Explains what psychosis is, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.
Hallucinations could include:
"I felt as though I was in wonderland. None of my family or friends understood why... I had a calling from a voice in sky. I was lost and lonely."
Lots of people have beliefs that many other people don't share. But a delusion is usually a belief that nobody else shares and which other experiences or perceptions show cannot be true. It is natural for delusions to feel completely real to you when you are experiencing them.
You might think that you are a very important person. For example, you may believe that you are rich and powerful or that you can control the stock markets or the weather. These kinds of beliefs are sometimes called 'delusions of grandeur'.
Some people find that they can spend a lot of money or take on a lot of debt while they are experiencing psychosis, because their sense of reality has been affected. See our pages on money and mental health for more information and support.
Some delusions can be very frightening and can make you feel threatened or unsafe. For example, you might feel that something or someone is trying to control, harm or kill you (even when you have no reason to believe this). These ideas are sometimes called paranoid delusions.
Watch Miles talk about his experiences of paranoia and hearing voices.
Hallucinations and delusions can make your thoughts and emotions feel confused and disorganised, but disorganised thinking (sometimes called 'formal thought disorder') can also be a specific type of psychosis.
Mental health professionals may use the following terms to describe what you are experiencing:
Many people find that they experience racing thoughts and flight of ideas at the same time. If you have disorganised thinking you might:
"Racing ideas flooded my mind. It seemed as though my mind was disintegrating, my inner life – my unconscious mind – started flooding my consciousness without a break."
Watch Alice, Brian, Jamie, Martin and Louise talk about their experiences of psychosis as part of being diagnosed with schizophrenia.
This information was published in January 2020. We will revise it in 2023.
References and bibliography available on request.
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