Psychosis can be a terrifying illness. The loss of certainty about what is real and what is not is debilitating. Those experiencing psychosis may or may not be aware of their sickness. When psychosis is present, those who are struggling with any other psychiatric disorder are likelier to die by suicide. For these reasons, it is especially important that we are all informed and ready to respond when we see signs of psychosis.
FACTS ABOUT PSYCHOSIS
- It is extremely important to take even subtle signs of psychosis seriously as it is one of the top three causes of suicide.
- First episodes of psychosis peak between ages 15-25. It often coincides with starting college – possibly triggered by the stress of this transition.
- Untreated psychosis becomes increasingly difficult to treat so recognizing it early is critical.
- Signs of psychosis can be subtle and a person suffering mild or even moderate psychosis can often control their behavior in public in order to mask their suffering.
- Many mental health and physical disorders can cause psychosis including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, postpartum depression, severe stress or anxiety, sleep deprivation, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria, strokes, dementia, and brain tumors.
- Both prescription and illicit drugs can cause psychosis.