This is what psychosis can do to your brain

  • Jan 16 , 2017

Depression is a common but serious mental disorder. It has many types, one of which is psychosis – a severe mental disorder in which thoughts and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality. People who are psychotic may have either hallucinations or delusions.

Hallucinations are sensory experiences that occur in the absence of an actual stimulus. For example, a person having an auditory hallucination may hear their mother yelling at them when their mother isn’t around. Or someone having a visual hallucination may see something, like a person in front of them, who isn’t actually there. The patients believe that their experiences are happening for real. It is a symptom of mental illness rather than a medical condition in its own right. Generally, there are two types of psychiatric disorders that produce psychotic symptoms: schizophrenia and mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder.

Symptoms:

  • Hallucinations - hearing, seeing, or feeling things that do not exist.
  • Delusions - false beliefs, especially based on fear or suspicion of things that are not real.
  • Disorganised thought, speech or behaviour.
  • Disordered thinking - jumping between unrelated topics, making strange connections between thoughts.
  • Catatonia – unresponsiveness.
  • Feelings of suspicious – always suspicious on others.
  • Distorted perceptions
  • Depression and suicidal feelings- feelings depressed and trying to kill oneself.
  • Obsessive thinking- panic disorder, role disorder.
  • Sleep problems – Narcolepsy, unhealthy sleeping habits
  • Hearing several voices talking, often negatively, about the patient – talking to oneself or people who do not exist.
  • A voice giving a commentary on what the patient is doing – hearing as if someone is controlling the actions of what patient is doing.
  • Repeating what the patient is thinking – repetitive thoughts.
  • Becoming more socially withdrawn – staying more isolated.
  • Performing worse for a sustained period at school or work – weak performances.
  • Becoming more distressed or agitated yet unable to explain why – suffering from anxiety, sorrow or pain.

Treatment:

Antipsychotic drugs: Treatment with a class of drugs known as antipsychotics is the most common therapy for people with a psychotic illness. Antipsychotics are effective at reducing psychosis symptoms in psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, but family and friend’s support is the biggest help.

Acute phase or maintenance phase:

During the acute phase, a stay in hospital is often needed. In the maintenance phase, treatment of schizophrenia is in the community and antipsychotics help to prevent further psychotic episodes, although relapses often occur, sometimes due to a failure to take the medications. Lifelong treatment of schizophrenia may involve other interventions and support, including the role of the family in care.