Psychosis is a very serious mental health problem that has the potential to cause severe problems for both the individual with psychosis, and those around them.

Treatment is very important, and should result in the symptoms of psychosis being controlled more. In some cases, a full recovery is available.

Medicine often plays a key role in the treatment of psychosis

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis: Psychosis is a very serious mental health problem that causes an individual to see, perceive or interpret things in very different ways to others. The most well-known signs of psychosis are hallucinations and delusions. Those who suffer from psychosis are said to “lose touch” with reality. Psychosis is a very serious problem that can have severe repercussions on both the individual suffering, and those around them. In rare cases, psychosis can be a positive thing – with some suggesting they can hear the voices of dead loved ones. Unfortunately, the majority of people have serious ill health when suffering from symptoms of psychosis. Psychosis itself isn’t a mental health condition, though is a key part of mental health, and plays a role in several conditions where psychotic episodes are common.

Psychosis treatment

Because psychosis isn’t a condition in itself, it is difficult to state exactly how it is treated. This is because the conditions where psychosis is involved in, such as Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia, all have different treatment methods.

Because psychosis is a serious problem, each individual will have their own care team to provide care and support. Specialist care teams like Early Intervention Teams and Community Mental Health Teams can undertake a full assessment of an individual, and help set up a treatment plan suited to their symptoms.

Talking therapy and medication are common parts of the treatment plan. A first psychotic episode should result in an individual seeing an Early Intervention Team.

Treatment will commonly involve:

  • Talking Therapy: Some form of talking therapy can sometimes complement medication. Several types of therapy are available, with the selection made being based on individual circumstances. These may include:

Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy: Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy is a talking therapy that aims to help uncover and resolve unconscious beliefs that cause psychiatric conditions. Traumatic experiences that may or may not be buried in the unconscious mind can be highlighted and processed. Psychoanalytical psychotherapy involves talking to a trained therapist. The therapist can show the individual how early memories and past traumas have affected their thinking, behaviour and attitude in the modern day. Psychoanalytical psychotherapy is especially useful for any condition that involves past trauma. Renowned neurologist Sigmund Freud developed this therapy, which is typically completed over a long-term basis.

Jungian Therapy: Also known as Jungian analysis, this therapy is based on Carl Jung’s theory on the mind. The aim of this therapy is to bring the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind together, which should lead to a more balanced state of mind. It can be used for a variety of conditions. The therapy tries to look at the real person, rather than the person seen by the outside world. The therapist will use different techniques to elicit responses.

There are a range of other types of talking therapy, aside from the above.

  • Medication: Medication is normally recommended to be the first line of treatment for psychosis. Antipsychotics (also known as neuroleptics) are normally prescribed. In some cases, a mood stabiliser may be prescribed:

Antipsychotics: Antipsychotics (also known as neuroleptics) block the effect of dopamine – a chemical in the brain that is heavily linked to psychotic symptoms like hallucinations. They can also be useful for stabilising mood, and treating anxiety. They are not suitable for everyone however, and are often associated with many side effects like weight gain, dizziness and dry mouth.

Mood Stabilisers: Mood stabilisers can help level out moods, meaning fewer lows, and fewer euphoric highs are felt. Lithium Carbonate is the best-known mood stabiliser. Valproate is a well-known anticonvulsant which is often used as a stabiliser for people who cannot take Lithium Carbonate.

In very severe cases of psychosis, an individual may need to be compulsorily detained at a secure hospital for assessment and treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983.

This will only happen in circumstances that warrant such a drastic move, such as the need to detain someone for their own safety.

Families have the potential to play a positive role in treatment. Having the support of family members is crucial. Family members can attend meetings with both a therapist and the individual with psychosis.


Psychosis is a very complex and debilitating problem to deal with, but there is no shortage of potential treatment options.

The aim is for each patient to find a treatment combination that enables them to see an improvement in their mental wellbeing.

See Also

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