When I tell people my son has experienced psychosis, some thought it meant he has schizophrenia which is not the case. For this reason, I want to explain the difference between psychosis and schizophrenia.
Difference between psychosis and schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that can cause psychosis, but schizophrenia is not the only cause of psychosis. In some cases, other mental illnesses cause psychosis, including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, etc.
No one is diagnosed with just psychosis
No one is diagnosed with just psychosis. For instance, my son has been diagnosed with severe depression with some psychosis. Others have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder with some psychosis. As you can see, psychosis is a symptom of various mental illnesses. I hope these examples help you to understand the difference between psychosis and schizophrenia.
Some symptoms of psychosis or psychotic features
Symptoms of psychosis:
- Delusions- firmly held beliefs.
- Hallucinations- Sees or hears things that no one else sees or hears. The most common type of hallucination is hearing voices.
- Disorganized thinking and speech- Hops from one topic to another, makes up words, and it is hard to follow what they are saying.
- Abnormal or disorganized behavior- Has a difficult time going places or accomplishing simple tasks such as purchasing groceries.
- Overwhelmed, tired, loses interest in daily activities. Little or no emotional expression.
Those who have psychosis are medically advised not to use marijuana
Our son’s psychiatrist and counselor have strongly advised him not to use marijuana because it can cause psychosis or psychotic features especially in those with mental illness.
This short video shares an example of psychosis, some psychosis statistics, and other important psychosis facts.
True Story, No Letting Go, Support for Psychosis
In the true story movie, No Letting Go, Tim’s therapist explained when a person has a lot of worries, they can collect over time turning into “junk thoughts” that cause anxiety and other disorders. It is similar to eating too much junk food that makes us sick to our stomachs. Likewise, our brain can get sick from too many “junk thoughts” if we don’t share and process our worries with someone we trust.
Focus becomes almost impossible
Sometimes when a person has too many “junk thoughts”, it may progress to psychosis which includes hearing voices and seeing things others do not see. The following video demonstrates how difficult it is to focus while hearing voices making commands, and repeating negative messages.
5-minute video demonstration of what it is like to hear voices
Anderson Cooper tries a schizophrenia simulator to see what it is like to hear voices (be in psychosis) while doing his work. Listening to these voices made me more empathetic toward those with psychosis. I have a better understanding of why school and any type of testing is such a big challenge for those suffering from psychosis and other mental disorders.
To make double sure there is no confusion……..
- Schizophrenia is a diagnosed mental disorder.
- Psychosis is a symptom of a mental disorder. Once again, psychosis symptoms include hearing and seeing things others cannot hear or see.
Top Featured Photo by Luke Jurgella