What Is a Psychotic Break?

A psychotic break, also known as a psychotic episode or psychosis, is a severe mental health condition in which a person experiences a loss of contact with reality. During apsychotic break, a person may experience symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, disordered thinking, and unusual behaviors.

Hallucinations are perceptions that occur without an external stimulus, such as hearing voices or seeing things that are not there. Delusions are fixed, false beliefs that are not based in reality, such as believing that one is being persecuted or followed by others. Disordered thinking can manifest as difficulty organizing thoughts or expressing oneself coherently. Unusual behaviors may include inappropriate or unusual movements or expressions, or a lack of basic self-care, such as grooming or bathing.

Psychotic breaks can be triggered by various factors, including underlying mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe depression, as well as certain physical conditions such as brain injuries or infections. Substance abuse can also trigger a psychotic break in some cases.

Treatment for a psychotic break typically involves medication and therapy to manage symptoms, as well as support from mental health professionals and loved ones. Hospitalization may be necessary in some cases to ensure safety and stabilization. With appropriate treatment and ongoing support, many people with psychosis can manage their symptoms and live fulfilling lives.

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