What to look for: Psychosis
Learn about the thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physical symptoms associated with psychosis.
Psychosis usually develops over a period of time. It can come on more suddenly, but that is uncommon. Most people have their first symptoms between the ages of 17 and 24. The symptoms below are ones that may show up when a person first starts to experience psychosis, and other symptoms may appear later.
- Can’t think straight; thoughts are all jumbled and confusing
- Believe you have special superhuman powers
- Become very suspicious or paranoid. Think others are spying, watching, following or plotting to harm you
- Find hidden messages for you on TV, radio or the internet
- Are absolutely convinced about something (an unusual belief) and there is nothing that can prove it’s not true
- A sudden intense interested in occult, supernatural or religious beliefs outside of your family or culture
- Feel or show less emotion than you used to
- Make changes that concern your family or friends; they say you’re not your usual self
- Engage in reckless behaviours that can bring harm
- Don’t respond when someone is talking to you
- Rapid speech that is difficult to interpret and speaking in a way that doesn’t make sense
Physical Signs add
- Hear or see things that are not there (such as voices when there’s no one around)
- Sounds, lights or colours seem more intense than usual
- Go days with little or no sleep but feel totally energized
Having these experiences doesn’t automatically mean you have psychosis. Many of these symptoms are not unique to psychosis. They may be the result of many things, including other types of mental health challenges, drug use, a medical problem or a temporary reaction to stress. This is why it is important to get them checked out.
Not everyone experiences the same set of symptoms or to the same level. A person may be diagnosed with psychosis when symptoms are very strong, continual and get in the way of a person’s life.
Getting help early is important to recover faster and to reduce the negative impact psychosis may have. Specialized early psychosis treatments and services are available
Concerned about someone else?
Often friends notice changes that are very unusual and concerning. For information on how to support a friend, visit Supporting a Friend.
Families are often the first to notice changes and become concerned. For information on how to support a young person, visit Supporting a Family Member.
Find out if this is something you are experiencing by taking the self-check. Sometimes help from a professional is needed, check out the Get Support section.