What does Psychosis mean?

The word “psychosis” refers to a set of symptoms that often cluster together and cause a lot of distress in people affected and their loved ones. These symptoms include:

  • Delusions are or beliefs you might have, even though other people think they are false. You might even have evidence that the beliefs are false, but still hang on to them anyway. For example, sometimes people feel like others are out to get them, even if that doesn’t appear to be true. Other times people feel like thoughts come into their heads somehow, even though they didn’t generate the thoughts themselves. It can be scary!
  • Psychosis symptoms can also include hallucinations, or experiences in which you hear or see things other people can’t hear or see. Hearing a voice that others can’t hear is a common example. It’s also possible to feel, smell, and taste things others can’t feel, smell, or taste, but that’s less common.
  • Psychosis can also involve having very disorganized thoughts that make communication with other people difficult.
  • Other symptoms might include losing your motivation to do things you previously did more easily (avolition), or no longer taking pleasure in things you used to find fun (anhedonia). 

 

What does Prodromal mean? 

The word prodromal refers to the period of time before an illness gets severe enough that a healthcare professional can diagnose and treat it. If a person is experiencing prodromal psychosis, for instance, that person might have low-intensity or infrequent symptoms, or might just sense that something is not right.  When someone “is prodromal,” they don’t have the full illness yet, and with proper treatment the full illness can be avoided. This is where the HOPE TEAM comes in, and why early detection is so important.

Prodromal psychosis symptoms can show up in several different serious mental illnesses, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, only a trained healthcare professional can give you these diagnoses.

Any of these warning signs could be prodromal psychosis. But they also could be something different. HOPE TEAM can help you sort that out.  

What are the early warning signs?

During the prodromal period before full psychosis appears, we often see or experience early warning signs. Those early warning signs are frequently similar to the signs of full psychosis, but not as severe and/or as frequent. Examples include:

  • Instead of hearing a voice, you might hear quiet mumbling 
  • Instead of believing that certain people want to kill you, you might worry that someone’s following you, even though you don’t see anyone and you’re not sure who it might be
  • Instead of believing that someone is controlling your mind, you might feel confused about why thoughts that don’t feel like yours keep popping into your head
  • Other “subthreshold” signs of psychosis are listed on the welcome page to this site.

But there are other warning signs, too! Feeling very depressed or anxious with no clear reason, suddenly having trouble sleeping, suddenly finding school or work much harder, or withdrawing from friends can all be warning signs, as well.