Psychosis

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Nightingale Hospital

Psychosis

Psychosis describes experiences, such as hearing or seeing things or holding unusual beliefs, which other people don’t experience or share. For many people, these psychotic experiences can be highly distressing and disruptive, interfering with everyday life, conversations, relationships, and finding or keeping a job.

Almost anyone can have a brief psychotic episode; experiences are surprisingly common. Psychosis can range from an individual occurrence to a succession of psychotic episodes that could be diagnosed as a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Psychotic episodes are treatable and sufferers can make a complete recovery so please seek treatment for your psychosis.

Our treatment approach for psychosis 

Our approach to treating psychosis combines individualised treatment programmes with treatments based on current clinical evidence. There are two types of psychosis treatment available: talking therapies and antipsychotic medication.

Counselling allows you to talk about your psychotic experiences and ways of coming to terms with them, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can put your experiences in context, help you to understand them and test your beliefs about them. Psychodynamic psychotherapy looks in more depth to try and identify unconscious and subconscious reasons behind your psychosis. Arts therapies may help you to express how you are feeling if you are having difficulty talking, drama therapy may help you to come to terms with traumatic events that you may have experienced through your psychosis in the past and family therapy can help you and your family cope better.

Antipsychotic medication can weaken delusions and hallucinations and also help you think more clearly. The aim should be to help reduce psychotic symptoms by using the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time. Medication may not stop you experiencing the symptoms of psychosis, but it may make you feel calmer and less troubled by them.

If your psychosis is associated with severe depression, you are likely to be treated with antidepressants, and if your diagnosis is bipolar disorder you may be given a mood stabilising drug. Both of these types of medication may be combined with an antipsychotic.

Psychosis treatment tailored to you at Nightingale Hospital London

Our treatments for psychosis here in London can be as an outpatient, day patient or inpatient. We have the expertise to approach the support and psychosis treatment we offer you in a personal and flexible way to benefit you the most in your recovery.

Through therapy, medication and alternative approaches such as meditation, relaxation, arts therapies, sleep therapy and physical therapies we aim to give you knowledge and coping skills for dealing with your psychosis effectively.

Psychosis Specialists

Nightingale Hospital London has a number of Consultant Psychiatrists and Therapists that can help you through your psychosis. It is vital you find a psychosis specialist that you can trust and work with on your recovery. If you cannot find the information you need on psychosis specialists and psychosis treatment programmes we would welcome your call so you feel secure in the decisions you make.

Please contact us confidentially on 020 7535 7700 24 hours a day.

What causes psychotic experiences?

Almost anyone can have a brief psychotic episode. There are different ideas about why psychotic experiences develop.

  • Some people are more vulnerable to them than others
  • Very stressful or traumatic events make them more likely to occur.

Psychotic experiences may be caused by:

  • Physical causes, such as illness
  • Drug use
  • Changes in brain chemistry
  • Inherited vulnerability
  • Traumatic events such as abuse

For more information visit www.mind.org.uk

How can you help yourself with psychosis

Share your experience

Talking to other people who also have psychotic experiences can provide reassurance and hope, increase self-esteem and reduce isolation. Self-help groups can help you:

  • Recognise underlying patterns in your experiences
  • Develop and discuss strategies
  • Identify early signs of crisis
  • Take active steps to manage your situation

You might be able to get similar support from self-help books containing the same information.

  • Relax

Relaxation is important to maintaining good mental health. Relaxation exercises, yoga and other physical activity can help. For some people massage, aromatherapy or reflexology can be a benefit.

Doing practical things like gardening, cooking or making things may also be relaxing and may help you stay connected to reality in a purposeful way.

You may also find it relaxing to have and maintain a structured daily routine.

  • Recognise your triggers

If you have repeated episodes of psychosis it may be helpful to keep a diary recording life events, your mood, your diet and sleep. You may be able to spot patterns which help you to identify triggers, situations or even particular foods or drinks to avoid and those which have been helpful. It is also important to share these things with your close family or friends so they can help.

If the voices you hear are of people you know you could consider talking to those people at times when you are well to find out if what you have heard is true. This can help you to challenge the voice if it comes again.

  • Create a crisis plan

During a crisis you may not be able to tell people what helps you. While you are well it is a good idea to discuss with someone you trust what you would like to happen or not to happen when you are in a crisis.

You can also make what is known as an ‘advance decision’ (or ‘living will’) which states this in writing and is legally binding as long as it meets certain conditions.

Will I get over it?

Many people will have just one psychotic episode in their lives; others have fairly short episodes throughout their lives; some people live with ongoing psychosis as a long-term problem. People in these last two groups are more likely to be given a diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder.

In some cases, you may be able to understand the causes of your psychotic experiences, through psychotherapy or arts therapies and be able to put them behind you so that you are not troubled by them again.

However serious the difficulties and whatever the diagnosis, there are treatments and coping strategies that reduce the disruption and enable you to lead a fulfilling life and to achieve your ambitions.

For more information visit www.mind.org.uk

What can family and friends do to help those suffering from psychosis?

Seeing someone you care about experiencing a psychotic episode can be distressing and even frightening. You may find it helpful to discuss your feelings and concerns with someone else, such as a counsellor or to join a support group, such as those provided by charities such as Mind or Rethink.

It may be difficult to communicate with a friend or relative who is having a psychotic experience and to understand their behaviour or what they are saying. However:

  • You may be able to understand and sympathise with feelings such as anxiety that they are going through
  • You do not have to confirm or deny their delusions
  • If you can accept their experiences you can be more supportive which can make their life easier and improve their confidence in social situations
  • Acknowledge it when you can see truth in what they say

If you feel your friend or relative’s health is deteriorating rapidly suggest they:

  • Use their crisis plan
  • Seek help from their GP
  • Seek help from the duty psychiatrist in a hospital A&E

If the person doesn’t seek help, and you think they are putting themselves or others at risk, their ‘nearest relative’ (as defined under the Mental Health Act 1983 can ask for a mental health assessment to be carried out. Under the MHA, they can be compulsorily detained in hospital for further assessment and treatment if necessary.

Please get in contact with us on 020 7535 7700 or email mailto:patientservices@nightingalehsopital.co.uk

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