Psychosis is a condition that affects the way your brain processes information. It causes you to lose touch with reality. You might see, hear or believe things that aren’t real.
Psychosisis a symptom, not an illness.A mental or physical illness, substance abuse, or extreme stress or trauma can cause it.
Psychotic disorders like schizophrenia involve psychosis that usually affects you for the first time in the late teen years or early adulthood. Young people are especially likely to get it.Even before what doctors call the first episode of psychosis, you may show slight changes in the way you act or think. This is called the Prodromal Periodand could last days, weeks, months or even years.
Sometimes you can lose touch with reality even when you don’t have a primary psychotic illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.When this happens, itis called as secondary psychosis.
The different types of psychosis include-
• Schizo affective disorder – This disorder is similar to schizophrenia but includes periods of mood disturbances.
• Brief psychotic disorder- Symptoms occur in response to a stressful life event,last less than a month and do not return.
• Delusional disorder- The person has a strong belief in something irrational and often bizarre with no factual basis.
• Bipolar psychosis- Some people with bipolar disorder experience psychosis, either during a very high or very low mood.
• Severe depression – It is also known as major depressive disorder with psychotic features.
• Postpartum psychosis –This type of psychosis can present after giving birth.
• Substance- induced psychosis – The misuse of alcohal, some recreational drugs and certain prescription drugs can cause this.
Psychosis doesn’t suddenly start. It usually follows this pattern –
•Warning signs before psychosis –
It starts with gradual changes in the way you think about and understand the world.You or your family members may notice –
¤ lack of self care or hygeine
¤ Trouble thinking clearly or concentrating
¤ Stronger emotions than situations call for
¤ Suspiciousness or unease around others.
¤ No emotions at all
¤ A drop in grades or job performance
• Signs of early psychosis –
¤ Stop taking care of yourself
¤ Hang on to unusual beliefs or thoughts, no matter what other say
¤ Hear, see or taste things other don’t
¤ Not be able to thinkclearly or pay attention
• Symptoms of a psychotic episode –
Usually you will notice all of the above plus-
¤ Hallucinations –
A Hallucination is a sensory perception in the absence of outside stimuli. That means seeing, hearing, feeling or smelling something that is not present.A person who is hallucinating might see things that donot exist or hear people talking when they are alone.
There are certain illness that cause psychosis. There are also triggers like drug use, lack of sleep and other environmental factors. In addition, certain situations can lead to specific types of psychosis developing.
Illnesses that can cause psychosis include-
• Brain diseases such as Parkinson disease, Huntington’s disease and some chromosomal disorders
• Brain tumors or cysts
Some types of dementia may result in psychosis, such as that caused by –
• Alzheimer’s disease
• HIV, Syphilis and other infections that attack the brain
• Some types of epilepsy
Research has shown that genetics may play a role. People are more likely to develop a psychotic disorder if they have a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, who has a psychotic disorder.
Children born with the genetic mutation known as 22q11.2 deletion syndrome are at risk for developing a psychotic disorder, especially schizophrenia.
Anyone who is experiencing psychosis should receive urgent medical attention. Treatment can provide both short and long term help.
Early Diagnosis –
Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder usually appear in a person’s teenage years or during early adulthood.
Psychiatrists recommend considering the possibility of a psychotic disorder is a young person if they show signs of –
• Changes in mood
• Increased social withdrawl
• Reduced focus or performance at school or work
• Distress or agitation without being able to explain why
There is no biological test for psychosis, but laboratory tests can rule out other medical problems that might explain the symptoms.
To diagnose psychosis, a doctor will carry out a clinical examination and ask various questions.
They will ask about-
• the person’s experiences, thoughts and daily activities
• any family history of psychiatric illness
• any medical and recreational drug use
• any other symptoms .
Possible tests include –
• blood tests
• an electroencephalogram (EEG), which records brain activity.
Treatment psychosis may involve a combination of medications and therapy.
Antipsychotic Drugs –
Antipsychotic drugs are the main form of treatment for people with a psychotic illness. Antipsychotics can reduce psychosis symptoms in people with psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia. However, they do not treat or cure the underlying condition.
Examples of these medications include –
Acute and maintainence phases of schizophrenia –
In schizophrenia ,there are two phases of antipsychotic treatment –
• Acute Phase –
The person may need to stay in the hospital. Sometimes, a doctor will prescribe rapid tranquilization. They give the person a fast acting medication that relaxes them to ensure that they do not harm themselves or others.
• Maintenance Phase –
The person does not stay in the hospital but uses antipsychotics drugs to help prevent further episodes. Stopping the medication can lead to relapses.
Counseling, along with medicines, can also help manage psychosis.
• Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) –
CBT can help you recognize when you have psychotic episodes. It also helps you figure out whether what you see and hearing real or imagined. This kind of therapy also stresses the importance of antipsychotic medications and sticking with your treatment.
• Supportive psychotherapy –
It helps to lean to live with and manage psychosis. If aIso teaches healthy ways of thinking.
• Cognitive enhancement therapy (CET) –
It uses computer exercises and group work to help you think and understand better.
• Family psycho education and support-
It involves your loved ones. It helps you bond and improves the way you solve problems together.
• Coordinated speciality Care (CSC) –
It creates a team approach in treating psychosis when it’s first diagnosed. CSC combines medication and psychotherapy with social services and work and education support.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
Psychosis is called Unmad in Ayurveda. Psychosis occurs due to imbalance of psychic energies – Sattva, raja and tama in connection with imbalance of physical energies which are vata, pitta and kapha. Psychosis is the result of delusions, indulgence of negative emotions like anger and hatred.
• Brahmi –
• Mulethi –
• Vacha –
• Ashwagandha –
• Shwet jeerak-
Effective Medications –
• Brahmi vati
• Mulethi Churna
• Mahakalyanak Ghrita
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