Learning More About Psychosis: What To Do If The Family Has One

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“Many people turn to therapy because they feel as though they are not functioning.”  Stacy Donn Cristo, LMHC said. So if you notice that your dad, mom, brother, or sister is showing signs of being psychotic, it can indeed be terrifying. Psychosis is a mental issue that is described as a gap from reality, which can undoubtedly include hallucinations, misconceptions, or delusions. It is one of the most symptoms seen in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Frequently, the person who has psychosis is not aware that the symptoms are not common or that he must seek professional help. For this reason, family, friends, and significant others are encouraged to be there for him, although the situation can be devastating for them as well.

Recognizing Initial Symptoms Of Psychosis

The symptoms of the earliest stage of psychosis are typically nonspecific, which makes them hard to identify. This is also why they are not usually considered as dangerous, as a lot of these symptoms may be typical behavioral patterns seen in teenagers. These may include sleep deprivation, erratic mood changes, poor academic performance, lack of joy and interest, and social withdrawal.

There are several reasons why these symptoms occur, some of which are anxiety, substance use, depression, bullying, or trauma. However, when these symptoms begin to magnify into bizarre experiences like hearing and seeing things or paranoia, or thinking that others are always looking or talking about you, then it is most likely that there is an evolving psychotic disorder about to emerge in that person. So if you notice that your loved one becomes unusually anti-social, has no interest in the things he used to enjoy doing, uses drugs or alcohol, or is displaying unusual or weird behavior, it is only worth seeking professional help. Start with visiting your primary physician, and then he will know where to refer you.

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Psychotic Symptoms That Need Urgent Psychiatric Attention

“Sometimes the reasons people don’t recognize the signs of suicide is because they are in denial, especially when it comes to those close to them.”  Torey C. Richards, LMHC said. If your loved one is already talking about suicide or complaining that he is disturbed by voices whispering in his ears, it would be wise to send him in for emergency psychiatric help. Other symptoms that need urgent psychiatric care include:

  • Suffering from extreme anxiety and worry that cannot be controlled
  • Displaying bizarre and hysterical behavior
  • Having severe depression that cannot be explained by the person
  • Extreme confusion or awkwardness
  • Displaying unexplained rage or anger

Equipping For Urgent Psychiatric Care

If you have a loved one who is suffering from severe psychosis, it is only wise for you and the family to always be ready for psychiatric emergencies. There should be a well-laid plan of action that the family can implement through the help of a mental health professional. This plan should include the medication list that the person is currently taking, phone numbers of the person’s doctor and the rest of his healthcare team, insurance information, and the list of family members who must be called.

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If Your Loved One Refuses Treatment

This is not unusual, as psychotic disorders like bipolar and schizophrenia affect the brain, and often the affected person does not recognize his family member when he becomes manic. Here are some of the simple ways you can try to show support and comfort.

  • Don’t force your loved one to remember you. Just be there to talk to him when he wants to. This will help establish trust. “Acknowledge and accept the feelings: The first step is to learn to bring the feeling out.” Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD said.
  • While he slowly gets comfortable with you, be calm in suggesting that you bring him to the doctor so that he can be seen and evaluated. Do not argue with him if he attempts to, but rather continue to listen to what he has to say.
  • Do not touch him if he is showing withdrawal. He will eventually ask for your help when he calms down. But give him the physical and emotional space that he needs.
  • When he is ready, accompany your loved one to his doctor so that you can provide clearer details about what just transpired or when the symptoms manifested. In an emergency case, your ill loved one may not have the capacity to respond appropriately so that you can do that for him.

In case he becomes violent or forceful, do call the police. Be there the whole time. Keep in mind that your mentally ill loved one did not intentionally act this way but is affected by the mental condition he is suffering with. Remember to show love and strength and patience. That is how you will stay firm in helping and guiding your loved one.