Signs of Early Psychosis

The experience of psychosis varies greatly from person to person. Psychotic disorders rarely emerge suddenly. Most often, the symptoms evolve and become gradually worse over a period of months or even years. The following are some of the more common signs to look for:

Changes in Thinking
  • Everyday thoughts may be confused/jumbled or don’t join up properly
  • Sentences may be unclear or don’t make sense
  • Thoughts are sped up or come very slowly
  • Difficulties planning, reasoning, making decisions, completing tasks, following a conversation, remembering details
  • Having odd ideas
Changes in Behavior
  • Shifts in basic personality
  • Mood changes (i.e., hyperactivity, inactivity, or alternating between the two)
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Severe changes in sleep patterns
  • Deterioration in personal hygiene
  • Excessive writing without meaning
  • Unusual sensitivity to stimuli (such as noise, light, colors, textures)
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Use of alcohol and/or other drugs
Changes in Feelings and Perception
  • Feeling strange and cut off from the world
  • Feelings of distrust or suspicion about others and their actions
  • Things look or sound different from what others are experiencing
  • The tone in a person’s speech may change
  • Facial expressions and physical movement may change
  • Hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling or feeling things that are not there, but seem very real to the person experiencing them
  • Hearing voices: the voices could be threatening to them or telling them to harm themselves
  • False beliefs such as being followed or monitored, or having special abilities or “powers”
  • Thinking they are being controlled by other people or forces, or that their thoughts are being broadcast so others can hear them
  • These beliefs are often held firmly, and attempts at reasoning or debating can lead to anger or mistrust

There is Help

If someone you know is experiencing some of these symptoms, you can get help. Research shows that the longer psychosis goes untreated, the harder it is to control. Talk to your doctor. You can also call the Washington Recovery Helpline at 1-866-789-1511 or the Behavioral Health Organization in your area. If you or someone you know is experiencing a life threatening emergency, please call 911. For the Suicide Prevention Life Line: 1-800-273-8255, TTY Users 1-800-799-4TTY (4889). Comprehensive Healthcare in Yakima, Valley Cities Behavioral Healthcare in Renton, Behavioral Health Resources in Olympia.

What's New

  • The New Journeys Network launched two new sites in December 2016! For more information about the referral and intake process please visit the New Journey’s website in your area, or contact the Behavioral Health Organization for your county.



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