Psychosis and Schizophrenia

Psychosis and Schizophrenia are serious mental disorders characterized by thinking and emotions that are so impaired, that they indicate that the person experiencing them has lost contact with reality. This might involve hallucinations (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or sensing things that are not being caused by external stimulus) or delusions (a very rigid belief that is not objectively grounded in reality and is not shared by others). The combination of hallucinations and delusional thinking can often severely impact on a person’s perception, thinking, emotion and behaviour. Experiencing the symptoms of Psychosis and Schizophrenia is often referred to as having a psychotic episode.

We can work with Psychosis and Schizophrenia in our clinics in Godalming (near Guildford), Surrey and Haywards Heath in West Sussex.

Symptoms of Psychosis

Four main symptoms are associated with a psychotic episode. They are:


Hallucinations are where a person perceives something that doesn’t exist in ‘objective’ reality, although the experience can feel very real to the person. They can occur in all five of the senses although they mainly affect sight and sound.

  • sight – someone with psychosis may see colours and shapes, or people or animals that aren’t objectively there.
  • sounds – Auditory hallucinations are typically associated with a diagnosis of Schizophrenia. Sounds can be voices and other sounds. Voice hearing is actually a lot more common than people think however sometimes people can experience angry, unpleasant or sarcastic voices that can trigger strong emotions and sometimes shape the person’s behavior.

Confused Thinking

People with psychosis might have confused and disrupted patterns of thought.

Signs of this include:

  • rapid and constant speech
  • random speech – for example, they may switch from one topic to another mid-sentence
  • a sudden loss in their train of thought, resulting in an abrupt pause in conversation or activity


A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary. Grandiose delusion and paranoid delusion are two examples of psychotic delusions. A person with a grandiose delusion exaggerates their sense of self-importance and is convinced that he or she has special powers, talents, or abilities. Sometimes, the individual may actually believe that he or she is a famous person (for example, a rock star or Christ). More commonly, a person with this delusion believes he or she has accomplished some great achievement for which they have not received sufficient recognition. A person with paranoid delusions might believe that an individual or organisation is making plans to hurt or kill them and as such often feels very unsafe. The associated anxiety might have the unintended consequence of fuelling the paranoid delusion. This can lead to unusual behavior, for example, a person with psychosis may refuse to be in the same room as a mobile phone because they believe they are mind-control devices.

Lack of insight / self-awareness

What Causes Psychosis?

Psychosis can also be triggered by traumatic experiences, stress or physical conditions, or as a result of drug misuse or alcohol misuse.

Diagnosing Psychosis

You should see your GP immediately if you’re experiencing psychotic episodes. There’s no test to positively diagnose psychosis. However, your GP will look at your symptoms and rule out short-term causes, such as drug misuse.

It’s important that psychosis is treated as soon as possible, because early treatment usually has better long-term outcomes.

Your GP should refer you to a mental health specialist for further assessment and treatment. Some people however would prefer to seek help privately and at The Psychology Company we do work with people experiencing mild and transient psychosis. Severe psychotic experiences are usually best managed by a multidisciplinary mental health team.

Recovering from Psychosis

Managing the symptoms of psychosis usually involves using a combination of antipsychotic medication – which can help relieve the symptoms of psychosis and psychological therapies. Medications include: Largactil, Haldol, Orap, Stelazine and Dolmatil – you should discuss medications with you GP of Psychiatrist.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been proved successful in helping some people with schizophrenia which we can offer in our clinics in Godalming (near Guildford), Surrey and Haywards Heath in West Sussex.

Assessment & Treatment

We offer assessment and treatment for Psychosis and Schizophrenia in our clinics in Godalming (near Guildford), Surrey and Haywards Heath in West Sussex.
If you would like to arrange an initial confidential telephone conversation for you or someone you know, please get in touch.

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