What is it?

This is a term used to describe a range of conditions which have one feature in common, namely the individual loses contact with reality. This can take many forms but two common groups of psychosis are the Bipolar Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia.

How do we know it's happening?

The form depends on the condition itself. The loss of contact with reality can be seen either through extremes of behaviour or emotion or unusual patterns of thought and perception (delusions and hallucinations). In all cases family or friends will notice that the individual holds unusual beliefs which are difficult to challenge and that they hold them with genuine conviction. These beliefs will be out of keeping with the cultural and social background of that person.

Some people may only have one psychotic episode and make a full recovery, never experiencing another episode. For others it is a longer process.

Someone with psychosis may have symptoms including:

  • Hallucinations - hearing, seeing, feeling or
  • Smelling something which other people do not      
  • Believing something that others don't share (delusions) which may make the person feel they are being controlled
  • Confused thinking - thoughts and sentences
  • May become confused and unclear and may not make sense
  • Mood swings - unusually excited or depressed
  • Changes in behaviour, e.g. extremely active or lethargic, talking to themselves, avoiding people, becoming aggressive or upset

What we offer

Psychosis is by definition a serious mental health problem. All of our services are geared towards helping resolve serious mental health problems and a person can be assured of a high level of expert advice. Of most importance are the early intervention services whose job it is to work with people who have or are thought to be developing psychotic illnesses. They will work closely with the individual for up to three years to help try to prevent the full development of the condition or at least minimise its impact. These teams were developed on the basis of research work indicating that early intervention had a very beneficial effect in terms of long term outcomes. We operate early intervention teams across the Trust.


GPs are the first point of contact and they will direct individuals to the relevant service. We can respond very rapidly (within hours) if necessary and will ensure expert diagnosis and treatment designed to help ensure swift recovery.

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