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Back to School: Recognizing Psychosis

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Psychosis can be scary for those who deal with it and makes it hard to tell what is real or not real. 

Young people who experience psychosis often say "something is not quite right." Sudden bizarre changes in thoughts and behaviors are some of the key signs of psychosis.


Signs of Psychosis

It is important to recognize psychosis so it can be treated. The earlier you get help, the sooner you can get back to feeling like yourself again.  If you have some of the symptoms below, you might be dealing with psychosis.[3]

  • Feeling like your brain is not working
  • Feeling like your mind or eyes are playing tricks on them
  • Seeing, hearing, tasting, or believing things others don’t 
  • Hearing knocking, tapping, clicking, or your named being called when others don’t
  • Confused thoughts
  • Vivid and strange thoughts and ideas
  • Sudden and bizarre changes in emotions
  • Peculiar behavior that seems unusual
  • Increased sensitivity to light, sounds, smells, or touch
  • Feeling that people are “out to get you”
  • Being fearful or suspicious without reason
  • Not wanting to be around other people
  • Severe problems in making and keeping friends
  • Trouble speaking, writing, focusing, or managing simple tasks

Learn more about what real people think psychosis feels like in their own words, images,  and videos by visiting

If you just don't feel right or notice that someone else is struggling, it’s important to get help. Reach out to a friend or trusted adult and tell them how you feel or that you are worried about someone. If you need help starting a conversation, visit for tips on how to get started. 

Getting treatment as soon as possible helps to make sure that you have the best chance of recovering from mental health problems. 

Most of the time, psychosis is treated with a combination of therapy and medication. If you are diagnosed with psychosis, you can still live a full and productive life. 


[1] Jonna Perälä, MD; Jaana Suvisaari, MD, PhD; Samuli I. Saarni, MD, MSocSc; et al. Lifetime Prevalence of Psychotic and Bipolar I Disorders in a General Population. 2007;64(1):19-28. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.64.1.19
[2] Proprietary data from
[3] American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.