Early Psychosis

Psychosis is characterized as disruptions to a person’s thoughts and perceptions that make it difficult for them to recognize what is real and what is not. Early, or first episode psychosis (FEP), refers to when a person first shows signs of losing touch with reality. Acting quickly and connecting the person with adequate treatment during FEP can be life altering and change their future for the better.
FEP rarely has a sudden onset. Usually the person has gradual non-specific changes in thoughts and perceptions, but they are unaware of what is going on. Families are often the first people to see the warning signs of FEP, therefore they often help the patient seek treatment. However, a person’s willingness to accept help is often complicated by delusions, fears, stigmas, and feeling unsettled.
Determining when the onset of FEP is happening is difficult. Early warning signs include: a troubling drop in grades or job performance; trouble thinking clearly or concentrating; suspiciousness or uneasiness with others; decline in self-care or personal hygiene; spending significantly more time alone than usual; or strong inappropriate emotions or having no emotions at all. Treatment at this stage gives the patient a better chance of positive outcomes. The following are some signs and symptoms to be aware of for an episode of FEP: hearing, seeing, tasting, or believing things that others do not; persistent unusual thoughts that cannot be set aside regardless of what others believe; and the rest of the early warning signs.
If someone you know if showing any of these signs do not be afraid to talk to them about this. Seek treatment as soon as possible for this will give the patient the best opportunity for positive outcomes. Stigmas should not be associated, as this person is no different than anyone else. They are simply experiencing something that needs to be treated so they can feel better and better perceive reality.