Top 5 Things Everyone Should Know About Psychosis

Psychosis remains one of the more misunderstood brain health conditions of our time, and yet, especially among young people, it’s more common — and more treatable — than we think. Because psychosis is much more treatable in its early stages (think ‘stage 1’ cancer versus ‘stage 4’), understanding what psychosis is (and isn’t), and how and where to get help, is critical.

Here are the top 5 things you need to know about psychosis:

1. Psychosis affects the brain’s ability to perceive reality.

Typical early symptoms include:

  • changes in how things sound, look, taste, smell or feel
  • suspiciousness or paranoia
  • social withdrawal
  • problems with sleep, concentrating, or processing thoughts

2. Psychosis is caused by a mix of environmental factors (sometimes stress, trauma or drug-related) and genetic factors.

The interplay between genes and environment  is still a subject of scientific research. Other medical factors such as drug interactions, neurologic disorders or nutritional deficiencies can also cause psychosis and are important to rule out early on. 

3. Recovering full function is possible.

Accessing effective help as early as possible, and the support of family and friends are really helpful. Learn more about supporting a friend or loved one here.

4. About 3% of the general population experiences psychosis in a lifetime. 

Psychosis can affect anyone.  For ages under 40, it’s more common than diabetes. A first episode usually occurs in teen and early adult years. For some, it is a temporary phenomenon. For others, it may progress to a more disruptive and/or chronic condition.

5. Psychosis is a diagnosable, treatable condition that can happen to anyone, through no fault of their own.

Here’s what psychosis is NOT:

  • a weakness, or the result of any personal failure
  • a result of bad parenting
  • a split or multiple personality

Learn more about psychosis, treatment and support here. 

Living with psychosis? You’re not alone. Check out our Stories of Strength for a dose of inspiration.

What Everyone Should Know About Psychosis - Fact vs Fiction

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