What is Psychosis?

Psychosis (or a psychotic episode) can be described as losing touch with reality.

You might see or hear things that aren’t real and have unusual thoughts or feelings.

Psychosis does not mean dangerous!


Who experiences psychosis?

Anyone, anywhere and at any age



What causes psychosis?

No one knows exactly what causes psychosis. It might come up under severe stress or when using drugs or taking prescribed medications.

Psychosis can occur as a single episode of part of something else like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or severe depression. It can also occur after a head injury or physical brain problem.


Where can I find help?


Now tell me about your childhood

  • Psychosis is treated by teaching skills to best manage symptoms and learning to manage the stress that may have contributed to the experience.  
  • Work will be done on minimising the chances of psychosis recurring and helping out with any problems it causes in your life.
  • You should get help as early as possible, some cities have teams that can help quickly, you can find out more here.
  • Find someone you trust to talk to – this might be a family member, a trusted friend, school counsellor
  • Child & Adolescent Mental Health Teams


Am I experiencing psychosis?

Your doctor or mental health worker can find out if you have psychosis by talking to you & your family/whānau.

They will want to know what changes you & your family/whānau have noticed & how long these changes have being going on.


How to help someone else

Learn how to notice when they are having an episode.

Set up a plan beforehand on how you will help keep them grounded or what you should do.

Make sure they get treatment and let them know that you will support them and treat them like a human.


Tips while hallucinating

Basically just imaginary friendsWhen one of your senses is hallucinating, activate a different one. For example, when you are visually hallucinating, close your eyes, put on headphones, and listen to music.

Talk to someone you trust and know is grounded in reality. If you’re hearing voices and are unsure what to do, ask a trusted person, “Hey do you hear voices saying [x] right now?”

Do your best to avoid giving attention to your hallucinations  and just look around the room you’re in and ask yourself, “Ok, what is in this room that I know is real?”


Experiencing psychosis while on drugs

If you’re experiencing psychosis following drug use, don’t let this put you off getting help.

Services support people all the time who are experiencing mental health issues as a result of drug use.

They won’t involve the police & they are obliged to keep information shared with them confidential unless they are really worried about you.

Check out alteredhigh for more info.