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What causes psychosis?
Psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder with psychotic symptoms or depression with psychotic symptoms are caused by a combination factors.
Genes play a role, so having a family history of a psychotic disorder increases your risk. Experiencing trauma such as abuse or neglect as a child, delayed development, or extremely stressful events can also increase your risk.
Some prescription medicines and drugs such as cannabis, LSD, mushrooms, MDMA, ice and others can also trigger psychotic episodes, and in some cases they can lead to long term psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.
About half of people with a psychotic disorder develop symptoms by the time they’re in their early 20s—the average age of onset is between 18-25 for males and 25-35 for females.
Treatment for psychosis
Although psychosis can be scary, treatment can help you get back to the things you enjoy and find meaningful. If you have experienced psychotic symptoms, see your doctor or mental health professional immediately. In some cases hospitalisation is necessary and most cases treatment will involve a combination of psychological therapy, medicine, practical support and education. In certain cases there may be a need for further treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy. It’ll also be important to learn strategies to manage stress and avoid drugs to help prevent symptoms from returning.
Supporting someone who has psychotic symptoms
It can be stressful and intimidating when someone you care about has psychotic symptoms, but your support can make a big difference. Try to help them feel safe and encourage them to see their doctor or mental health professional.
- Stay as calm as you can, and be gentle with the person
- Don’t try to argue or persuade them that their ideas are wrong
- Try to listen as non-judgementally as you can
- You can ask how they feel, and reassure them that talking about it won’t make it worse.
- Try to make the environment calm—for example turn down music and try to minimise noise
- Encourage them to see their GP or mental health professional immediately
- If the situation is urgent or their symptoms are severe call 000.
The best place to start is by speaking to your GP or health practitioner. They will be able to assess your individual situation and recommend the best next steps for your recovery.
Our team of mental health professionals are here to support you on our 24/7 Mental Health Phone Support line. It’s available to Medibank members with hospital cover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 644 325~.
For more support and information
Looking for something else?
Visit our Medibank Better Minds homepage to find more tools and services.
Things you need to know
~ OSHC members should call the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.
# Check your cover summary to see if these services are included on your extras cover and if annual limits apply. Counsellors must be registered with Australian Counselling Association, Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia, Australian Traditional Medicine Society.
While we hope you find this information helpful, please note that it is general in nature. It is not health advice, and is not tailored to meet your individual health needs. You should always consult a trusted health professional before making decisions about your health care. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them. For these reasons we are unable to accept responsibility for any loss that may be sustained from acting on this information (subject to applicable consumer guarantees).
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