What are the symptoms?
If an individual displays the three key positive symptoms described below, they may be suffering from psychosis:
• Disorganised speech and thoughts (Thought disorder)
The patient speaks very quickly or incoherently, the content of conversation is often empty, and they often digress, which makes it very difficult for others to understand.
Delusions are false beliefs that the patient holds firmly. Delusions can be of different content. The affected patient may believe that they are being watched, stalked, or that their mind is being invaded or controlled by others; some believe that strangers are talking about them, or that they possess superpowers.
The patient may see, hear or feel something that does not exist, but the experiences are very realistic to them. For example, they may hear non-existing voices talking to them. In response to these voices, they may talk back and hence appear to be self-muttering, burst into laughter spontaneously or get angry.
Due to how realistic these experiences (hallucination and delusion) are to the patient, and how negative the contents are, their behaviour and emotions may also be affected. Therefore they may behave in a way others cannot understand.
Aside from the three key positive symptoms, individuals affected by psychosis may also display negative symptoms such as:
• Lack of interest towards their surrounding
Not willing to interact with people or go to school or work; increased sleeping time; decreased activity time.
• Appearance of being emotionless
Lack of facial expressions, apathy toward their surroundings.
• Lack of speech
Becoming very quiet and rarely speaking.
• Lack of self-care
The disregarding of personal appearance and hygiene, such as not showering, not paying attention to their clothing, or hair etc.
The above symptoms are less obvious and likely to overlap with other conditions. Family and friends may incorrectly attribute them to the patient’s personality, such as misinterpreting their lack of motivation as being lazy or unambitious.
If anyone you know displays the above symptoms, mood disturbances or deteriorating physiological functions that persist for one to two weeks or longer, affecting different aspects of their life (i.e. social, domestic), please seek help as soon as possible.