On the show today we are continuing a series honoring Mental Awareness month and talking about psychosis.
The goal this month is to build awareness of different mental illnesses. We are going to be doing some myth-busting and I want to highlight some incredible people who have lived experiences but have taken what was some of the hardest and darkest moments of their life and now are using them to equip and strengthen others.
And today we get to hear from the incredible Katie Dale she is an author, artist and advocate and has lived experience with psychosis!
Building awareness – Psychosis
The word psychosis is used to describe conditions that affect the mind, in which people have trouble distinguishing between what is real and what is not
About three out of every 100 people will experience an episode of psychosis in their lifetime. Psychosis affects men and women equally and occurs across all cultures and socioeconomic groups. But something people don’t often realize is that psychosis usually first appears when someone is in their late teens or early twenties.
A number of mental illnesses can include psychosis as a symptom, including:
- Schizophrenia: a diagnosis requires A person has some psychotic symptoms for at least six months, with a significant decline in the ability to function.
- Bipolar disorder: Often associated with manic episodes.
- Schizoaffective disorder: A person will have symptoms of schizophrenia and, at some point in the course of illness, concurrent symptoms of a mood disturbance.
- Drug-induced psychosis: The use of drugs such as can sometimes cause psychotic symptoms.
- Organic psychosis: appear as a result of a physical illness or a head injury.
- Brief psychotic disorder: This type of psychosis usually lasts less than a month. It is sometimes triggered by major stress in the person’s life, such as a death in the family.
- Delusional disorder: This type of psychosis consists of very strong, fixed beliefs in things that are not true, without the presence of hallucinations.
Signs & Symptoms
Psychosis affects the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves. The experience of psychosis varies greatly from person to person. Psychosis can come on suddenly or can develop very gradually.
The symptoms of psychosis are often categorized as either “positive” or “negative.”
Positive symptoms are those that add to or distort the person’s normal functioning. They include:
- delusions (false beliefs that are firmly held and are out of keeping with the person’s culture)
- hallucinations (hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, or feeling something that is not actually there)
- disorganized speech, thoughts, or behavior (e.g., switching rapidly between subjects in speaking; finding it hard to concentrate or follow a conversation; being unable to complete everyday tasks).
Negative symptoms involve normal functioning becoming lost or reduced. They may include:
- restricted emotional and facial expression
- restricted speech and verbal fluency
- difficulty with generating ideas or thoughts
- reduced ability to begin tasks
- reduced socialization and motivation.
Other symptoms may include:
- cognitive symptoms, such as difficulties with attention, concentration, and memory
- mood changes
- suicidal thoughts or behaviors
- substance abuse
- sleep disturbances.
Psychosis can be treated, and many people make a good recovery, especially if they get help early. Treatment may be recommended either on an outpatient basis or in a hospital. It usually consists of medication and psychosocial interventions (e.g., counseling).
Katie’s Journey with Psychosis
- Katie’s faith grew as a young teenager and was strong on the foundation that Jesus is the only truth
- Katie began to feel depressed as she struggled with changing schools
- Katei received support from youth leaders and family but her experience was thought to be topical for teenagers.
- Katie’s mood shifted to mania and delusional thoughts then eventually hallucinations.
- Parents sought out support, but diagnosis and medications were not offered until after Katie’s behavior was irrational and bizarre
Katie’s experience with psychosis
- Katie’s delusional state of mind took her creative gifts and belief in God and distorted her thoughts to believe in a different reality
- Katie required hospitalization and tried different medications until they found one that worked for her. Her mind slowly cleared and she was able to return to school
- Katie identified that those in this state are often scared and unsure of what is happening, they require a lot of reassurance and support.
- It’s not helpful to argue and try to convince that the delusions or hallucinations are not real, but it is helpful to be validated what someone who is in psychosis is experiencing.
- Katie had a second episode of psychosis in her early 20’s that required similar support and treatments.
How Katie has used her experience to help others
- After Katie’s second episode she went to school to be a mental health professional
- Katie authored her memoir But Deliver Me for Crazy and offers downloadable resources
- Katie is a sought after speaker and advocate of mental health
CONNECT WITH KATIE DALE
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Join the Church Mental Health Facebook Group! In the Facebook group, we chat about how to care for others, what are your challenges as well as share tons of resources. This is a great community of pastors, clinicians, and those with lived experience and we want to get to know you.