What is psychosis?
Updated: Feb 25, 2021
First let me start by saying Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Manic Depression, Schizoaffective disorder or drug induced psychosis are terms of an illness used interchangeably, in this website and going forward hereon I will use the term ‘PSYCHOSIS’, the point being all of these illnesses have common characteristic traits e.g hallucinations, delusions & hearing voices etc, therefore Psychosis is a broad term describing a range of conditions affecting the mind which alters and interferes with how an individual feels, thinks & behaves.
Psychotic symptoms can affect anyone at anytime during their lifetime (approximately 3 out of every 100 people, this makes psychosis more common than diabetes), irrespective of gender, race, religion or social class.
According to studies that have been carried out there have been higher rates of reported cases in certain groups more than others e.g first and second generation migrant groups for example in the United Kingdom there are significantly higher rates of psychosis within African-Caribbean and Black African sections of the community, at the moment anyway. Another statistic is that there is a higher rate of psychosis in Males compared to Females.
Psychosis normally starts in younger people often during late adolescence and their early twenties. This is usually a period when a young person is going through significant changes, e.g leaving their family home to embark upon a new relationship or college course.
When I was first admitted into East Ham Memorial Mental hospital, which has since closed and has been replaced by Newham General Mental Hospital (under the threat of a section, which is a legal document that is signed by the Consulting Psychiatrist, Social Worker and the Police), I was 26 years old at the time. One of my first observations was the ratio of Ethnic members of the community being admitted, I myself being first generation Ethnic from parents coming from the Indian sub-continent, and again the age range and number of early adolescence patients to a few older ones.
I shared a dormitory with 3 other patients and we had a communal bathroom and toilet area. My head was all over the place in a high state of confusion, repeatedly asking the questions WHY…?? What is happening…?? Why am I here…?? There is nothing wrong with me….!! Ruminating in my mind. Looking back I had activated the first Freudian defence mechanism, DENIAL….It happens to someone else not Me.
It’s as if My mind was on hyper drive, spinning round and around at 100mph, My speech was fast, I was talking a lot ( becoming overly sociable ) physically I was moving quickly with eyes dilated, I could not concentrate, and I was becoming aggressive.
In retrospect what was occurring was that I had lost or losing touch with reality, the way the brain processes information was being affected. My belief system was warped, I thought I could control other people’s minds and that World War 3 had started, East versus West and I was God reincarnated on Earth as the Terminator to ‘sort things out’. I also started to hear voices and have hallucinations.
What slowed me down was the Tranquilizers they initially gave me with my other medications, the Tranquilizer in this case was Valium ( also known as Diazepam ), it’s role is to diminish hyperactive brain function to relieve severe stress and anxiety ( also muscle spasms & seizures ). One of the main problems with Valium ( and other Tranquilizers like Zopiclone which was prescribed to me a few years later, which is a sleeping pill ) is there addictive nature, and so like other prescribed medication they should be taken under strict consultation and guidance of a qualified Medical Professional only.
The first medication I was given was Haloperidol which comes from the anti-psychotic family of medication, and to counter the side effects of Haloperidol I was given Procyclidine which is used to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease or involuntary movements, in my case I had developed tremors in my hands due to taking Haloperidol.
In the next post(s) I will discuss the Symptoms of Psychosis in more detail.