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  • People Needing Support
  • Friends/Family Needing Support
  • South Western Sydney Mental Health Directory
  • A South Western Sydney Mental Health Resource

    People Needing Support

    I am feeling

    Confused, disoriented and/or suspicious

    I feel messed up inside my head

    I feel paranoid or suspicious

    I feel I have special powers

    I feel I am controlled by someone else

    I feel my thinking is speeding up or slowing down

    I am being watched or spied upon

    I am having difficulty concentrating

    I find it difficult to pay attention

    I often forget things

    I find simple tasks are becoming difficult to do

    Further Information

    If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and you are having some strange experiences that you cannot explain, it is possible that you are having a psychotic episode. A psychotic episode is an altered experience of reality, affecting thoughts, feelings, behaviour and beliefs. A person experiencing a psychotic episode may become isolated, withdrawn, disturbed, distressed or agitated. Psychosis can occur in a number of mental illnesses including:

    • Drug-induced psychosis: using or withdrawing from drugs (e.g. cannabis or amphetamines)
    • Brief reactive psychosis: psychotic symptoms appear suddenly after a major stress in the person’s life
    • Schizophrenia: an illness in which the symptoms have continued for at least six months
    • Bipolar disorder: people can experience psychotic symptoms as part of this disorder
    • Psychotic depression: psychotic symptoms can occur in people with very severe depression

    Signs and symptoms

    A person experiencing a psychotic episode may experience a number of effects on their thoughts, emotions, perceptions and behaviours. One might:

    • See, hear, feel, smell or taste something that doesn’t actually exist
    • Have fixed thoughts about something that isn’t true
    • Believe their thoughts are being controlled by someone else
    • Be unable to understand and communicate their feelings
    • Feel apathetic, lack motivation or withdraw from contact with others
    • Feel like a simple task (such as washing up) is a major event
    • Have problems with work, social or family life
    • Experience thoughts speeding up or slowing down
    • Feel they are being watched or singled out for harm (paranoia)
    • Believe they have special powers or are an important religious or political figure (grandiosity)
    • Believe they are guilty of a terrible crime
    • Have problems with sleep
    • Feel distanced or detached from one’s body or thoughts
    • Feel that the surrounding world is strange or not real.
    • Feel unusually excited or have increased activity
    • Feel down, depressed or are experiencing mood swings
    • Find it hard to show emotions
    • Feel less emotions than other people do
    • Be unable to understand sentences
    • Respond differently to situations (e.g. laughing when things don’t seem funny)

    Avoiding recreational drugs, reducing stress and learning ways to cope with stress can help prevent the symptoms from returning in the future. 

    Why Should I Seek Help?

    Safe and effective treatments for psychosis are readily available, so the earlier you seek help, the better the results, and the quicker your recovery. If you are having some strange experiences that you cannot explain, it is important that you tell someone you trust such as a parent, teacher or friend. Without treatment psychosis can seriously disrupt your life and development. Treatments of psychosis usually involve:

    • Medication (i.e. antipsychotic medications)
    • Education about the illness
    • Counselling
    • Family support
    • Practical support (such as helping you get back to school or work)

    A first episode of psychosis is most likely to happen in late adolescence or in the early adult years. It is often frightening for the person and misunderstood by others, but psychosis can be treated and most people make a full recovery. Many people who have a psychotic episode lead happy and fulfilling lives.

    Who Can Help?