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Psychosis

What is psychosis?

Psychosis is an experience where someone loses touch with reality. While it is often very frightening and disorientating, some people can also have positive or heightened feelings as well.

There are various causes of psychosis. For instance, it can be linked to mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and bipolar affective disorder. It can also be a temporary issue caused by stress, lack of sleep or use of substances like LSD.

Women who have recently given birth can experience psychosis, while for other people it can be triggered by intense spiritual practices. Increasingly, there is a recognition that people who experience psychosis are likely to also have had past traumas. Whatever the cause, psychosis can be terrifying, confusing and isolating.

Thankfully, the right therapy can help you with managing psychosis. A good therapist can talk you through your experience, work with you in making sense of it and support you in finding a way forward.

Signs of psychosis

  • Hallucinations (seeing, hearing or feeling something that isn’t there)

  • Delusions e.g. believing that there is a conspiracy to harm you

  • Seeing patterns or ‘messages’ in your environment

  • Feeling that things or people aren’t real

  • Depersonalisation (feelings of detachment)

  • Experiencing a sense of heightened reality

  • Suspicion or fear of others

  • Disorganised or rapid speech

  • Racing thoughts and distractibility

  • Social withdrawal

  • Emotional numbness

Help with psychosis

These therapies have been shown to be effective with psychosis: CBT, ACT, CFT, EMDR, Art Therapy, Systemic Family Therapy.

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