First Episode Psychosis
Early, or a first episode psychosis, are the first signs that a person is experiencing a loss of contact from reality. This moment is often frightening, confusing and distressing to a person and his or her family.
Psychosis is a symptom, not an illness. Episodes of psychosis can be related to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychosis can also be the result of physical illness, substance use, trauma or extreme stress.
Approximately 3 in 100 people will experience an episode of psychosis during their lives. Young adults are placed at an increased risk because of hormonal changes in the brain that occur during puberty, but a psychotic episode can occur at any age.
Download the booklet below for more information about psychosis. The publication is courtesy of NAMI Minnesota. Please see the NAMI Utah website for local resources and information.
What are the Warning Signs?
Most people think of psychosis as a sudden break from reality, but there are often warning signs that precede an early episode of psychosis. Knowing what to look for provides the best opportunity for early intervention. Some signs include:
- A worrisome drop in grades or job performance.
- Trouble thinking clearly or concentrating.
- Suspiciousness or uneasiness with others.
- A decline in self-care or personal hygiene.
- Spending a lot more time alone than usual.
- Strong, inappropriate emotions or having no feelings at all.
Receiving a Diagnosis
A diagnosis identifies an illness, and symptoms are components of an illness. Health care providers draw on information from medical and family history along with a physical examination to make a diagnosis. If causes such as a brain tumor, infection or epilepsy are ruled out, a mental illness might be the cause.
Treatment and Support
Identifying and treating psychosis early leads to the best outcomes. Early intervention is always the best approach for mental health conditions, because it offers the chance to prevent the condition from progressing. The most effective way to address early and first episode psychosis is with a coordinated array of specialty care.
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