How to help

How to help a Friend of Family Member

Psychosis is usually preceded by a gradual deterioration in intellectual and social functioning.  Recognition of early changes and acting on family concerns are the key to early detection.

How to be supportive

Psychosis or psychotic episodes can be very difficult for caregivers to know how to handle in just the right way. These episodes can be frightening for everyone; especially the person experiencing them, triggering extreme stress and fear which can make their symptoms escalate. Psychosis is defined as a loss of contact with reality, unable to distinguish between what is real and what is imaginary, and includes delusions (false ideas about what is taking place or who one is) and hallucinations (seeing or hearing things which aren't there). Many times when someone is experiencing a psychosis, they may actually be unaware that anything is wrong. It’s important for caregivers to know how to recognize the early-warning signs indicating that a psychosis is developing, and to know where or from whom to seek assistance.

How to cope

Psychosis may create a crisis in your life but there are interventions and treatment services, as well as a community of people who know this experience, to help you. Desperate feelings may lead to suicidal thoughts in some people who first experience this symptom or symptoms.  Be sure to have thought through a crisis plan if you have ever felt suicidal and stay connected to the people interests and purpose that give your life meaning.