3 stages of psychosis
Psychosis refers to a condition in which a person loses contact and fails to differentiate between reality and fantasy. It is characterized by considerable changes in a person’s perception, thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors.
Psychosis can affect any person and vary in symptoms. The good news is that it doesn’t come out of the blue, but instead, develops gradually over different stages, in which the duration of each may differ.
The 3 stages of psychosis include:
Stage 1: Prodromal stage
This is the initial stage that occurs before the actual psychosis symptom.
Symptoms may be vague and hardly noticeable. Before the actual psychotic symptoms, there is a gradual change in the person’s thoughts, perceptions, behaviors, and functioning.
In this stage, the person may notice vague changes in one’s overall personality without a clear psychotic symptom.
Some of the common signs experienced during this phase include:
- Problem with screening out confusing information and sensations
- Poor concentration and interpreting ability
- Unusual changes in perceptual experiences (visual experiences may become brighter or sounds louder)
- Feeling overburdened
- Unable to track one’s thoughts and decipher what others are saying
- Feeling disconnected
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Sleep disturbances
- Depressed mood
- Unexplained difficulty at/skipping school or work
- Deterioration in functioning
- Odd beliefs/magical thinking
- Decreased motivation
- Social withdrawal
- The feeling of being controlled by some forces
- Talking to one’s self
- Easily overstimulated
- Poor personal hygiene
- Doing things that make no sense or logic
- Inability to cry or excessive crying
- Inability to express joy
- Drug or alcohol use
- Excessive bizarre writing that is difficult to comprehend
- Staring without blinking or blinking continuously
- Strange gestures or postures
This phase may last from several months to years or more.
The prodrome phase is undiagnosable until psychosis has developed. Noticing these symptoms doesn’t indicate that you have a prodromal phase of psychosis.
These changes could be misdiagnosed for psychosis initiation because they are common in adolescents. Thus, one must consult a mental health professional for accurate diagnosis.
Stage 2: Acute stage
In this stage, the actual psychotic symptoms occur.
Symptoms of psychosis such as hallucinations, delusions, or confused thinking emerge during this stage. Symptoms may disturb the person extremely. They may exhibit odd behaviors strange enough to evoke concern among their family members.
Hallucinations are characterized by seeing, hearing, or feeling things that do not match reality.
Some examples of hallucinations may include:
- Hearing strange voices
- Visualizing things that don’t exist
- Experiencing funny taste in the mouth
- Feeling sensations on the skin although nothing is touching their body
- Smell odors
Delusions refer to false beliefs that a person may strongly hold onto even after deeming them false. For example, if a person has a belief that their food is poisoned, they will be certain that the food is poisoned even if someone has proved that the food is edible.
Some examples of delusions include:
- The belief they are being stalked, followed, or monitored by secret agents
- Believing that someone’s plotting against them
- Convinced that someone is broadcasting their thoughts for others to hear them
- A strong conviction that they are responsible for a negative event such as an earthquake or a plane crash
- Convinced that they have special power and abilities and are on a special mission
- Believing that they are being controlled by a force or individual
- Convinced that certain sights or sounds are exclusively directed toward the young person or conveying a hidden message (the television announcer is personally criticizing them)
- Believing that people are trying to kill them (they can be strangers or people you know)
Confused thinking refers to jumbled thoughts and not making sense, resulting in these symptoms:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty understanding and interpreting a conversation
- Issues with remembering things or events
- Difficulty making new decisions
- Unable to decipher new information
Other common symptoms of psychosis may include:
- Disorganized or illogical speech
- Strange, possibly dangerous behaviors
- Slowed or unusual movements
- No interest in personal hygiene
- Lack of interest in activities
- Problems at school or work and with relationships
- The cold, detached manner with the inability to express emotion
- Mood swings or other mood symptoms, such as depression or mania
Stage 3: Recovery
This phase begins when the person seeks timely medical intervention.
- If the treatment turns out to be effective, most people will completely recover from the symptoms of psychosis and never experience another episode.
- During the initial phase, some may experience acute stage symptoms lingering for some time, but they recover and return to their normal lives.
It is vital to identify and treat psychosis at its initial stage to prevent them from being a threat to society. Delay in treatment may lead to incomplete recovery.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Are the 3 Stages of Psychosis Related Articles
Brief Psychotic DisorderBrief psychotic disorder is a short-term mental illness that features psychotic symptoms. There are three forms of brief psychotic disorder. The first occurs shortly after a major stress, the second has no apparent trauma that triggers the illness, and the third is associated with postpartum onset. Symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, unusual behavior, disorientation, changes in eating and sleeping, and speech that doesn't make sense. Treatment typically involves medication and psychotherapy.
What Is the Difference Between Psychosis and Schizophrenia?Learn the difference between psychosis and schizophrenia. Read more about these two conditions and how they can affect your mental and physical health.
How Grief Can Affect Your HealthGrief is a natural part of life, but it can cause some health issues, at least for a while. Find out how grief can affect your body and what you can do about it.
ICU PsychosisICU psychosis is a disorder (also a form of delirium or acute brain failure) in which patients in an intensive care unit or a similar setting experience a cluster of serious psychiatric symptoms. These symptoms include:
- hearing voices,
- paranoia and more.
Mental HealthMental health is an optimal way of thinking, relating to others, and feeling. All of the diagnosable mental disorders fall under the umbrella of mental illness. Depression, anxiety, and substance-abuse disorders are common types of mental illness. Symptoms and signs of mental illness include irritability, moodiness, insomnia, headaches, and sadness. Treatment may involve psychotherapy and medication.
Mental Health: Marijuana Addiction and AbuseCannabis use disorder is when you're addicted to marijuana. Learn more about this condition and how to treat it.
Mental Health: Signs You're Mentally ExhaustedAre you irritable, tired, and finding it hard to focus? You may be mentally exhausted. Learn the signs and how to feel better.
Mental Health: Substance Abuse in Older AdultsAbuse of alcohol and drugs among older people has been called the invisible epidemic. Learn what to look out for to protect yourself or a loved one.
Panic Attacks QuizCould you suffer a panic attack? Take this Panic Attacks Quiz to learn causes, symptoms, and treatments for panic disorder. Use this quiz to learn to recognize the main elements of this serious, yet common disorder known as panic attacks.
PsychotherapyPsychoteraphy is often the first form of treatment recommended for depression. Psychotherapy helps depression by helping people understand the behaviors, emotions and ideas that contribute to their depression, regain a sense of control and pleasure in life, and learn coping techniques as well as problem solving skills.
Psychotic DisordersPsychotic disorders are a group of serious illnesses that affect the mind. Different types of psychotic disorders include schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, brief psychotic disorder, shared psychotic disorder, delusional disorder, substance-induced psychotic disorder, paraphrenia, and psychotic disorders due to medical conditions.
What Are the Four Types of Schema in Psychology?Schema or schemata are an important concept in psychology. They are basic units or building blocks of memory. It is a mental framework that organizes and synthesizes information about places, objects, events, and people. A schema can be conceived as a scaffold; a blueprint describing an object, a string of events, or an idea.
What Exactly Does a Psychotherapist Do?A psychotherapist or therapist is a trained professional who assists people with various mental health conditions such as stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, addiction, bipolar disorder, negative behavior patterns, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other debilitating feelings. Psychotherapy is also called talk therapy and can help treat challenges and symptoms associated with mental health and emotional conditions by helping a person understand their repressed feelings, hence equipping them to face new challenges both in the present and future.
What Is an Example of Psychoanalysis?The concept of psychoanalysis was first popularized by the famous psychologist, Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis is based on the belief that all humans have deep, unconscious beliefs, thoughts, memories, and desires. These arise from their prior experiences or hidden conflicts in their thought process.
Which Is Worse: Neurosis or Psychosis?What is the difference between neurosis and psychosis?