Psychotic Disorders

Psychosis is a severe disruption in thinking and is always a serious and distressing sign of emotional disturbance. Psychosis is a symptom of emotional conditions that can start in the teen years and can cause serious changes in your thinking, behavior, emotions, and ability to communicate.  Psychosis is an uncommon symptom, so it’s really important to pay attention to the early warning signs of a psychotic disorder.  Early treatment can help you avoid the difficulties in life that a psychotic disorder can cause.

How are fantasy and wishes different from psychosis?
Just about everyone day dreams or fantasizes about things that are not in your real life – maybe envisioning yourself as a famous person, or feeling like an Olympic superstar after an awesome performance in your sport.  When this happens, you’re aware that these thoughts are not reality and you’d agree that these thoughts are a goal, wish, or fantasy.

When a person has a psychotic illness, they will have thoughts and beliefs (such as superstardom, fame, unusual abilities) that they believe are real and usually seem bizarre to other people.  These thoughts are called delusions and hallucinations.  When a person is struggling with a psychotic disorder, you might also notice that they seem aimless and disorganized, their expression will seem blank and empty, they may not make sense when they talk and they may have a hard time “getting going” in daily life.  A psychotic illness can be very scary to experience and disrupt most parts of a person’s life.

What are delusions?
Delusions are false beliefs (you really believe you are famous, or that aliens are out to get you, etc.) – you can’t convince a person with delusions that their thoughts are not reality.

What are hallucinations?
Hallucinations happen when a person sees, feels or hears things that aren’t there – these perceptions seem very real to the person experiencing them even when you try to convince them otherwise.

Often there are warning signs months or years before the full-blown onset of a psychotic disorder. Early recognition will give you the best opportunity to recover from and avoid psychosis.

Get Help Now

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text, call, or chat 988 for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7. 

You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.

If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.