I talk about depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder frequently so I want to take the time to address psychosis and some myths that go along with the stigma on that. I want to start by defining: Comorbidity – the presence of more than one disease occurring in an individual at the same time. Meaning, that someone very well can be experiencing depression along with hallucinations and other psychotic symptoms. According to Mental Health America, 3.5% of the population experiences psychosis and 1% is diagnosed with schizophrenia. It sounds small, but it is more people than you would think (about 76 million people!)
Psychosis – general term to describe bizarre patterns of behaviors and/or thinking, including hallucinations, delusions, and severe changes in mood.
Before I began working in an inpatient psychiatric hospital, I remember reading about this topic in school or seeing movies about it and thinking “yeah right…that is probably pretty rare to come across!” I was so wrong. Now that I work with people 1:1 everyday who are experiencing symptoms of psychosis, I feel that I have a much better understanding of what it is, what it isn’t, and how to help in the best way I can. The most important thing to remember is that they are scared too. They don’t understand what is going on either and need a little extra help to become reality oriented, whether that be a medication change, change in living situation/care, or simply a compassionate person to listen.
If you or someone you know is experiencing psychosis:
- talk to a health professional/counselor
- speak with a case manager
- call the crisis hotline at 800.273.TALK
- text the crisis hotline at 741-741
- * if that person is a danger to themselves or anyone else, the emergency room would be the best place.
There are plenty of resources out there. The first step is recognizing what it looks like and understanding that it is OK and necessary to ask for help without fear of being judged or labeled. Let’s start listening, helping, and spreading awareness!
Stay tuned next Thursday for more on Statistics and Stigmas in mental health!