Typically, a person will show changes in their behaviors before psychosis develops. The list below includes several warning signs of psychosis:
- Worrisome drop in grades or job performance
- New trouble thinking clearly or concentrating
- Suspiciousness, paranoid ideas or uneasiness with others
- Withdrawing socially, spending a lot more time alone than usual
- Unusual, overly intense new ideas, strange feelings or having no feelings at all
- Decline in self-care or personal hygiene
- Difficulty telling reality from fantasy
- Confused speech or trouble communicating
If you notice these changes in behavior and they begin to intensify or do not go away, it is important to seek help. Early treatment of psychosis increases the chance of a successful recovery.
Any one of these items by itself may not be significant, but someone with several of the items on the list should consult a mental health professional. A qualified psychologist, a psychiatrist or a trained social worker will be able to make a diagnosis and help develop a treatment plan.
(From RA1SE, Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode, a research project of the National Institute of Mental Health.)
To learn about the best treatment practices for schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses, visit the Best Practices in Schizophrenia Treatment (BeST) Center at NEOMED.
--Submitted by Carole Harwood