Sometimes people with psychotic symptoms are reluctant to seek
treatment. Perhaps they believe there is nothing wrong, or hope
the symptoms will go away without help. They may be concerned about
the actual treatment or worried about what people may think.
An increased understanding of psychosis has led to new interventions
being developed. People with psychosis can be treated in their community,
usually visiting a local mental health clinic on a regular basis.
Home visits by mental health services are available in some areas
and if hospitalization is required, it is usually only for a brief
Psychosis, like other disorders, can be successfully treated. Most
people make a good recovery.
can be expected?
The recovery process will vary from person to person in terms of
duration and degree of functional improvement. Some people will
recover from the psychosis very quickly and be ready to return to
their life and responsibilities soon after. Other individuals will
need time to respond to treatment and may need to return to their
responsibilities more gradually.
Recovery from the first episode usually takes a number of months.
If symptoms remain or return, the recovery process may be prolonged.
Some people experience a difficult period lasting months or even
years before things really settle down.
Once the psychosis has responded to treatment, problems such as
depression, anxiety disorders, decreased self-esteem and social
impairment need to be addressed during the recovery phase.
Like other elements of recovery, rebuilding self-esteem takes time,
patience and the support of friends and family.
It is important that people recovering from psychosis have people
around them who are positive and non-judgmental. Often people in
recovery are very self-critical, so methods for reinforcing a more
accurate self-description are important. Looking back at accomplishments
and talents, along with affirmations, can help the person to get
a more realistic view of their positive attributes and qualities.
Being with a group of people who are supportive can promote sociability,
better self-care and new lifestyle changes. Setting short-term goals,
which build on individual competencies and enhance decision-making
skills, also aid in recovery.
It is important to set realistic goals for returning to work. Perhaps
starting back part-time would be one way of easing into it. For
some, volunteer work is a good first step.
Knowledge helps to reduce stigma. Educating the employer and the
staff about the experience and the recovery is important. Practicing
what to say and having a doctor's note will help, or perhaps
having a professional (like a counsellor) come in would be the right
way to go.
Getting back to school
It is important to set realistic goals for returning to school.
Reviewing previous academic records and accomplishments is a starting
point. Choosing classes and activities that enhance the person's
skills and interests can also be a way to help ease the process.
The person and/or family should meet with the school counsellor
or academic advisor to discuss recovery, as well as, spend time
educating them about psychosis and how it has impacted the person's
abilities. Having a note from the doctor, or perhaps giving written
permission for the teacher/counsellor to talk to the person's
clinician or doctor would help.
Sometimes it is best for a friend or family member to accompany
the person for the first little while, as they make the adjustment.
Lifestyle habits are an essential part of maintaining good mental
health. Good lifestyle choices will improve physical and mental
health, decrease stress levels and help to get more out of life.
Some ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle include participating
in recreational activities, maintaining a good balance of diet and
exercise, getting adequate sleep every night and feeling secure
Social relationships play an influential role in promoting recovery
from psychosis and maintaining health and well-being. Unfortunately,
individuals affected by psychosis often withdraw and become socially
isolated. It is also not uncommon for the family to become socially
isolated as well.
It is important for the person to avoid losing current social relationships.
If the person has experienced a loss of contact with friends and
family, it is important to try and build new social relationships
and find sources of social support.
Staying well requires active participation, practice and a willingness
to listen to others. Some strategies for staying well include:
- being aware of your ability to cope with stress and being able
to monitor your own well-being
- setting achievable goals, including specific strategies for
coping with change, staying social and having a trusted support
- maintaining regular medical check-ups
- participating in positive social, recreational and work activities
- seeking the help of a therapist and/or participating in group
therapy or a self-help group
- celebrating achievements and setting plans for the future