The Counselling Centre


Psychosis is a term used to refer to medical conditions which affect the brain, in which there is a distortion of, or a loss of contact with reality. Psychosis affects how people think, feel, perceive and act.

Who gets Psychosis?

  • Anyone in any culture.
  • Males and females.
  • Approximately 1-2% of people will experience a psychotic episode at some stage in their life.
  • Psychotic illnesses (such as schizophrenia) usually first appear in adolescents, and young adults
  • Drug use puts you at higher risk.

Phases of Psychosis

Early Psychosis

Common signs include changes in behaviour and feelings such as:

  • Feelings that others are watching them
  • Depressed or anxious
  • Mood swings
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Appetite changes
  • Lack of motivation
  • Social withdrawal
  • Lack of ability to focus
  • Unusual behaviour
  • Weird imagination
  • Hearing voices that other people can’t hear
  • Lack of personal hygiene

These signs vary from person to person and can last for months.

Acute Phase

During this stage the typical symptoms of psychosis are most noticeable and therefore easily diagnosed. Treatment will usually begin during this phase and hospitalization may be necessary.

Recovery Phase

During recovery, some symptoms of the acute phase may still be present, but with treatment most people recover from their first episode of psychosis and return to the normal daily routines. During this phase, it is important to learn more about the illness in order to help keep it under control and live life to the fullest.

What causes psychosis?

It is believed that various biological, genetic, and environmental factors combined may play a role in one’s vulnerability to developing psychosis. Sometimes a stressful life event or drug abuse can trigger the onset of psychosis. One’s vulnerability to developing psychosis is a complex interaction of genetics and other factors.


Treatment for psychosis includes antipsychotic medication, individual and family counselling, and support to help the individual get back to their normal daily routines. Treatment also includes educating the individual on the disorder and encouraging healthy living. Focus will also be on decreasing the risk factors to prevent relapse and aid in successful recovery.

Materials adapted from “Transitions – Student Reality Check” by Jacqueline Potvin-Boucher.

The Counselling Centre offers individual and couples counselling to help with these issues. For more information, call The Counselling Centre at 902-420-5615 or drop by our office on the 4th floor of the Student Centre.

For more information on Psychosis: