There's many misconceptions about persons with Psychosis. Psychosis is when the individual is disconnected from reality. For instance, they may believe that they are meant to protect the world. However, it does not mean that they have Schizophrenia. In fact, all persons on the Schizophrenia spectrum have psychosis but not all persons in psychosis have Schizophrenia. Psychosis can also be caused by other diagnosis, medical conditions, or drug use.
For instance, some adults will have psychosis after staying in the hospital for prolonged periods of time. Therefore, even if you don't know someone on the Schizophrenia spectrum or be on the Schizophrenia spectrum yourself, you may need to assist someone who is actively psychotic at some point.
Because Psychosis causes someone to be out of touch with their surroundings, they may believe that they are on a mission to accomplish something. We must keep in mind that to them, this is your reality. They believe this to be true. I would recommend aligning yourself, within reason, to this reality in order to help them through their psychotic episode.
Imagine with me that the sky was really purple. If we believed that the sky was blue and someone was telling us that it was purple, we would be likely to become frustrated, right? Think about it similarly with persons in psychosis. They believe something is true and it might be really hard for them to imagine that it is not true.
Going back to what I said about aligning yourself. This is not to say that everything you say needs to be in agreement. For my example earlier about protecting the world. You don't need to grab some supplies and try to help them. However, it could be very helpful to your loved one to try and align yourself to their cause. For example, "I want to help you but first I need to grab a bite because I'm starving. Are you hungry too?" This is just an example, but it could help them slow down and pause while a next step is planned.
Not all persons in psychosis need immediate assistance. However, if you feel that the person may be in danger or will cause harm to others then call emergency services or take them to the nearest hospital.
Megan Bowling, M.A., LMFT
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