First episode of psychosis

The first time you experience a break in your perceptions or sense of reality, it can be frightening and difficult to understand. This early stage of psychosis can happen to people of all ages, and is the most critical time to seek treatment from a trusted mental health provider. Learn ways to identify the first episode of psychosis and find service providers in Stark County you can turn to for support.

What is psychosis?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, psychosis is an interruption in your thoughts or perceptions that is difficult to distinguish from reality. Common experiences associated with psychosis include hallucinations and delusions. People experiencing psychosis might believe outside forces are controlling them, think they have special powers or sense objects and people who aren’t there.

Psychosis symptoms

Typically, the warning signs of psychosis do not happen abruptly; they appear gradually over time. These symptoms are often similar to the behavioral challenges of most youth and teens, but should not be dismissed or ignored. It may be time for a professional evaluation if a young person:

  • Feels suspicious, uneasy and withdrawn
  • Has a hard time focusing or thinking clearly
  • Hears or sees things that others don’t
  • Shows strong emotional outbursts or a complete lack of emotion
  • Starts performing poorly in school
  • Stops maintaining personal hygiene



What is the cause?

There is no single cause for psychosis. It could be a result of genetics, changing biology, trauma or substance use and can affect anyone of any age, culture, income or background. The best way to cope with conditions related to psychosis is to seek a diagnosis and treatment as early as possible. Family education, counseling, psychotherapy and medication management are just a few strategies that can help.


Helpful links

Early Psychosis and Psychosis

Find information from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) about common warning signs and treatment options for episodes of psychosis.

FIRST Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode of Psychosis

Learn more about FIRST programs available in Ohio as well as resources offered nationwide.