The treatment process begins with an assessment. You will meet with a mental health professional, who will:
- ask you questions in an effort to understand your experience.
- ask for your permission to speak with family and treating professionals.
- ask for your permission to take a blood sample, so the evaluation can be thorough and as accurate as possible.
The information gathered will be used to help your mental health provider gain a better understanding of your experience of psychosis and how you can best be helped.
Developing a Treatment Plan
This process can be unsettling or confusing. Your health care providers will do their best to provide you with the reassurance you need. You should build a collaborative relationship with your healthcare team that includes: • Discussing treatment options developing a treatment plan The best treatment for you depends on several factors, including:
- personal preference
- the severity of your psychotic symptoms
- how long symptoms have been present
- the apparent cause of your symptoms
Medication plays an important role in the treatment of and recovery from psychosis, including prevention of future episodes There are a variety of medications which target psychotic symptoms, as well as related anxiety and distress. Your prescriber will work with you to find what type of medication works best for you, including the:
- and amounts of medication you should take.
It is important to participate in on-going evaluation in case you develop side-effects (which can be distressing) or your medication and dosage become less effective.
Counseling and Psychotherapy
Having someone to talk to is an important part of treatment. The exact method may vary. A person with acute psychotic symptoms may simply want support.
As the recovery phase progresses, a person may ask ‘why me?’, and in so doing may learn practical ways to prevent further episodes, such as stress management and early recognition of warning signs.
Case Management and Psychosocial Assistance
Treatment involves assistance with day-to-day things, such as:
- gaining assistance with housing
- obtaining financial support
Treatment includes setting attainable goals. These might include:
- returning to school or work
- developing new interests
- meeting new people and making new friends.
When Should Hospitalization Be Considered?
Most people with psychosis can be supported at home by relatives or friends, in collaboration with skilled and regular support from mental health professionals. The goal is to support real-world functioning and minimize distress and disruption in your life.
At some point, a period of time in a hospital may be necessary. Hospitalization is usually reserved for those instances in which psychotic symptoms put a person at risk of harming himself or herself, or others, or when the person is not able to maintain activities of daily living or regulate his or her behavior. Hospitalization provides a safe environment where professionals can get a fuller understanding of your symptoms and how to best treat them.
Treatment at home is always resumed as soon as possible, after the acute crisis has passed.
How Can I Be Involved in my Treatment?
Recovery from a first psychotic episode usually takes a number of months and varies in length depending upon whether symptoms remain or return. Some people recover quickly with very little intervention. Others may benefit from support over a longer period. Some people experience a difficult period lasting several months or even years before effective management of further episodes of psychosis is achieved. Throughout this process, it is important to keep in mind that most people recover from psychosis and lead satisfying and productive lives.
You can be actively involved in your treatment by learning about psychosis, the recovery process, and how to promote and maintain recovery. There may be secondary problems to be dealt with, like catching up with missed school or work. It is important to ask questions if something is not clear.