Psychosis is a severe mental disorder that manifests the disturbed functioning of the brain. However, this condition is curable. People who are suffering from this mental condition will often lose contact with all that exists or happens and it is marked by changes in the thoughts, perception, belief as well as behavior of the affected individuals.
Psychosis may be extremely confusing as well as anguishing for Individuals who are experiencing this mental condition. In the absence of any effectual therapy, psychosis may even devastate the lives of the suffering individuals, in addition to their families.
An individual experiences bouts of psychosis when the symptoms related to this condition are very strong and restricts his/ her normal life. While the duration of psychotic experiences differs from one individual to another and may possibly continue for just some hours to several days together, unless the patient undergoes appropriate treatment, it is very likely that psychosis may persist for several weeks, many months and also for years together.
As the occurrence of psychosis differs to a great extent form one individual to another, even the psychosis symptoms experienced by different people may be very dissimilar.
It has been found that at some point in their life roughly three per cent of people experience an incident of psychosis. Usually, the first psychosis episode takes place during the early adult or teenage life of an individual. This mental condition occurs in every culture as well as at every socio-economic status level and has an equal effect on both males as well as females.
It is extremely important to start the treatment of psychosis in its early stage, because this condition generally begins at an extremely decisive phase in the life of a young adult. In effect, teenagers and young adults simply start developing their individual identity, establish enduring relations and also being to make thoughtful plans regarding their career as well as future. Therefore, timely and successful treatment of the condition helps them to lead a healthy as well as productive life later on.
Basically, psychosis involves three phases. However, everyone who endures a psychotic episode will not experience obvious symptoms of all the three phases of this mental condition. The symptoms suffered by every person will be different.
The initial phase of psychosis is known as the Prodromal Phase, which involves the period just prior to the condition becoming further clear. In most instances, the sufferer experiences alterations in thinking, feelings, discernment as well as behaviours. Psychotic symptoms during the Prodromal Phase usually differ from one individual to another and, in fact, some people suffering from this condition may not endure the Prodromal Phase at all. This period for which this initial phase of psychosis continues also differs, generally lasting for many months.
The second or intermediate phase of psychosis is known as Acute Phase and the symptoms modify during this stage. In addition, the disease can be easily distinguished as well as diagnosed during this phase. Hence, it is during this phase that majority of people with psychosis get their first treatment.
A number of psychotic symptoms that become obvious during the acute phase may continue in the third phase of the disease, called Recovery. When treated properly, most people with this condition are able to recuperate successfully from their initial incident of psychosis.
Signs and symptoms
Before the commencement of the severe psychosis, people are likely to experience symptoms that are normally associated with Prodromal symptoms. Some of the symptoms that occur during the initial or the Prodromal stage of the disease may include depressed mood; withdrawal from social gatherings; sleep disorders; difficulty in concentrating; nervousness; tetchiness; slyness; and even absenteeism from work or school.
Precisely speaking, the symptoms mentioned above are very common and may possibly be indications of several other things, for instance, the normal behavior of a teenager. Therefore, it is all the times imperative to keep an eye if an individual is experiencing any alterations in his/ her way of thinking, sensitivity as well as activities, particularly if they continue for some period. The chances of a successful recovery from the disease largely depend on beginning the treatment at the very onset of the psychosis.
Definite psychotic symptoms
The symptoms characteristic to psychosis generally become evident during the second or Acute Phase of the disease. In fact, the symptoms are so obvious that one can hardly overlook them. During this phase the symptoms of psychosis are extreme, vigorous as well as incessant and they usually harm the normal functioning of the patient’s life. Often, these symptoms are categorized into two groups – ‘positive’ and ‘negative’.
These symptoms are called ‘positive’, as they distort as well as inordinate the patient’s usual performance. The positive symptoms of psychosis may include delusions (rigid false convictions).
For instance, people experiencing such positive symptoms of the disease may always have the conviction that someone is following or monitoring them; others are conspiring against them; that they are being governed by other people or some unknown force(s); that they possess some exceptional competencies or ‘powers’; say their thoughts aloud for other people to hear; and have a feeling that particular songs and/ or comments explicitly directed towards them or these might be meant for sending some veiled message to them.
Hallucinations entail hearing, seeing, sensing, tasting or smelling something that actually does not exist. Hearing certain things like voices or specific sounds are the most frequent types of hallucinations that people experience. In effect, these hallucinations may possibly be so existent that the person is unlikely to become conscious of the fact that the things they are listen to are simply phony. Consequent to such hallucinations, people often start behaving abnormally, which is identified as a trouble.
Disorganized speech or behaviour
It is likely that people enduring psychosis will have an incoherent speech – for instance, the suffering individual may change topics very quickly. Alternately, many others may find it very difficult to comprehend what such individuals may be saying.
In addition people with psychosis may also have a confusing behaviour. Such people may find it difficult to carry out the normal activities of their everyday life, for instance, looking after themselves, cooking, etc. They are also likely to show actions or express reactions that are totally out of place, for instance, they may keep laughing while talking about any individual misfortune.
NEGATIVE SYMPTOMS: Unlike the ‘positive’ symptoms, which are intense and persistent, negative symptoms of psychosis are a sign of some kind of lessening or failure of the usual functions of the suffering individual. Compared to the positive symptoms, most of the negative symptoms are usually not so obvious and they need to be assessed very cautiously.
Some of the common negative symptoms of psychosis comprise talking very less; displaying very little emotions; having problems in thinking or various ideas cropping up; poor levels of inspiration or effort; and decreased capability to kick off any assignment.
OTHER SYMPTOMS: It may be noted that people with psychosis may experience a number of additional symptoms, besides those related to their condition. Other problems experienced by people with psychosis may include nervousness, depression, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and actions, problems related to sleep, and functional problems.
Vulnerability and stress
Genetic disposition or brain damage by environmental issues may make people vulnerable to psychosis. Therefore, the susceptibility of an individual to psychosis may be calculated by following his/ her family history related to psychotic problems, complications at birth (for instance, less oxygen supplies to a newborn infant), or any harm to the brain.
Several things like important events in our life may result in stress or trauma. Such important events may include shifting residence to a different place, heart break and death of a beloved one. In addition, alcohol or drug abuse and highly demanding living conditions like acute financial problems or intense family conflicts may result in stress.
The extent to which an individual may be susceptible to stress actually differs from one person to another. Similarly, the level of stress that is likely to set in psychosis in a person is also different for different people. For instance, an individual having very low susceptibility may be able to endure enough stress without developing the disease. On the other hand, an individual who is extremely susceptible may possibly be able to endure only the smallest amount of tension and if the stress increases, he/ she may experience psychosis.
Is a psychotic person dangerous?
While a number of people enduring psychosis are likely to feel more agitated and experience sudden changes in mood, they may also show social withdrawal as well as express reduced emotions. Although very powerful hallucinations and delusions may make an individual to act in an unpredictable or violent manner, people enduring psychosis are seldom aggressive. In reality, such people are more likely to harm themselves than other people.