How to Find Help Treating Psychosis
Movies and television provide a skewed depiction of mental illness, and relying on pop culture knowledge can make it hard to know how to find help treating psychosis. Understanding what psychosis is, how mental disorders are diagnosed, and how to seek treatment allows you to assist a friend or loved one who is suffering. The same knowledge is important if you feel like you are suffering from a psychosis-related disorder.
Psychosis actually refers to the symptoms of a disorder rather than the disorder itself. Psychosis manifests as delusions, confusion, hallucinations and other forms of impaired thinking. Forms of psychosis are associated with bipolar disorder, psychotic depression, personality disorders, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.
Episodes of psychosis may also occur due to physical ailments. High fevers and some types of infections can trigger episodes of delirium, which cause psychosis-related symptoms. It’s important to treat the cause of psychosis as well as the symptoms; in many cases, treatment involves simultaneous care from both mental health professionals and clinical medical staff.
How to Diagnose Psychosis
Mental health professionals use in-depth evaluations and a variety of tests to diagnose people with psychosis-related conditions. You can find versions of psychiatric evaluations online that ask questions similar to those asked on tests used by professionals. Tests may ask you to rate your quality of life, emotions, thoughts and daily experiences. While these tests may be helpful in getting you to think about your emotional and mental state – or getting someone else to recognize their own mental state – they don’t produce a definitive diagnosis and shouldn’t be the basis of personal health care decisions. It’s always important to speak with a professional before moving forward with any type of treatment.
Because psychosis can be related to chemical imbalances and other physical conditions, doctors may order lab tests to confirm a diagnosis. Tests might include:
- Drug screenings to rule out substance abuse as the reason for hallucinations or other impaired thinking
- Blood tests to rule out infections that could cause psychosis
- Blood tests to ensure electrolytes, hormones and other chemicals are in balance
- Brain scans to rule out tumors or other issues affecting brain function
If you suspect you are, or someone you know is, suffering from psychosis symptoms, seek immediate professional assistance. Call us at 1-888-997-3147(Who Answers?) for help locating treatment options in your area.
How to Recognize a Psychotic Disorder
Understanding the symptoms of a psychotic disorder will help you know if professional intervention is necessary. Seeing things that aren’t there, inability to connect with reality, interacting with people who are no longer living or don’t exist, and the inability to maintain logical-thought patterns are all signs of psychosis. Individuals who are suffering from psychotic-related disorders may experience abnormal emotional highs and lows, display a lack of concern about what goes on around them, or display little emotion in facial expressions or voice.
If you think you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, or recognize these symptoms in others, call our counselors at 1-888-997-3147(Who Answers?). We are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and provide information about local treatment options.
Steps You Can Take to Help Someone With Psychological Problems
In a survey conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), approximately one in five respondents reported that no one helped when symptoms of psychosis appeared. Other details from the survey seem to indicate that education about psychosis is essential to being able to help someone in need. If you suspect someone in your life is suffering from psychosis, the worst thing you can do is ignore the problem. Speak to that person and reach out to professionals in the health care community for advice and assistance.
Talking to Someone With a Psychotic Disorder
Discussing psychotic-related conditions with someone who is in the middle of an episode is difficult. Depending on the severity of the illness, the person may not be able to carry on a coherent conversation; someone experiencing delusions or hallucinations may not recognize that anything is wrong with their thought processes. In extreme cases, it’s important to seek immediate professional assistance, especially if your friend or loved one is likely to cause harm.
When the psychotic episode is less severe, you may be able to redirect the individual’s thoughts through gentle discussion. Instead of adopting a confrontational manner, frame things as your opinion. Demanding that someone is wrong may strengthen delusions. Avoid playing along with delusions though, as this only enables the psychotic disorder. During lucid moments or recovery, be gentle but honest. Don’t talk about the disorder in a way that implies mental illness is something to be ashamed of.
Adolescents and Teens
Experts estimate that approximately 3 percent of individuals will experience psychosis during their lifetimes. If the first episode of psychosis hits during the teen years, it can be difficult for parents, caregivers or teachers to spot it. Adolescence is a time of emotional highs and lows; loved ones expect a certain amount of erratic behavior from teens. A combination of signs could indicate a mental health issue, including symptoms such as:
- Sudden and unexplained academic problems
- Suspicion of others without logical reasons
- A decline in personal hygiene
- Lack of feelings
- Intense, sudden feelings without reason
- Hearing voices that aren’t there or thinking noises are actually voices
- Sudden obsession with new ideas
Any one of these symptoms alone may be nothing to worry about, but the presence of several symptoms could indicate a serious mental health issue. If you suspect a teen in your life is struggling with a psychosis-related issue, call 1-888-997-3147(Who Answers?) to find out how you can get a professional evaluation.
Learning to Cope With Psychological Issues
In most cases, psychological issues are never fully cured. Individuals must learn to cope with mental illness throughout life, which makes it important to develop a strong support team of medical and mental health professionals. Complying with therapy sessions and medication is important, as is educating yourself and loved ones regarding symptoms and treatment requirements. If you have a loved one who is living with psychological issues, it’s important to communicate openly and honestly with them about the condition, the emotions of all involved and what is involved in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
How to Treat Psychosis
Because psychosis is related to a number of mental and physical conditions, treatment methods vary widely. Inpatient and outpatient programs generally adopt a dual treatment regime that includes group and individual therapy, classes on life skills and coping mechanisms, and medication. Medications might include mood stabilizers, antipsychotics and antidepressants.
Deciding Between Possible Psychosis Treatment Solutions
Making the right choice about treatment solutions can help speed up the recovery process. Talk to your health care provider and mental health experts to determine what type of psychosis is involved; choose a treatment option that can address all issues related to the psychosis. Severe situations will likely call for inpatient treatment; selecting a program that allows family members to provide support and is staffed by caring, educated professionals is a good idea.
Other treatment options include electroconvulsive therapy, sleep medication and cognitive behavioral therapy. Individual treatment options are usually part of an overall plan of action and should only be undertaken within a professional environment and under the care of your physician.
Where to Find Psychosis Treatment for a Friend or Family Member
In a NAMI survey, 50 percent of individuals or family members reported that the Internet was a valuable source of information about psychosis. You can also find out about treatment options by speaking to your family physician, picking up literature at local hospitals or clinics, or calling a local mental health clinic. The first step in psychosis treatment is reaching out to others, particularly medical or mental health professionals.
You can also call our helpline at 1-888-997-3147(Who Answers?). Counselors are available 24 hours a day to provide you with information about local treatment options and to walk you through how to find treatment for psychosis.