Psychosis is a very severe mental health problem, with those in a psychotic episode often in a state of considerable distress.

Psychosis can be described as a problem that causes an individual to see, perceive or interpret things in very different ways to the average person. The actions of those with psychosis can differ, with a range of different symptoms encompassing psychosis.  

In general, someone who is in a psychotic state will have lost touch with reality, and may be exhibiting behaviour that seems unusual.

Psychosis isn’t a mental health condition in its own right, but is a key symptom in many conditions. As mentioned, a range of different symptoms are involved in psychosis.

Psychosis features a few different symptoms

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.

Symptoms of Psychosis

Here are some of the common symptoms of psychosis:

Hallucinations: This is where a person sees or hears something that doesn’t exist outside of their mind. It is also possible to smell, feel or even taste something too while hallucinating. A common hallucination is hearing voices. When someone hears voices, they may believe they are being ordered to do something by the voice, or sometimes the voice may be critical, or abusive. One of the most damaging parts of a hallucination is that the person who is hallucinating believes fully that what they are experiencing is real.

Delusions: A delusion is where an individual has a belief that they believe steadfastly in, though isn’t true. The person involved will be adamant that their belief is true. In the majority of cases however, they will not be correct. Delusions can take on a wide array of forms. An example of a delusion is paranoia – such as the feeling an individual is being spied on. As such, the delusion can have a marked effect on the day-to-day life of the individual.

Disorganised Speech: This is where an individual will struggle with their speech. They may make up words, struggle to concentrate on one topic, repeatedly chant words, or switch between topics rapidly. Sometimes, it can be impossible to understand what the person is saying. As a result, it can be very difficult to make sense of what the person is saying.

Disorganised Behaviour: Sometimes, an individual with psychosis will display disorganised behaviour that may be impulsive and unpredictable. A person may behave in a somewhat inappropriate way – having forgotten how a suitable way is to act. For instance, a person may swear loudly in public. Some people believe their movements and actions are being dictated by someone else, leading to their disorganised behaviour.

Unusual motor behaviour: Sometimes, an individual will exhibit unusual motor behaviour – such as pacing up and down, or making the same, repetitive movements. This can also act as a compulsion – similar to those seen in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. This may also involve catatonia, where an individual will appear immobile, and be unable to move.

Thought Disorder: Also known as disturbed thoughts – someone who has experienced psychosis will often lose touch with reality. As a result, their thought process can become distorted. They may be unable to focus on anything – losing their concentration easily. During a situation which involves disturbed thoughts, the mind of an individual can become jumbled, leading to confusion. Someone may think slowly, or have a poor memory. The person will generally struggle to match their thoughts, feelings and behaviour together.

The impact these symptoms have

These symptoms normally cause significant distress to an individual. The person is likely to be scared, anxious and confused by the psychosis.

They will commonly withdraw from friends and family, with delusions particularly causing someone to be suspicious of those around them. A person will find commonly that as a result of psychosis, they have a disorganised mind. They may struggle to concentrate, be wary of others, have racing thoughts or a flight of ideas.

As to how often a psychotic episode takes place, it ranges in each individual case. Some people will have sporadic psychotic episodes, while others may have to live with psychosis for the majority of their life.

In any case, psychosis has a marked impact on the life of someone that experiences it. Receiving support is crucial.


It is important to note that experiences of psychosis can differ from person-to-person. But the key symptoms outlined above are the most common.

If a person exhibits any of the above symptoms, it is important to seek treatment.

See Also

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