Information on Psychosis
Psychosis is a psychiatric term that refers to a range of disorders such as: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder and paranoia.
What are the symptoms?
Psychosis affects a person's: THINKING BEHAVIOUR FEELINGS
Positive symptoms are when something is added to the person's usual behaviour for example hearing or seeing things (hallucinations), and holding unusual beliefs (delusions). Positive symptoms are more likely to improve with medication.
Negative symptoms are when something is lost from the person's usual behaviour for example losing feelings or emotions, losing interest in people and losing energy.
Are families responsible or to blame for psychosis?
A lot has been written about the family life of a person with psychosis. Some families feel guilty that they may have contributed to the problem in some way.
There is no evidence that families cause psychosis. In fact, family is usually the most valuable support and resource available to a person with psychosis.
Why has it happened to us?
There is no single cause of psychosis, so nobody can say why one person might develop it and another person doesn't. It involves a complex interaction of biological, psychological and social processes, with the relative contribution of these factors varying in each person.
A useful way of understanding psychosis is the Stress vulnerability model. This suggests that everybody has a vulnerability to psychosis, although people will vary in the strength of this vulnerability. The vulnerability arises from a combination of biological (e.g. brain development), psychological (e.g. self-esteem) and social (e.g. poverty) factors.
In order for the vulnerability to be triggered and the psychosis to develop, people must experience a stressor (e.g. drugs, stressful life events, relationship problems) of sufficient magnitude. Those with a small vulnerability to psychosis would need to experience a big stressor for psychosis to be triggered, whereas those with a larger vulnerability may find that psychosis is triggered by more mild stressors. It can therefore be helpful for those affected by psychosis to be aware of and reduce the impact of the stressors that trigger psychosis, and to think about the factors contributing to their vulnerability and how these may be addressed.