Skip to Main Content

Mental Health Resources: Psychosis


The following guide is for informational purposes only and not intended to diagnose or give medical advice.

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis is a symptom, not an illness, and is characterized as disruptions to a person’s thoughts and perceptions that make it difficult for them to recognize what is real and what isn’t. These disruptions are often experienced as seeing, hearing and believing things that aren’t real or having strange, persistent thoughts, behaviors and emotions.


Illnesses that Include Psychosis

  • Bipolar Disorder (see our Bipolar Guide)
  • Brief Psychotic Disorder
  • Delusional Disorder
  • Postpartum Psychosis
  • Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizophreniform Disorder

(Psych Guides,; NHS,

Symptoms of Psychosis

All people are different, so your symptoms may vary, but this is a list of possible symptoms of psychosis.

Symptoms of Psychosis & Psychotic Illnesses

Early Signs

  • Hearing, seeing, tasting or believing things that others don’t
  • Persistent, unusual thoughts or beliefs that can’t be set aside regardless of what others believe
  • Strong and inappropriate emotions or no emotions at all
  • Withdrawing from family or friends
  • A sudden decline in self-care
  • Trouble thinking clearly or concentrating
  • A drop in grades or job performance
  • Suspiciousness or unease around others

Primary Symptoms

  • See Early Signs
  • Hallucinations - experiences of the senses that no one else around experiences, such as hearing voices
  • Delusions - strong beliefs that are not consistent with the person’s culture, are unlikely to be true and may seem irrational to others

Bipolar Disorder

  • See Symptoms of Psychosis
  • See our Bipolar Guide
  • Usually occurs during manic episodes

Brief Psychotic Disorder

  • See Symptoms of Psychosis
  • Typically caused by stress
  • Usually lasts less than 1 month

Delusional Disorder

  • See Symptoms of Psychosis
  • Delusions are the prominent symptom
  • Lasts at least 1 month

Postpartum Psychosis

  • See Symptoms of Psychosis
  • Occurs after the birth of a baby
  • Manic symptoms
  • Depressive symptoms

Schizoaffective Disorder


  • See Symptoms of Psychosis
  • Reduced motivation and difficulty planning, beginning, and sustaining activities
  • Diminished feelings of pleasure in everyday life
  • “Flat affect,” or reduced expression of emotions via facial expression or voice tone
  • Reduced speaking
  • Difficulty processing information to make decisions
  • Problems using information immediately after learning it
  • Trouble focusing or paying attention

Schizophreniform Disorder

  • See Symptoms of Psychosis
  • Symptoms last fewer than 6 months

(NAMI,; WebMD,; Psych Guides,; NHS,; NIMH,

Treatments for Psychosis

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) & CBTp

CBT is an effective treatment for some people with mood disorders. With more serious conditions, including those with psychosis, additional cognitive therapy is added to basic CBT (CBTp). CBTp helps people develop coping strategies for persistent symptoms that do not respond to medicine.

Supportive Psychotherapy

Used to help a person process his experience and to support him in coping while living with schizophrenia. It is not designed to uncover childhood experiences or activate traumatic experiences, but is rather focused on the here and now.

Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET)

Works to promote cognitive functioning and confidence in one’s cognitive ability. CET involves a combination of computer based brain training and group sessions. This is an active area of research in the field at this time.

Assertive Community Treatment (ACT)

ACT provides comprehensive treatment for people with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia. The key elements of ACT include a multidisciplinary team, including a medication prescriber, a shared caseload among team members, direct service provision by team members, a high frequency of patient contact, low patient to staff ratios, and outreach to patients in the community.


First Generation (typical) Antipsychotics

These medications can cause serious movement problems that can be short (dystonia) or long term (called tardive dyskinesia), and also muscle stiffness

Second Generation (atypical) Antipsychotics

These medications are called atypical because they are less likely to block dopamine and cause movement disorders. They do, however, increase the risk of weight gain and diabetes.


Used to help manage depression. See our Depression Guide.

Mood stabilizers

Used to control manic or hypomanic episodes. See our Bipolar Guide.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

In ECT, electrical currents are passed through the brain to impact the function and effect of neurotransmitters in your brain to relieve depression. ECT is usually used for people who don't get better with medications, can't take antidepressants for health reasons or are at high risk of suicide.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS)

TMS may be an option for those who haven't responded to antidepressants. During TMS, a treatment coil placed against your scalp sends brief magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in your brain that are involved in mood regulation and depression.


McFarlin Books about Psychosis

For a comprehensive list of McFarlin books about psychosis consult our library catalog. Some ebooks may require you sign into the library system before viewing; you will be automatically prompted if a login is necessary.

McFarlin Databases about Health

For a comprehensive list of McFarlin databases consult our A-Z Database List. Databases may require you sign into the library system before viewing; you will be automatically prompted if a login is necessary.

Getting Help

You may want to get help for any mental health issue if it lasts for a long period of time or begins to interfere with your ability to function, such as eat, study, and have fun. TU has counselors who would love to help you with your mental health.

This site provides information about and contact information for TU's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

If you are having a mental health crisis, the following sites provide help:


Call or text 988 - Oklahoma's statewide mental health lifeline