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What Does a Psychotic Episode Look Like?

a person holds their face possibly wondering What does a psychotic episode look like

Every year in the United States, millions of people experience mental health disorders. Living with an untreated or undiagnosed mental health condition can be a stressful experience. The various symptoms a person has to cope with can negatively affect their quality of life. One of the most intense mental health disorders is called psychosis. Knowing the signs and symptoms of psychosis could help someone get the life-changing treatment they need.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with a mental health disorder, Ashwood Recovery offers comprehensive mental health therapies in a safe, judgment-free environment. Unfortunately, there is a stigma surrounding mental health disorders. Our compassionate and professional team members understand that a person is not defined by their mental health conditions and are committed to treating the whole person, not just the symptoms. This integrated approach to treatment allows us to help people achieve long-term recovery. If you are interested in learning more, call us at 888.341.3607.

What Is Psychosis?

Psychosis is a type of mental health disorder in which a person’s thoughts and perceptions are warped or disrupted, making it difficult to discern between reality and what is only in their minds. Many people with psychosis report that they experience seeing, hearing, and feeling things that are not real. It is also common to experience persistent thoughts, feelings, and beliefs uncharacteristic of their normal behavior. Of course, every individual’s experience is unique, but most report that psychosis is confusing and frightening.

However, psychosis is only a symptom of a deeper mental health condition. There are three stages of psychosis:

  • Prodromal stage – An initial stage that occurs before psychosis, which may include gradual behavioral and personality changes
  • Acute stage – The stage in which the characteristic psychosis symptoms appear and are most noticeable
  • Recovery stage – This phase begins when a person who has psychosis seeks treatment for their condition

What Does a Psychotic Episode Look Like?

The acute stage of psychosis may also commonly be referred to as a psychotic episode. During a psychotic episode, the main symptoms of psychosis present themselves, which may be extremely disturbing for someone who experiences them. A person suffering from a psychotic episode may exhibit odd, unexplainable behaviors that can cause concern among their friends and family.

Some of the main symptoms include:


Hallucinations during a psychotic episode are seeing, hearing, or feeling things that do not exist. Some examples may include hearing voices, having a strange taste in the mouth, or seeing events or things that do not match reality.


Delusions during a psychotic episode refer to false beliefs that people will hold on to, even if they know the idea is false. A person experiencing a psychotic episode may believe that they are somehow responsible for a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or hurricane, no matter how impossible it is. These beliefs and thoughts may become oppressive and persistent, taking up the entirety of a person’s attention.

Confused Thinking

Confused thinking during a psychotic episode can manifest as jumbled, disordered thoughts with no logical or rational explanation. People with confused thinking may have difficulty holding conversations, as their brains cannot make the connections required to think through their responses.

If you think you have psychosis, it’s a good idea to seek professional help immediately so you can begin appropriate treatment. Psychotic episodes can be dangerous, as the disconnect from reality means a person may be unable to function normally.

Get Mental Health Treatment at Ashwood Recovery

Psychosis is a serious mental health disorder, but there is hope for those who experience it. Mental health treatments and medication for psychosis have proven to be effective in reducing the instances of psychotic episodes.

If you or someone you care about experiences psychotic episodes, it’s never too early to get help. Ashwood Recovery offers a wide range of mental health treatments and therapies that can address the symptoms of psychosis and any underlying mental health conditions. Contact us at 888.341.3607 to learn more about how we can help.