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If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis or is considering suicide, help is available. Reach out to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988 or contact Crisis Text Line by texting PA to 741741.
HeadsUp does not offer clinical services.
Family and friends play a critical role in psychosis assessment, treatment and recovery. In addition to offering much needed reassurance, consistency, and unconditional love you can offer help with managing treatment goals and keeping the path to recovery clear.
The word “psychosis” pertains to a variety of symptoms that affect the mind. Characterized by noticeable changes in behaviors, perceptions, thoughts and beliefs, a young person with psychosis is sometimes unable to distinguish what is real and what is not.
Family members know their loved one better than others, so are of key importance in noticing when things seem “off” or unusual. These experiences vary from person to person. Symptoms may be frightening and seem very real to the person having them and may include the following:Read More +
Hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, and/or feeling things that others do not.
Your loved one may tell you directly that they are experiencing these perceptions, or you may notice cues in their behavior such as: they may appear to be talking to themselves, looking somewhere and you don’t know why, or focusing on certain body parts.
Persistent beliefs that are not shared by others.
They may think other people are watching them, feel very good at certain tasks, have a special connection to a famous person, or any number of other thoughts that seem different than usual and that you don’t share; you may also notice that your loved one is pulling away in social situations, seems uneasy with others, or makes comments indicating suspiciousness about others’ intentions.
Behavioral and Emotional Changes
You may notice changes in a loved one’s mood (sad/depressed, happy/hyper/energetic), sleep (sleeping more or less than usual, sleeping at different times than usual, like staying up during the night and sleeping during the day), self-care (not grooming/showering as often as usual), substance use (using substances more than usual), socialization (not engaging with friends and family as usual), speech (talking more/less than usual, faster/slower than usual, using words in unusual ways or making up new words), motivation (more trouble than usual getting-going), and emotional expression (showing strong/inappropriate emotions, or no emotions at all). Many of these behaviors can happen for other reasons than psychosis, so you may question or worry that you are “making too much” of them. You may also not be sure if these are just typical behaviors for a teen or young adult. You do not have to feel that you should know the difference, there are professionals available to help sort things out.
Changes in Thinking
They may seem to be having trouble thinking clearly, concentrating, or processing what’s going on around them. They may seem confused, jump from topic to topic, or lose track of what they are saying or what others are saying to them.
We are still learning about how and why psychosis develops, but it is believed that psychosis has several different causes and can occur in a variety of mental and physical illnesses.
A diagnosis identifies or classifies an illness, so that a person receives the best care. Psychosis is a symptom, and symptoms are components of an illness. Health care providers draw on information from multiple sources in order to determine the diagnosis that fits best.Read More +
Psychosis can be caused by a variety of things and occur in a variety of health conditions. Someone who has their first experience of psychosis may be diagnosed with what is referred to by some doctors as a psychotic disorder. Diagnostic labels rely heavily on combined observed experiences and opinions. They are ways for mental health professionals to most easily communicate and categorize clusters of symptoms to best inform the most appropriate treatment. Especially for young people who are still developing, it is crucial to remember symptoms and experiences change over time, and so may a diagnosis.
No matter what diagnosis your loved one receives, it can be helpful to focus on their defined personal goals, how their symptoms may interfere with those goals, and how best to use time in treatment to empower your loved one and ease distress.
It is important to seek help as soon as you are concerned. The care received at a First Episode Psychosis (FEP) Center is designed with each individual in mind and involves many types of trained, caring people who will collaborate with you and your loved one on a plan towards recovery. Watch this quick HeadsUp video about Coordinated Specialty Care.Read More +
Coordinated Specialty Care, or CSC, is a general term used to describe a recovery-oriented treatment program. CSC utilizes a team of specialists who collaborate in the creation of a plan based on an individual’s needs and preferences. CSC uses a team-based approach with shared decision-making that focuses on working with individuals to reach their recovery goals. These programs are available in a growing number of areas.
Our programs typically offer a team of people who will help. Each program is a little different but will often include:
Talk therapy to help build personal skills of resiliency, management, and coping.
Supported Employment & Education Assistance with continuing to engage in or adjust to school and work goals while receiving care.
Medication Management As necessary, finding the best medications at the lowest possible dose.
Peer Support Guidance from those currently on their own recovery paths.
Case Management Skills and support to organize the practical issues presented during treatment. This includes communication with other team members.
Family Support and Education Tools designed to keep family members engaged and informed.