Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality, usually including false beliefs about what is taking place and seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations).
Antipsychotic medicines are usually recommended as the first treatment for psychosis. They work by blocking the effect of dopamine, a chemical that transmits messages in the brain.
However, they’re not suitable or effective for everyone, as side effects can affect people differently. In particular, antipsychotics will be monitored closely in people who also have epilepsy, a condition that causes seizures or fits.
People who have cardiovascular disease – conditions that affect the heart, blood vessels, or circulation, such as heart disease – will also be closely monitored.
Antipsychotics can usually reduce feelings of anxiety within a few hours of use, but they may take several days or weeks to reduce psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusional thoughts.
Psychological treatment can help reduce the intensity and anxiety caused by psychosis. There are several possible psychological treatments.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for psychosis is based on an understanding of how people make sense of their experiences and why some people become distressed by them.
A CBT therapist may encourage you to consider different ways of understanding what’s happening to you. The aim is to help you achieve goals that are meaningful and important to you, such as reducing your distress, returning to work, education or training, or regaining a
sense of control.
Family intervention is known to be an effective form of therapy for people with psychosis. It’s a way of helping both you and your family cope with your condition. After having an episode of psychosis, you may rely on your family members for care and support. While most family members are happy to help, the stress of caring for somebody can place a strain on any family. Family therapy involves a series of meetings that take place over a period of 3 months or more.
If you’re experiencing episodes of psychosis, you may benefit from being around other people who’ve had similar experiences.