What is Psychosis?
Psychosis is an illness of the brain that involves an abnormal mental state.
About 3% of the world’s population reports having displayed the symptoms of psychosis at some point in their lives. Based on Hong Kong’s population, there are 5 new cases every year in every 10,000 people. Psychosis affects people of all age groups, but it is most prevalent in 15-25 year olds, affecting about 700 individuals within this age range every year.
It is important for individuals suffering from psychosis to seek help as soon as possible. Local research shows that psychotic patients seek help on average 1.5 years after displaying symptoms, and this delay significantly impacts their recovery. If left untreated, psychosis may develop into more serious mental illnesses.
Patients’ thoughts, emotions and feelings detach from reality during their psychotic episodes. There are positive and negative symptoms:
• Positive symptoms are those that most individuals do not normally experience but are present in people with psychosis.Positive symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorders (i.e. disorganised thoughts/speech).
• Negative symptoms include the loss of usual abilities. Affected patients will appear to be emotionless, displaying poverty of speech, lacking motivation, socially withdrawn, etc.
Most patients who seek help from professionals and receive treatment soon after they start to display symptoms are able to remit from these symptoms. Each patient’s behaviour and recovery process is affected by individual and environmental factors. Family and friends also play crucial roles in a patient’s recovery.