a young persons guide to PSYCHOSIS
Ok, this all sounds a bit freaky - psychosis? Well, it's not as scary and is a good bit more common than you might think. Read on to discover the cutting edge research on the mental health of young people that Irish scientists in the Royal College of Surgeons and Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience are carrying out right now.
Psychosis is a condition where the person loses touch with reality. They may hear sounds that are not there, see or feel things that are not there.
Traditionally everyone thought that people who talked about these symptoms needed to be hospitalized and in treatment by a psychiatrist.
What we're realizing more and more now is that we need to do is to separate psychotic disorders like schizophrenia from psychotic symptoms like hearing voices. It's perfectly possible to have a psychotic symptom without a psychotic disorder. Indeed, 1 in 20 adults and up to 1 in 5 young people experience psychotic symptoms without experiencing a psychotic disorder.
What is Psychosis?
Historically hearing voices was interpreted as someone who was psychic or who had special powers and some people were revered in the community for this.
We've done a lot of work breaking down stigma on a lot of mental health issues but psychosis remains the last frontier. It's only by getting the message across that these symptoms are much more common than once thought, that we can realize that psychosis isn't something that belongs in an institution - it's just part of the human condition.
There are both positive and negative symptoms.
Positive symptoms are where we create something:
Hallucinations - perceptions without an object in reality
Delusions - belief without a basis in reality
The most common symptom we find in our research is hearing voices (auditory hallucinations).
Negative symptoms are where we can't carry out everyday tasks, these include:
lack of energy
lack of interest
not wanting to speak or do things