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What is psychosis?

Psychosis is a mental health problem that causes people to experience or interpret things differently from those around them. It is sometimes referred to as ‘a loss of touch with reality’. Experiencing the symptoms of psychosis is often referred to as having a psychotic episode. A person might experience it once, or have repeated episodes, or live with it most of the time.

The most common experiences of psychosis are:
  • Hallucinations: This is where a person hears, sees, feels, smells or even tastes things that aren’t there; most commonly hearing voices.
  • Unusual beliefs: Where a person has strong beliefs that aren’t shared by others, this is sometimes referred to as a ‘delusion; a common delusion is someone believing there is a conspiracy to harm them.
  • Disorganised thinking and speech: It may be difficult to follow someone’s train of thought or speech.

These can cause distress and impact on a person’s daily life e.g. attending college, seeing friends or sleep.

Many people go on to make a full recovery