a psychotic episode becomes so agitated that he might hurt himself or other people around him. During these cases, a doctor will administer a fast-acting shot to calm and relax the patient right away.
- Drugs and Medication – There are medications called ‘antipsychotics’ which reduce hallucinations and delusions. They also help a patient think more clearly.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – This means that a patient will have regular meetings with a mental health counselor. Its goal is to change the mindset and behavior of the patient.