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Volume 3: Mental Illnesses Issue 4: Psychosis November 24th, 2009.

Emotional Health MONTHLY:

Mental Illness

Psychosis Psychosis: What is it? Special points of interest:

Psychosis is a feature of mental illnesses characterized by radical changes in one`s What the Doctor says. personality and Recognizing symptoms of psychosis. false or diluted in your loved ones. ideas about what is How is psychosis dangerous? taking place, who One man`s story. one is, and what one is seeing or How can you help? hearing. Psychosis is linked to a number of other serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, mania, and bipolar disorder. People who suffer from psychosis experience hallucinations, or distortion in one`s sense of reality. They are unable to separate personal experiences from the reality of events in the outside world. Symptoms of psychosis include halluciIN THIS WEEK’S ISSUE: What is psychosis?

Psychosis: What is it? Types of psychosis.

Cover Cover

Information from the Doctor 2 What psychosis looks like and how it Feels.


Psychosis in your Loved Ones.


Types of Psychosis.

nations, delusions, paranoia, and depression. It is believed that the leading cause of psychosis is chemical abnormality in the brain, however, other factors may also determine its course or severity. Some of these include stress, lack of support or security within family or other support systems, or sleep depravity. Other factors, called “organic,”

even mental withdrawal. Brief Reactive Psychosis

There are several types of psychosis, all characterized by the behavior they provoke within a person. It can be very difficult to distinguish certain types of psychosis due to the fact that they create different reaction in every person. Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia causes distorted perception in the five senses. A Psychosis: What to look out 3 person with Schizophrenia will exfor– and how to Help. press feelings or words that make no sense. About 150 of every 100,000 people will suffer from Ryan Perssel’s Story 3 Schizophrenia . [16] Factors such as changes in health, changes in Resources Back environment, chemical imbalance in the brain, or drug use are suspected to be the primary causes of Schizophrenia . Family therapy is often used as treatment for Schizophrenia . This is because the people affected most by the effects of Schizophrenia , aside from the victim, are the families of the victim. Like most mental illnesses, schizophrenia cause social and

Psychosis that occurs in short, infrequent episodes, is called brief reactive psychosis. It may also be called acute psychosis. Episodes of this type of psychosis are usually short and less severe than clinical psychosis. Bipolar Disorder Bipolar Disorder is a frequent change in mood within a person. They experience high moods, or mania, and low moods; depression. Mania, as an example, will cause people to believe they have acquired such abilities as super powers. Bipolar Disorder affects roughly 5.7 American adults. [15] Delusional Disorder A delusion is a very strong belief in something that, in reality, could not

include brain tumors or epilepsy. Abusive use of alcohol and drugs has also been linked to the cause of psychosis. Psychosis is a very serious mental condition that, if left untreated, can put its victims, its victims loved ones, and/or those around its victims in danger or at risk of being in danger. People with psychosis can be a harm to themselves and others, and it is important to recognize the symptoms before the condition becomes life threatening.

exist. People with delusional disorder often act on these beliefs which distinguishes them from others, and make them seem “crazy.”

Organic Psychosis Organic Psychosis is said to be caused by things like brain tumors or AIDS. It is the result of disrupted brain functions. Other diseases that are said to cause organic psychosis are epilepsy and Alzheimer's.

Recognizing the symptoms of the types of Psychosis is the first step to treating it.

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Emotional Health MONTHLY: psychosis get treated at home, while we often see them in psychiat-

Emotional Health’s own, Kathryn Moshly, sat down with Doctor Henry Franklin, to see what he could tell us about psychosis. Kathryn: So, Dr. Franklin, how would you describe psychosis?

Information From the Doctor.

Dr. Franklin: Well Ms. Moshly, psychosis is a series of mental illnesses that affect the brain so much, that they disrupt its functioning, often resulting in confusion or inability to distinguish reality from imagination. Kathryn: Who suffers from psychosis? Dr. Franklin: Anyone of any age can be at risk of psychosis, but we primarily see psychosis in young adults; ages 17-25. [7] Kathryn: We know that psychosis can be caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. What exactly does this mean? Dr. Franklin: Well, it can mean a few things. Our brains function by sending signals and messages to parts of our bodies. A person`s brain who is affected by psychosis will send too many or too little messages. It could also be genetic. A person who has a family member with psychosis has a 15-20% chance of developing the same disease.[9] More often, psychosis is caused by a person’s beliefs, personality, and the amount of stress they are under. Kathryn: Wow. We often see people with psychosis portrayed as dangerous... Dr. Franklin: Yes. But it isn't completely true. Most people with

ric hospitals on television. We also see them portrayed as murderers in movies. Not true. A drunk driver is more of a risk to people than a person with psychosis. Kathryn: Is Psychosis a life-long illness, Dr. Franklin? Dr. Franklin: No, but its duration and severity will vary in every single person. Some people have only one episode of psychosis and others will battle it for years, but it is

They may look tired. They can be quiet and withdrawn, or they can be aggressive and loud. The conditions, duration, severity, and behavior in psychosis depends on the victim, and is different in everyone. The first signs of psychosis may look like those of depression and should be treated as soon as possible to decrease the chanced of the condition becoming more severe. It is important for victims of psychosis to know that treatment does exist, and in almost all cases, results in cure of the disease.

most always cured. Kathryn: How do we know when someone is experiencing psychosis? Dr. Franklin: Almost all of the initiating symptoms of psychosis are those of depression: a person will have changes in emotion. More developed signs of psychosis are seeing and hearing things that are not present. Kathryn: Well thank you so much Dr. Franklin! Is there anything else you want to say about psychosis? Dr. Franklin: Not really, but you brought up the point about people with psychosis being dangerous. While this can be true, most everything you hear about psychotic people being dangerous is a myth and shouldn't be taken seriously. Kathryn: Well thanks again. Dr. Franklin: Not a problem, Ms. Moshly.

What Psychosis looks like AND how it feels . People suffering from psychosis may look dethatched from reality, but in their mind, they are as sane as you or I. The things they say or do may seem ridiculous or improbable, but to them, it is very true. Psychosis patients battle hallucinations and have disorganized thoughts do to the fact that psychosis is a mental illness that affects the ways the brain functions. [1] It causes them to have strong beliefs in things that don`t exist or can`t possibly be true. A person with psychosis may experience a deep depression.[11] 20% of psychotic patients attempt or succeed in suicide. [17] They may feel alone or scared, and in most cases, do not want to share their emotions or thoughts with anyone else. Victims of psychosis are often paranoid and anxious.

Psychosis in your loved ones. It can be shocking and very confusing to realize that someone you love is suffering from psychosis. You may feel guilty because it may seem hard to help your loved ones. This is because most people experiencing psychotic episodes do not wish to be helped and often are in denial of their condition. However, it is very important to help someone you love recognize their psychosis so they can begin to receive medical help for their condition. You should start with consulting a local doctor. One you have found professional help, be sure to keep contact with the people treating your loved one. Have regular

meeting with them and stay educated about the condition of your loved one. [6] If you are around someone while they are having a psychotic episode, you may feel frightened. You must remember that they are not in their right state of mind: the things they say or do may seem odd. They may experiencing a range of emotions.[6] Always remember to provide love and stability to someone while they are recovering from psychosis. It can be hard to deal with the changes going on

in your loved one. Once a victim of psychosis has recovered, it is important that they are not exposed to stressful situations. This may trigger another episode.

Volume 3: Mental Illnesses Issue 4: Psychosis

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Psychosis: What to look out For-and how to Help. When people seem increasingly suspicious about the people around them, they may have psychosis. They may not want to go out in public and detach themselves from social events [10]. When seeing these things in a person, it is your job, especially if that person is close to you, to help them realize their illness and help them get help. It can be very hard to help someone with psychosis mainly because they will not want to admit that they have a problem or they will not want to share their thoughts and emotions. Therefore, it is important that

once you see the warning signs of psychosis in someone, you are consistent in observing their behavior and actions. By doing so, you are able to tell if that person needs help beyond your hands. Recognizing the symptoms of psychosis early and getting treatment early reduces the chances of the disease getting worse. Make sure that you are providing comfort and ease in the environment of the victim. Talking is also important. You will want to take a positive approach to someone who is experiencing psychosis, giving them compliments, but

not seeming too forceful. It is important to remember that the things a psychosis patient sees, hears, and/or feels can be very different and abstract, but they should not be denied in front of the patient.[10] Getting involved in the recovery of a victim of psychosis may seem risky or even dangerous, but it is important for you to help in any way you can.

night. I had awaken from a bad dream in which I was about to be stabbed. I saw something in the corner of my room that looked like a man holding a knife. I screamed and jumped out of my bedroom window. My parents “There were heard me and found me unconscious outside.

Ryan Perrsel’s Story: “Psychosis changed my Life.” We asked Ryan Perssel, former victim of psychosis, to tell us his story. “My first episode of psychosis was when I was 17 years old. I had just switched schools and for some reason, I thought everyone in the school hated me. It started off as just a little paranoia, but I eventually started to think that people wanted to kill me. My parents picked up on my behavior after a couple of months, wondering why I was skipping school and not eating or sleeping. They noticed me starring at things that weren't there and talking to voices that didn't exist. They suspected me of using drugs, and hired a therapist. The therapist assured my parents that my behavior was not from drugs. At age 17, I was diagnosed with acute psychosis, or short term psychosis. I was put on an anti– depressant medication and antipsychotics. While my parents were recognizing changes in my behavior, I was recognizing

changes in theirs . It wasn't as if they were scared of me; they just always seemed jumpy when I was around them. I knew something was wrong with me, but it seemed like they knew it at another level. The medication helped my behavior, but it didn't help my thinking. Many times I would feel like my house was talking to me, and I was sane enough to know that this was not right. I would get up and leave my house in the middle of the night. I would scream at household appliances. It was at this point that my parents decided I needed to be in a different environment. I was omitted into a psychiatric ward about 1oo miles from my house. Within a month, I was released. It was 2 years before my next episode. I was still on medication and only had occasional, minor hallucinations. It as still difficult to sleep or be alone because I always felt at risk. My next episode was late one

moments when

That was my last psychotic epiI couldn`t tell sode to this day. I have been off my medication for a year if things were relapse into now, but the doctors say I can another episode at any time. real or in my Psychosis changed my life. The things I saw that no head.” one else could see: they all scared me. I felt like a was a threat to myself and the people around me. My parents looked at me differently, and they still do, as if they are expecting that side of me to burst out again. The scariest part was the voices. It was if someone was inside of my head. There were moments when I couldn't tell if things were real of in my head. I would wake up, wondering how I knew the things I was thinking. I remember waking up one morning thinking I could read minds. I had suddenly acquired the knowledge to know how to read minds (or so I thought). I couldn`t carry on conversations with people and I had completely detached my self from social situations. I haven't experienced any psychosis symptoms in about four years. I have noticed that my parents are more comfortable around me and I have also noticed myself being more comfortable around people. I am socially active in my job and live with my girlfriend in New York. Though I have been free from psychosis for four years now, I am prepared for if or when I experience another episode. Thank you for hearing my story. I will end on this: again, psychosis changed my life and if there is any way I can help someone get through what I went through, I will do my best to do so.” Contact Ryan at :


1. Digital image. Depression. Guardian Blogs. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <>. “Teen with hands near mouth.' 2. Digital image. Irish Health. Web. 23 Nov. 2009. <>. "Girl staring out Window.' 3. Digital image. KarthIK. Web. 23 Nov. 2009. <>. "Doctor" 4. Digital image. Psychosis. Maddie Ruud, 2009. Web. 23 Nov. 2009. <>. "Gear in Brain." 5. Digital image. Signs and Symptoms (Psychosis). Web. 23 Nov. 2009. <>. "Sad Teen." 6. Early identification of Psychosis. EPI: Ministry of Health. Web. 21 Nov. 2009. < Psychosis_Identification.pdf>. 7. "Facts on Schizophrenia." Friends Hospital: Psychiatric treatment for Mental, Behavioral & Emotional Disorders. Ed. American Psychiatric Association. American Psychiatric Association, 24 July 2009. Web. 23 Nov. 2009. <>. 8. The Facts: What is Psychosis? Queenland Health, 24 July 2008. Web. 23 Nov. 2009. <>. 9. Fast Facts on Bipolar Disorder. Stephen A. King, M.D. Web. 23 Nov. 2009. <>. 10. How can I Help Someone with Psychosis? FactSheet 4. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <>. 11. Psychosis. Wikipedia, 22 Nov. 2009. Web. 23 Nov. 2009. <>. 12. Psychosis. YouthNet UK, 2009. Web. 19 Nov. 2009. <>. 13. Questions about Psychosis. STEPS. Web. 18 Nov. 2009. <>. 14. Schizophrenia and Psychosis. John M. Grohol, 12 Nov. 2006. Web. 23 Nov. 2009. <>. 15. Kessler RC, Chiu WT, Demler O, Walters EE. Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry, 2005 Jun;62(6):617-27. 16. Http:// 150 in 1000000 people suffer from schizophrenia. Raw data. 17. Medical News Today. “20% of psychosis patients…” 18. 1. Digital image. Depression. Guardian Blogs. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <>. “Teen with hands near mouth.' 19. Hinshelwood, R.D., Suffering Insanity: Psychoanalytic Essays on Psychosis. Hove [England], Brunner– Routledge, 2oo4. Print. 20. Torrey, E. Fuller. Surviving Schizophrenia: a manual for families, patients, and providers. New York. HarperPaperBAcks, 2006

For further information: National: SAMHSA: National Mental Health Information Center. November 18th, 2009. <> Local: Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri. November 18th, 2oo9. <> School: Torrey, E. Fuller. SurvivingSchizophrenia: a manual for families, patients, and providers. New York. HarperPaperBAcks, 2006 Website: Information Research Center. National Institute of Mental Health. <http.//>

Mental Health Monthly: Psychosis  

A newsletter on psychosis by Blaire Stillwell.

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