Factsheets What is Psychosis?

Psychosis is a mental health problem that can seriously affect the way you think and feel

The word psychosis is used to describe medical condtions that affect the brain. You may lose contact with reality, it might be hard for you to think, and may cause you to hear, see and believe things that seem very real, but aren't.

When someone becomes ill in this way, it is called a psychotic episode. A psychotic episode is a time when the symptoms are intense and interfere with your life. It may last only a couple of days, or it may continue for weeks or months if you don't get proper medical treatment.

The earlier you get help, the quicker you can recover and get on with life.

It is a lot more common than you think - about 2 out of every 100 people will experience psychosis - and most people experiencing psychosis for the first time are between 16 and 30.

Like any other illness, psychosis can be treated and there are lots of things you can do to help yourself. 

Some examples are:

  • Look at improving your social activities
  • Stop taking substances such as alcohol and cannabis
  • Look at problems with study or work, at home and with friends and see if you can get support for any stressors in these environments
  • Look at getting support for stressful situations
  • For some people medication can help