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    Psychosis
    Mental Health Awareness Week 2016


    TSR is running a campaign all of this week for Mental Health Awareness Week 2016 to promote and inform others of the state of mental health and to try and reduce the stigmas associated with mental health.



    What is psychosis?
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    Psychosis can present in many different ways but at the heart of it is that it is a break from reality. The two main symptoms are hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations can be in any sense – for instance a person may hear things, they may see things, smell something gross, even taste things despite not eating anything, and in the tactile sense people can feel like bugs are climbing on their skin. Auditory hallucinations are the most common type and often take the form of “voices” talking to or about the person.

    Delusions are when a person believes something which isn’t true. Often these delusions take a paranoid tone. This can range from “that guy is looking at me”, to “the mailman is stealing my mail”, or even “the government wants to kill me”. Delusions can seem odd to other people who may then try to convince the person that it’s false. This generally doesn’t work as the psychotic person often believes these ideas 100%. A key part of psychosis is a lack of insight; people lose the ability to separate reality from what’s going on in their head.

    Both delusions and hallucinations are classed as “positive” psychotic symptoms in that they are something extra to a person. There’s also “negative” symptoms where thing that are present in other people are missing. So for example people with psychosis often find it hard to find motivation to do things, they might have trouble concentrating, organization can go out the window, there’s also things like “flat affect” where the person’s face appears mask-like without emotion.
    What illnesses have psychosis as a common symptom?
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    A number of different illnesses are associated with psychosis. From schizophrenia (which most people are probably aware of) to bipolar to severe depression, stress or anxiety and even post-natal psychosis. Another condition is schizoaffective disorder, which is a mix of a mood disorder and psychosis and then some personality disorders can also lead to a disconnect from reality.
    How is psychosis treated?
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    Treatment works best when a person’s psychosis is caught early – hence the existence of the Early Intervention Teams (EIT) in the UK. They aim to engage young people experiencing psychosis as soon as possible and apply various methods to try and help them recover as quickly as possible. The main treatment for psychosis are antipsychotic drugs. These have existed from the 50’s and there are 2 main types: typical which were the first wave and atypical which are still relatively new. They can have some pretty nasty side effects such as extreme weight gain, severe sedation, and movement disorders such as shaking hands or uncontrollable movements of the facial muscles. Generally it’s best to take the smallest effective dose for the shortest time possible because of these side effects.

    Other treatments include therapy, in particular Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This aims at changing thought patterns and has been shown to help with psychosis (you can read about this here). Another promising treatment uses virtual reality to allow people with paranoia to test out their persecutory ideas on computer avatars and this has been shown to lower the paranoid thoughts (you can read more about this here).
    My story
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    I have been suffering from psychosis for at least 9 years now. I say at least because I have expressed symptoms of it for a long time. Everything started with paranoia; I felt like people at my school all wanted to hurt me. When I was out in public, I could hear passersby laughing and shouting offensive things at me. Even now I find it difficult to differentiate whether these shouts and laughter are real or not. Anyway, my first real psychotic episode happened during my first year at university. I remember walking back from class and hearing people whisper comments at me as I walked past. I went from feeling pretty good that day to feeling like utter **** by the time I got home. I went up to my room and then it hit me. There was a cacophony of laughter but there was no one there. I couldn’t hear anything but laughter all around me. Then, out of the overwhelming sound, I heard a voice say “you need to cut yourself right now”. I felt like this voice had to be obeyed, there was something about it and no other way out so I did what he said. There was a lot of blood and I was worried I’d done some damage so walked to a local medical office and got 5 stitches. I told a doctor there what had happened and he got me a psychiatrist appointment the next day.

    That’s how things started, I won’t bore you with in depth analysis of the following 9 years but it basically boils down to me taking many different medications and seeing many different psychiatrists; some helpful, others not.

    Skipping forward to right now.
    Right now I am doing a second undergraduate degree because I have finally accepted that I will never achieve my life dream of being a police officer, so I’m branching out and following a different career path. For the past year or so, things have yo-yoed about; I go through awesome times when I don’t hear the voices at all, but other times I can’t get away from them. They can make university very difficult, I often find it hard to hear the professor over their laughing and shouting. I also experience some of the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, especially difficulty with concentration and memory, and flat affect. The former makes it hard to do my university work, the latter results in a lot of difficulty for me to make friends. The medication doesn’t really have much effect on negative symptom so I’m stuck with those.
    If anyone has any questions about anything, then feel free to ask. I hope this post helps to inform people even a little bit about what psychosis is.

    You can post anonymously here.


    We're holding various events and writing about lots of different themes throughout the week. Take a look here!
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    Thank you for the post. I have also suffered from psychosis for years and also still have problems deciding if something is real or not. In fact I still have great difficulty in leaving the house.

    Also thank you for posting what psychosis really is. I find the number of people who don't know or don't understand it really depressing and it annoys me even more when they get psychosis and psychopath mixed up! I find it interesting that you mention the negative effects. I feel the same way. The medication helps with some of the symptoms of psychosis and schizophrenia but doesn't do anything for some of the other symptoms and in some ways the negative symptoms are much harder to deal with because they are so persistent.

    Anyway hope things continue going well for you at University .
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    This is really helpful and so interesting! I knew a bit from A Level psychology, but great to have more detail and personal experiences - has anyone else experienced Psychosis or know someone who has?
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    I've said this before privately. But I'll say it again here, I think you are really brave to have shared your experience with psychosis and you've given such an interesting and informative account. It really has opened my eyes to what it truly means and I hope that it will do the same for others too. Thank you so much.
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    My father suffers from a form of psychosis known as delusional disorder, persecutory type. Like I said in my comment on the Depression & Anxiety thread, I will be talking in much more detail on that in my blog.

    Thank you for creating these threads encouraging people to talk more about mental health issues, it means a lot to me
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    (Original post by Leviathan1741)
    My father suffers from a form of psychosis known as delusional disorder, persecutory type. Like I said in my comment on the Depression & Anxiety thread, I will be talking in much more detail on that in my blog.

    Thank you for creating these threads encouraging people to talk more about mental health issues, it means a lot to me
    :jumphug: will be eager to read it lovely
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    (Original post by iEthan)
    :jumphug: will be eager to read it lovely
    Aww thank you Ethan, you're so lovely! :hugs:
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    (Original post by Leviathan1741)
    Aww thank you Ethan, you're so lovely! :hugs:
    Mental health really matters to me, in every form and it's so amazing that you're going to talk about it. How can I not be interested?! :hugs:
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    (Original post by Sabertooth)
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    Said this before but this is a great thread, and really brave too! Hope people learn something from it


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    Great thread!
    It's interesting to read the stories from other people as it makes you feel less alone (and less crazy haha)

    Before now, I've been in complete denial about experiencing pyschosis. I suppose I didn't want to accept it. But after talking to someone very special from here about it I realised the severity of my situation. I still don't know much about it and I'm still learning, but these are some of my experiences as embarrassing as it is to admit online.

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    I suffer from bipolar disorder (I've been in denial about this as well + MH support where I live is pretty crap so I haven't been able to receive treatment beyond my initial diagnosis) and during severe manic episodes I sometimes experience a complete disconnect from reality. I've had grandiose and paranoid delusions ( I am MLK reincarnated, I am pyschic, I'm being watched through the front facing camera of my phone etc) and auditory and visual hallucinations (seeing dead people, ghosts, figures in the shadows, the sound of machine guns being fired at me).


    I can't quite remember these experiences all too well (most likely as a result of the pyschosis) so a lot of these things are accounts from friends and my parents who just assumed I was a bit crazy.

    My first ever pyschotic episode was four years ago, I don't really remember the details and specifics but it involved a vision of Jesus, a lot of screaming and crying on my part and fainting promptly after. It was so scary because I 100% believed it was actually happening and insanely embarrassing afterwards to learn that I was the only one that saw it.


    Right now, I'm trying to do a lot of research on psychosis and read the stories of other people. Managing manic episodes of that degree is very difficult but it's getting better as I'm able to detect when one is starting now. When I move for uni I'll seek out proper help for it.
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    Could someone tell me if I am experiencing psychosis?

    There's lots of things I could write but I will stick to the most prominent things. I think there are demons in my room and they want to kill me or they want to wait until I fall asleep so they can jump on me and I'm scared. They touch me and tickle me and I feel my nerves moving under my skin it's so weird!!!! I had a traumatic event happen nearly 2 years ago, I have had horrendous panic attacks and I get severe paranoia like everyone hates me. I didn't go out for a long time as I thought everyone was a murderer/wanted to kidnap me/afraid to see the person who caused my trauma. I am not sleeping because my mind is reeling and I currently feel so extremely numb like I'm not in my body. My head is heavy and it feels like my mind is always playing tricks on me I wish it would just give it a rest. I can't help thinking that everyone wants to hurt me or doesn't care. I also experience smells that remind me of the trauma and sounds. I think pills are trying to poison me. Anyway, here's a few things.
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    (Original post by Louise12307)
    Could someone tell me if I am experiencing psychosis?

    There's lots of things I could write but I will stick to the most prominent things. I think there are demons in my room and they want to kill me or they want to wait until I fall asleep so they can jump on me and I'm scared. They touch me and tickle me and I feel my nerves moving under my skin it's so weird!!!! I had a traumatic event happen nearly 2 years ago, I have had horrendous panic attacks and I get severe paranoia like everyone hates me. I didn't go out for a long time as I thought everyone was a murderer/wanted to kidnap me/afraid to see the person who caused my trauma. I am not sleeping because my mind is reeling and I currently feel so extremely numb like I'm not in my body. My head is heavy and it feels like my mind is always playing tricks on me I wish it would just give it a rest. I can't help thinking that everyone wants to hurt me or doesn't care. I also experience smells that remind me of the trauma and sounds. I think pills are trying to poison me. Anyway, here's a few things.
    Ultimately, no one can say whether you are suffering from psychosis as no one here is your doctor. If you are worried I would recommend seeing your doctor and see what they say.


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