The word psychosis is used to describe conditions that affect the mind, where there has been some loss of contact with reality. When someone becomes ill in this way, it is called a psychotic episode. During a period of psychosis, a person's thoughts and perceptions are disturbed, and the individual may have difficulty understanding what is real and what is not.
What are the signs and symptoms of psychosis?
Typically, a person will show changes in behavior before psychosis develops. Behavioral warning signs for psychosis include:
- Sudden drop in grades or job performance
- New trouble thinking clearly or concentrating
- Suspiciousness, paranoid ideas, or uneasiness with others
- Withdrawing socially, spending a lot more time alone than usual
- Unusual, overly intense new ideas, strange feelings, or no feelings at all
- Decline in self-care or personal hygiene
- Difficulty telling reality from fantasy
- Confused speech or trouble communicating
Symptoms of psychosis include delusions (false beliefs) and hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that others do not see or hear). Other symptoms include incoherent or nonsense speech and behavior that is inappropriate for the situation. A person in a psychotic episode also may experience depression, anxiety, sleep problems, social withdrawal, lack of motivation, and difficulty functioning overall. Someone experiencing any of the symptoms on this list should consult a mental health professional.