Psychosis Sucks! Psychosis Sucks!
Psychosis Sucks! Psychosis Sucks! Psychosis Sucks! Psychosis Sucks! Psychosis Sucks! Psychosis Sucks!
Psychosis Sucks! Psychosis Sucks!
Psychosis Sucks! Psychosis Sucks!


Most people have experienced a depressed mood at some time in their lives. It is a normal reaction to disappointment or loss and lasts for hours, or a few days, and gradually disappears. The line between a depressed mood and a major depressive disorder is crossed when the person suffers symptoms of depression for more than two weeks; the symptoms are more severe, and they impair the person's ability to function.

Some of the warning signs of depression are: sleep problems; extreme fatigue; rapid unintentional weight loss; lack of motivation; despair; feeling blue or down; hopelessness; loss of self-esteem; thoughts of self-harm; and lack of interest or loss of pleasure in things that used to be appealing.

The exact cause is not known. Most researchers feel some causes are obviously due to chemical imbalance or genetics. Other factors involved in depression appear to be either reactions to environmental events and stress and/or psychological factors.

The best way to help a person with depression is to encourage them to seek professional help. Assisting them to get to a doctor or mental health professional may make a great difference, as the support of family and friends can help shorten the time span of the illness and could make professional help more effective. One should always take talk of suicide or self-harm seriously.


UpA person in a manic state can appear to be overly positive, excited about life and feeling euphoric. People without this disorder often think that mania sounds like fun. It is true that mild mania may be fun, because it is so energizing and may lead to periods of highly productive activity, however, mania often includes agitation, anxiety, extreme irritability, or self-destructive feelings or actions.

Some of the symptoms of mania include: an inflated self-importance and self-confidence; a decreased need for sleep; jumping from one topic to another; having racing thoughts that occur simultaneously; overreacting to stimuli; going on buying sprees or incurring excessive debts; unusual sexual drive; rapid, unpredictable emotional changes; blaming others for things going wrong; and losing touch with reality, perhaps hearing voices or having strange ideas.

The best way to help a person suffering from mania is to be aware of the signs and struggles involved with mania, and encourage the person to seek help. Focus on the 'here and now' instead of the past and future. Avoid arguments, as the person is prone to become aggressive. Be supportive and patient, and make sure to seek support for oneself as well.


Defining Stress and Anxiety

Stress can be defined as the difference between the demands a person perceives are being made on them and how many adequate resources they believe to have to meet those demands.

Anxiety may be defined as the perception of a threat. The threat may be to a person's physical body, ego, job, relationships or anything else. When a person concludes that something or someone is a threat, their body usually reacts quite quickly.

In both definitions the key word is perception - that is, how a person evaluates the situation and their ability to cope with it. In response to seeing something as a threat (anxiety) or a challenge (stress) the body reacts. This is normal. It makes sense to be psyched up physically when getting ready to play a tough sport or run away from a wild animal. Unfortunately, the body is not designed to maintain this reaction for a long time. When people get over-stimulated (i.e. from the ongoing perception that something is a threat or a challenge that may be too big to successfully meet) it can create some problems. So, stress and anxiety are basically responses of the mind and body.

What Causes Stress and Anxiety?

UpIt isn't really correct to say that any specific event or situation will make someone stressed. That is because people are all different in how they look at situations. For example, one person may become afraid when seeing a dog but the next person is happy to meet a new dog. So, it isn't the dog that is making the first person anxious and the other happy, they have different reactions because they see the dog differently.

If a person goes home and tries to watch TV but is worrying about their job and believes they are going to get fired, what is the cause of the anxiety? Is it the job? What the boss said? It is likely that the person sees the loss of the job as a threat to finances, self-esteem, etc. In this situation the person may be sitting in front of the TV relaxing at home but is very stressed and anxious because of the thoughts about the job. There are many situations that people see as threatening or challenging, but the point is that it is not necessarily the situations that disturb them; it is the way they view those situations.

Some examples of stressful situations are:

  • Many life events that result in change (for example moving to a different city or changing jobs). These can generate stress even when they are positive changes. For example, ever notice how the preparations for a wedding cause some upset for the organizers?

  • Work and/or school can create stress by presenting challenges, difficult tasks and deadlines. Ever notice how two people doing the same job react differently to the challenges? One person may cope better because of a more relaxed attitude or because they believe that they have the ability to handle it while the other person may think that they have to do everything perfectly or don't believe that they have the ability to get the job done.

  • Conflicts with friends, family or coworkers. Also, anxiety can arise when a person thinks that other people are being judgmental or critical. This is typically the basis of social anxiety.

  • Ongoing concerns about money and housing are very stressful.

  • People's own thoughts can create stress - for example, by setting impossibly high standards for oneself or worrying excessively about things.

  • Daily hassles, such as getting stuck in traffic, missing the bus, or misplacing keys.

So stress and anxiety usually result from a combination of factors: an event in the world; a perception that a situation is challenging or even threatening; a perception that the person either has or does not have enough resources to effectively deal with the situation; and physiological responses that prepare the body to react to the challenges.

When Normal Becomes Abnormal

UpAlthough stress and anxiety are normal experiences, they may escalate to become problems. In response to prolonged stress, the body and brain chemistry change in a way that can result in numerous negative physical and mental responses. Research has shown that chronic stress can increase the risk of developing depression and other mental and physical health problems. For a person who has experienced psychosis, the experience of too much stress increases the possibility of a relapse. Increased stress can also make existing symptoms worse.

Over time, stress and anxiety can develop into particular mental disorders. Anxiety disorders such as Phobias, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-compulsive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder are associated with significant distress to the individual. They should be diagnosed and treated by a qualified mental health professional.


Fraser Health Authority
Copyright 2006 Fraser Health Authority