Psychosis and Unusual Experiences Resources

Psychosis (also called a psychotic episode or psychotic experience) is when your perception or interpretation of reality is very different from other people. Psychosis is a symptom of certain mental health problems, not a diagnosis. Signs of psychosis commonly begin in young adulthood. 

Common Signs and Symptoms of Psychosis

Please note that these symptoms are all within the spectrum of normal experiences or may be present in other conditions such as anxiety. They do not automatically mean that a person has psychosis.

Changes in your perceptions or senses:

  • Hearing your name being called, hearing low muffled voices, hearing people talking when you do not see anyone present or others don’t hear it
  • Having unusual sensations on your skin or in your body when you do not see anything
  • Regularly seeing flashes of light or things out of the corner of your eye (excluding ophthalmic issues)

Changes in thinking:

  • Suspicious thoughts that others are talking about you, following you, monitoring you, or conspiring against you in some way
  • Ideas that other people or machines are controlling your thoughts or behaviors
  • Thoughts that you are being referenced on TV, the Internet, or other media
  • Ideas that you have supernatural or extremely accomplished powers or abilities or special connections to celebrities or religious figures

Difficulty organizing your thoughts and speech:

  • Others might comment that they don’t understand your ideas or that you are speaking differently

Changes in behavior:

  • Isolating socially or avoiding responsibilities because you don’t feel like engaging, are overwhelmed by thoughts or voices, or have suspicious thoughts about others
  • Not taking care of yourself or not attending to your personal hygiene (for example, not bathing or eating)
  • What you are saying and how you are showing emotions are out of sync (for example, laughing when you are describing something disturbing or sad)

What Is the Treatment for Psychosis?

Psychosis symptoms are treatable. Common approaches include:

  • Talking with a counselor
  • Medication