Seeing someone you care about suffering from psychosis can be difficult. However, you need to be strong during stressful situations to support your loved one struggling with a mental illness. While your family member/friend experiencing psychosis may not know exactly what they need, offering your love and support can be crucial during these difficult times.
Watching someone experience a psychotic episode can be extremely stressful. People that are unsure of how to handle a situation like this may search for “how to deal with someone having a psychotic episode” as they feel helpless and unprepared. Though, it is important to remain calm and speak to your loved one in a clear, empathetic tone.
This post will explore ways you can help a loved one after a psychotic episode.
What is Psychosis?
Psychosis is a psychological condition that affects how an individual’s brain processes information. This condition can interrupt healthy brain function, influencing your ability to perceive information correctly. Psychosis makes it difficult for individuals to determine what is real and what is not.
People with this mental health condition may see, hear, taste, smell, or even feel things that are unreal or do not exist. They may start having inexplicable beliefs and ideas. Psychosis appears as reality to the sufferer, while that may not be the case. Additionally, patients with psychosis are usually unaware of their condition, adding to the confusion and overwhelming feelings.
Psychosis is not a mental illness but a symptom triggered by a physical injury or mental illness. People dealing with trauma or stress may also go through psychotic episodes. Studies reveal, there are about 100,000 new psychosis cases in the US each year.
What is a Psychotic Episode?
People who have suffered a brain injury or have a psychotic disorder may have psychotic episodes as a symptom. Patients going through psychotic episodes tend to perceive and interpret reality differently.
Psychotic episodes are characterized by the following signs and symptoms:
Hallucinations include seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or feeling things others do not.
- Auditory Hallucinations: hearing voices that are not there
- Visual Hallucinations: seeing objects or people that are not around, shapes appearing wrong
- Tactile Hallucinations: feeling or experiencing unexplainable sensations
Delusions include unusual beliefs that do not make sense to others. People in psychotic episodes may believe the following things:
- Someone following or spying on you
- People trying to murder you
- Having special powers
- Outside forces controlling your emotions or actions
Cognitive impairments include difficulties in everyday actions. The following are the common cognitive impairments associated with psychosis.
- Difficulty retaining memory
- Concentration problems
- Difficulty in understanding things
Can You Recover from a Psychotic Break?
Psychotic breaks/episodes can be frightening. Many sufferers believe they will never be the same or live a normal life again. However, psychosis recovery is possible, and many patients successfully get rid of the symptoms or learn to manage them.
Supporting a Loved One after a Psychotic Break
Most symptoms disappear or reduce when a patient returns from the hospital after a psychotic episode. However, offering support can create a safer environment for your loved one. Here are some things you can do to help.
Listen to Them
Listen to them with complete attention and without judgment if your loved one feels comfortable sharing and discussing their feelings. Paying attention to what they say can make them feel calmer, speeding up acute psychotic episode recovery.
Avoid Denying their Experience
Patients may feel like they are going crazy after a psychotic episode. You may be confused about how to respond or react when a loved one has hallucinations or delusions. If someone you care about is seeing or feeling things that do not make sense to you, avoid confirming or denying their experience. Instead, focus on how they are feeling rather than their psychotic experiences. You can offer consoling words, like “I understand how you feel right now, and I am here to help.”
Ideally, you want to ask your loved one if they need practical help. You can accompany them to their hospital visits or help them access medical care. Similarly, you can act as their advocate to validate their feelings.
Things You Should Do When Supporting Someone Experiencing Psychosis
- Talk in a calm voice and use short, reassuring sentences
- Be empathetic about their experiences and feelings
- Listen attentively when they explain what they are feeling
- Avoid confronting or arguing with them regarding their beliefs
- Give them space if they do not want to talk
- Treat them with respect
- Validate their feelings
Ideally, medical professionals should be your first call for help as they can handle such situations much better. You can provide support when they return from the hospital to aid their psychosis recovery.
Treatment of Psychosis
Providing support for your loved one experiencing psychosis may seem difficult and overwhelming at times. While you may be able to offer love and support to your friend or loved one, it is important to remember that treatment from a mental health professional is the best step to recovery.
At NeuroSpa Therapy Centers, our team of dedicated professionals is equipped with the necessary tools and resources to get your mental health back on track. Whether it is medication therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or TMS therapy, NeuroSpa will give your loved one the customized treatment they need to carry out a happier and healthier life.
If you or a loved one are struggling with your mental health, consider reaching out to NeuroSpa today.
This blog post is meant to be educational in nature and does not replace the advice of a medical professional. See full disclaimer.