Treating psychosis

How do know you if you have psychosis?

Only a doctor can tell you if you have psychosis and which disease or disorder has caused it. The doctor will then talk with you and your parents and ask all kinds of questions. It is very understandable if you find the questions strange or far too personal, or if they make you ashamed, but it is important that you tell the doctor about your problems. Otherwise, other people won’t be able to help you.

The doctor will also perform a physical examination, including listening to your heart and lungs and shining a light in your eyes, and a few other tests. The doctor may also take a blood sample.
Adolescents who have been psychotic often say that they didn't realise it and that friends and family urged them to seek help. They didn’t see this as necessary at the time, but, in hindsight, they are often happy that their friends and parents did what they did and that they got help!

Will it go away?

Psychosis always goes away. Some psychoses are very short in duration, while others can last weeks or even months. What doesn’t always go away is the disease that causes the psychosis. There is a chance that the psychosis will come back, which is why it is important that you devise an identification plan together with your parents, friends and treatment specialists to ensure that the psychosis does not return. In this way, when the first signs of psychosis appear, they can use this plan to recognise the signs and seek help.

Treatment

For yourself

The treatment of psychosis involves different elements:

  • Psychoeducation: you are taught what psychosis is, how it is caused, how it is treated and that drug use (including cannabis) can lead to psychosis or that it can keep treatment from working. 
  • Pills and consultations (this can be a psychological treatment): The consultations will deal with your desires and dreams, and how you can achieve these, even if you have or have had psychosis. It may be that you don’t want to take any pills. This is very understandable, which is why it is good to talk to your doctor about the pills and find out information about them. As it is, quick treatment of psychosis involves the use of pills, which help you to recover faster and better. 

For your parents

Your parents, brothers and sisters can also give you a lot of support, but, in order to do so, they naturally have to know what the problem is and how they can support you. For this reason, the social worker will often want to talk with the entire family.

For other people around you

Many adolescents with psychosis prefer to talk with their friends and get a lot of support from them. That is why it is very important that they also know what your problem is and how they should deal with you. It is also important that people at school know what your problem is and how they should deal with you. Your school programme may have to be temporarily reconfigured or you may require extra supervision.

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