What is psychosis?

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Understanding psychosis

If you experience psychosis, you may find it hard to separate what is real and what is not. This might result in you seeing, hearing, or believing things that other people don’t.

Experiencing psychosis can feel really overwhelming. You're not alone if you’re feeling confused and emotional. It’s important to remember that it's not your fault. Psychosis is a symptom of a complex mental health condition, much like seizures are a symptom of conditions like epilepsy.

Watch this video to learn more about psychosis through Lucy's experience with psychosis and her journey to recovery.

You might have heard various terms related to psychosis.

Let's break them down:

  • Psychosis: A state where you find it difficult to know what's real or imagined. This can involve hearing voices or having strong beliefs that others don't share.
  • Psychotic thoughts: Thoughts that are a part of experiencing psychosis. For example, you might believe you have special abilities or you're being watched, even if it's not the case.
  • Psychotic illness: A longer-term medical condition where not being able to tell what's real affects your daily life. Schizophrenia is one kind of psychotic illness, and it usually needs long-term treatment.

Around 1 in every 200 adults in Australia will experience a psychotic illness each year.

Talking about your experience is important because it can be the first step to accessing the support and understanding you deserve. Reaching out to trusted friends, family, or professionals can be a vital step in managing these thoughts and finding ways to cope with them.

Remember, you're not alone in this. There are a number of ways to manage what you’re experiencing in the moment and long term, as well as support services here to help.

Download our psychosis factsheet.

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