Psychosis and Schizophrenia – An Overview

Psychosis is a severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that people who are afflicted with it lose contact with external reality. It is a symptom, rather than a mental illness in and of itself. In some cases, other mental illnesses cause psychosis. These include schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, dementia and borderline personality disorder.

Extreme stress and substance abuse can also cause psychosis, as can a traumatic incident, brain injury, a stroke or a brain tumor. In addition, diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s can cause psychosis.

Those experiencing psychosis may have hallucinations – hearing and seeing things that don’t exist. They also can’t tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined. Often, those afflicted feel paranoid, have trouble expressing their thoughts or ideas, and ignore personal hygiene. Their behavior is often disorganized to the extent that they can’t complete work or academic tasks.

Connecting the pieces

Schizophrenia is a mental illness that causes psychosis, but the affliction also has other symptoms. Like psychosis, schizophrenia is a challenging disorder that makes it impossible to distinguish between what is real and what is not, manage emotions, and relate to others. While this may seem terrifying and impossible to manage, there is hope for those who suffer from schizophrenia.

Individuals can show signs of schizophrenia from an early age while other signs can appear suddenly and without warning. More commonly, subtle warning signs will begin to appear slowly alerting those close to the individual that something might seem off about their loved one. Those who suffer from schizophrenia may begin to isolate themselves, neglect their appearance and hobbies, and their performance at work or school may deteriorate.

Schizophrenics often suffer from delusions that involve illogical or bizarre ideas. They often believe that they are in danger of being harmed by a person or persons, or a natural event.

Advantage Mental Health Center’s treatment options for schizophrenics are very often successful. With medication, therapy, and a strong support network, many individuals who suffer from schizophrenia are able to control their symptoms, gain independence, and lead a fulfilling life.

Signs of Schizophrenia include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Thought disorders (unusual or dysfunctional ways of thinking)
  • Movement disorders (agitated body movements)
  • “Flat affect” (reduced expression of emotions via facial expression or voice tone)
  • Reduced feelings of pleasure in everyday life
  • Difficulty beginning and sustaining activities
  • Poor “executive functioning” (the ability to understand information and use it to make decisions)
  • Trouble focusing or paying attention
  • Problems with “working memory” (the ability to use information immediately after learning it)

If you or your loved one is exhibiting signs of psychosis or schizophrenia, it is important to have a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation completed. At Advantage Mental Health Center, our comprehensive psychiatric evaluations aim to:

  • Identify biological, psychological and social factors that may be contributing to the patient’s symptoms.
  • Establish whether a mental disorder is present.
  • Collaborate with the patient and develop a treatment plan.

After the evaluation, we will have identified problems which appear to be chemical, which may require medication for treatment. For other issues, therapy is the primary focus of treatment. We have found that most patients have a combination of chemical, psychological and social factors contributing to their symptoms.

We provide psychiatric services in a comprehensive, compassionate manner. Our patients are never rushed through an appointment, we offer with one hour new patient psychiatric evaluations and 30 minute follow up appointments.

If you or someone you know suffers from any of the symptoms of psychosis or schizophrenia, get help today. Call 727-600-8093 to schedule an appointment with the skilled professionals at Advantage Mental Health Center.