Psychosis is when an individual has an impaired relationship with reality. It is a symptom of serious mental disorders. People who suffer from psychosis are called psychotic. Psychotics may have either hallucinations or delusions. Delusions and hallucinations are two very different symptoms that are both often experienced by people with psychosis. Delusions and hallucinations seem real to the person who is experiencing them.
Hallucinations are sensory experiences that occur outside the realm of reality. That means seeing, hearing, feeling, or smelling something that isn’t present.For example, a person having an auditory hallucination may hear someone yelling at them when there is no-one around. Someone having a visual hallucination may see something, that is not there.
Delusions are thoughts that are contrary to actual evidence. Some people with psychosis may also experience loss of motivation and social withdrawal. These experiences can be frightening and may cause the person to hurt themselves or others. It is important to see a doctor right away if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of psychosis. Someone with a delusion of paranoia might think that they are being followed when they are not, or that secret messages are being sent to them. People with a grandiose delusion will have an exaggerated sense of importance. Somatic delusion is when a someone believes they have a terminal illness when they are healthy.
These symptoms can include:
- difficulty concentrating
- depressed mood
- sleeping too much or not enough
- withdrawal from family and friends
- disorganized speech, ie. switching topics erratically
- suicidal thoughts or actions