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Psychosis is a symptom, and not a diagnosis. Psychosis refers to a set of experiences that relate to finding reality confusing or unclear. For some people, psychosis is subtle, and they are simply unsure if certain events or experiences are real. For other people, psychosis can be more extreme, and they may hear voices, have visions, or believe things to be real that other people do not. Some people are aware that their experiences are not real, even though they feel real. Some people don’t know that the experiences are not real. In both cases the person can have psychosis.
Psychosis can be related to lots of different conditions or diagnoses. For some people, psychosis is something that happens once and not again, and for others, once psychosis starts, it doesn’t fully go away. Psychosis occurs on a continuum from normal experience (like hearing voices before falling asleep, or wondering if classmates are laughing about them at school), to severe experiences (like believing things that are untrue but cause someone to act on those beliefs in a way they wouldn’t otherwise act). Regardless of why someone has psychosis, or how long they are going to have it, programs like PEACE can help people to get back to lives of their choosing.
Signs of psychosis are what other people may notice about you. Some of these can happen very early, before you become aware of symptoms of psychosis.
Psychosis tends to come and go in “episodes” of more intense symptoms.
Psychosis is more common than many think.
It’s not uncommon to experience temporary symptoms of psychosis as a result of extreme stress, trauma, or even lack of sleep.
Just because someone experiences psychosis does not mean that they automatically have, or will have a psychotic disorder. Many Americans may experience psychosis in a given year, but only about 3% of these experiences develop into a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. An estimated 9 million Americans are currently living with psychotic disorders.
This is a great question, but a hard one to answer.
The good news is that evidence based early interventions for psychosis can help individuals get through and understand an episode of psychosis and help to better manage any future episodes so that psychosis doesn’t hold you back from living your life.
The PEACE program is designed to help people in the early stages of psychosis learn how to manage their symptoms and meet their life’s goals. PEACE provides multidisciplinary evidence based services to individuals aged 15 and older, with Medicaid or who are Medicaid eligible and who have been experiencing psychosis for the first time within the last 12 months. With the right tools and supports, individuals can learn to feel better, manage personal challenges, connect with peers, and move toward success in all areas of their lives, including work, school and relationships.
For more information, please visit Psychosis and Early Intervention: