I’ve listed on the blog before about what not to say to someone with psychosis, and although that’s important, I realised I didn’t go into much detail about what helps. As I’ve mentioned before, psychosis covers experiences from hearing, seeing, or feeling things that aren’t really there, and delusions. Delusional thinking causes us to believe grandiose ideas about ourselves, or may make us paranoid and secretive. Here’s a list of 6 things you can do to help.
Be gentle and calm. It’s easy to get frustrated with someone when what they’re saying doesn’t make any sense. You might feel like calling them out and confronting them. Don’t. What they’re experiencing is very real to them at that moment. Challenging their beliefs could easily push them away – if they’re paranoid it could even fuel the delusion.
Listen and try to understand. Listen to what they say and stay calm. You don’t have to agree with what they’re saying. Don’t encourage a delusion as this can make things worse. Ask them what would help, and if you’re struggling to understand educate yourself a little more about what psychosis is.
Focus on their feelings. It’s important to talk about how someone is feeling rather than the experience they are having. If they’re feeling stressed or worried, this could be the reason for why they are having an episode of psychosis. Making them feel safe and secure can help guide them through the experience.
Show them respect. Don’t be critical of what they’re going through or over protective. You might feel that you know better, and telling them what to do will help. However, it often creates a divide. You can respect their wishes to an extent. For instance, if they want to be supported in the home, rather than in hospital you should respect that, unless they become a danger to themselves or others.
Put a crisis plan in place. A crisis plan involves deciding on treatment options and hospital visits. You can also put together an informal plan with your loved one, where you set boundaries. By this I mean, what you can and can’t deal with when they’re in crisis. It’s helpful to be honest and have a plan in place before a crisis hits.
Look after yourself. It can be challenging, upsetting, and sometimes distressing looking after someone going through psychosis. It’s important to take care of your own wellbeing and health during these times.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, only what I would find helpful and how I’d like to be treated when experiencing psychosis. Ultimately, everyone who goes through psychosis has a different experience of it and their needs will not look the same as mine. This is why it’s vital you talk to that person to get an understanding of their unique experiences, before they become ill.
6 thoughts on “Ideas To Help Someone With Psychosis”
My daughter is 26 and we are struggling to live with and help her, we feel there is NO help
Out there not REAL help where someone understands, any suggestions please!
My son, 18 has not been diagnosed, ony with severe anxiety, but I think he has pscyosis it is very difficult as he refusest be assessed doctors say at 18 he has to go to the doctor himself, I cannot longer go on his behalf, which does not help anything
Hi Maria. Does she have a diagnosis and if so, is she seeing a doctor or psychiatrist? I’d go to MIND website and take a look at the info they have. Take care x
Thank you for sharing your experience with us, I work with young people in a further education college & this is helpful & valuable I have not worked with a student who has experience psychosis but it’s still important I try to understand how to respond with respect if it ever happens
Katie, what a wonderful article! In my own experiences it’s always been helpful to have a plan in place, it helps to alleviate the stress on your caretaker & gets you to the hospital in a more efficient manner. I’ve been hospitalized three times in the past four years; two out of those three I was in the presence of a mental health professional at the peak of my psychotic break & so they were able to rapidly get things moving because they had a plan in place.
I just stumbled upon you on Twitter & am really enjoying your blog!