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What exactly is psychosis?

Psychosis is a very chronic mental disorder resulting in a detachment from reality or the world around from within.

Anyone suffering from psychosis will experience a removal from their reality which can result in severe disorders of thought leading to the production of hallucinations and hearing things that aren’t there along with odd or peculiar beliefs which generally don’t fit in with the surrounding world or people in everyday society.

The illness called psychosis has been termed psychosis or labelled so by the medical profession, commonly within the field of psychiatry for identification purposes.

Other common everyday descriptions of psychosis are called psychotic episodes, psychotic experience, psychotic symptoms or in slag terms just schizo, psycho, off his, her rocker or on another planet.

Whatever the slang names or terms used by the medical profession, they’re no laughing matter as psychosis is a very real mental health illness of such severity.

Many people who suffer from psychosis often report a strong detachment that they actually believe their internal experiences, sensations and mental symptoms are very real and at the time are unable to distinguish between internal and external reality as being different.

Evidence suggests that around 10 people per thousand of the UK population will experience some form of psychosis or psychotic episode at some time in their life.


The most common symptoms of psychosis are hallucinations which are the experiencing of things internally but they’re not actually there in reality. In other words, other people cannot see or hear what the sufferer is experiencing.

Visual Hallucinations

The main type of hallucination that is experienced by someone suffering from psychosis is a visual hallucination such as seeing things in front of them which are not actually there. They are only there internally within the mind and are being projected outwardly.

Auditory Hallucinations

The second most common hallucination is auditory, which is the hearing of sounds and or voices. Sometimes these voices can be a command to carry out an action against another or oneself such as harming or damaging things.

Sometimes these auditory hallucinations can be instructional from an internal belief that it is the voice of God telling the psychosis sufferer to act upon the instructions or the command to perform a specific deed or act which is often malevolent or harmful to others.

Kinaesthetic Hallucinations

The third most common hallucination is physical, creating a sense that the sufferer has just been touched. This can be further reinforced with a visual hallucination at the same time, compounding the belief that not only is there a person or vision in front of them but they have actually been physically touched by what they’ve seen.

Olfactory Hallucinations

The fourth most common hallucination is olfactory, which is the sense of smell. A hallucination involving the sense of smell is the experience of smelling things which are not actually there in the external world nor can they be smelt by others.


Additionally to hallucinations are the experiences of delusions. Delusions are a belief held strongly by the sufferer of psychosis that appears to be completely irrational to non-sufferers of psychosis.

An example of a deluded belief can also be accompanied by an experience of paranoia in the sufferer who believes he or she is being followed and that the person following them is of a malevolent nature out to cause harm or even kill them.

This produces a sense of persecution and threat from any or all general members of the public and even a passing glance from any member of the public can indicate an unquestionable confirmation that their belief is now very real when in fact it’s completely fabricated and based on internal beliefs only.

Many people who suffer from extreme cases of psychosis often believe they have become the chosen one from a religious point of view or they have been selected by God to carry a special message to members of the public and that the sufferer has been granted some form of supernatural power or privilege.

This deluded belief can also be accompanied by auditory hallucinations further reinforcing the belief from the voices heard within.


Other deluded beliefs which are quite common is the belief that some external electrical component or chip has been somehow planted internally into the brain of the psychosis sufferer. This implant is considered to monitor internal thoughts and transmit them back to secret agents or persons listening in or reading a person’s mind and behaviour to further establish plots against the sufferer and cause further ideas of harm or attack.

Psychosis is generally an accumulation of various symptoms as described and is often associated to schizophrenia.

Erratic and frantic thinking, combining separate ways of thinking or subject content/topics to become one and the same when in fact they are completely scrambled and make no sense to others.

Substance Misuse and Addictions

Psychosis can also be caused by the withdrawal of heavy drug and alcohol usage in some people who normally wouldn’t have psychosis but for the withdrawing from their substance use.

Some peoples experiences of psychotic symptoms will reduce and disappear once the drugs and alcohol have subsided from the sufferer’s system.

Sometimes psychosis can appear as a diagnosed illness as a result of withdrawing from heavy amounts of drugs and alcohol use.

Psychosis appears in some people due to life trauma, drug misuse, medicine dependency or head injury.

There are many reasons why someone can develop psychosis short-term or long-term and with the right treatment it can be either managed or reduced.


Early intervention by a team of health care professionals is essential. For anyone who has experienced their first episode of psychosis it is important to start treatment as soon as possible.
Treatment can include various prescriptions for psychiatric medications.

  • A discussion with their intervention team or consultant to provide a full assessment of the symptoms that are being experienced
  • Various psychological and therapeutic services available
  • Various occupational supportive services which includes social help or daily home living and coping assistance
  • Antipsychotic drug treatments
  • Anticonvulsants to assist with the balancing out of mood
  • Various psychological therapies which include cognitive behavioural treatments
  • Psychotherapy and/or family therapy
  • Tranquillisers accompanied by counselling services
  • Various treatments and information are available on the NHS website

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