Early Psychosis and Psychosis

Most people think of psychosis as a break with reality. In a way it is. Psychosis is characterized as disruptions to a person’s thoughts and perceptions that make it difficult for them to recognize what is real and what isn’t. These disruptions are often experienced as seeing, hearing and believing things that aren’t real or having strange, persistent thoughts, behaviors and emotions. While everyone’s experience is different, most people say psychosis is frightening and confusing.

Psychosis is a symptom, not an illness, and it is more common than you may think. In the U.S., approximately 100,000 young people experience psychosis each year. As many as three in 100 people will have an episode at some point in their lives.

Early or first-episode psychosis (FEP) refers to when a person first shows signs of beginning to lose contact with reality. Acting quickly to connect a person with the right treatment during early psychosis or FEP can be life-changing and radically alter that person’s future.

Is someone you care about dealing with psychosis? Or are you? We can help. Click to email our Helpline for more support.

Early Warning Signs Before Psychosis

Early psychosis or FEP rarely comes suddenly. Usually, a person has gradual, non-specific changes in thoughts and perceptions, but doesn’t understand what’s going on. Early warning signs can be difficult to distinguish from typical teen or young adult behavior. While such signs should not be cause for alarm, they may indicate the need to get an assessment from a doctor.

Encouraging people to seek help for early psychosis is important. Families are often the first to see early signs of psychosis and the first to address the issue of seeking treatment. However, a person’s willingness to accept help is often complicated by delusions, fears, stigma and feeling unsettled. In this case, families can find the situation extremely difficult, but there are engagement strategies to help encourage a person to seek help.

It’s important to get help quickly since early treatment provides the best hope of recovery by slowing, stopping and possibly reversing the effects of psychosis. Early warning signs include the following:

  • A worrisome drop in grades or job performance
  • Trouble thinking clearly or concentrating
  • Suspiciousness or uneasiness with others
  • A decline in self-care or personal hygiene
  • Spending a lot more time alone than usual
  • Strong, inappropriate emotions or having no feelings at all

Signs Of Early Or First-Episode Psychosis

Determining exactly when the first episode of psychosis begins can be hard, but these signs and symptoms strongly indicate an episode of psychosis:

  • Hearing, seeing, tasting or believing things that others don’t
  • Persistent, unusual thoughts or beliefs that can’t be set aside regardless of what others believe
  • Strong and inappropriate emotions or no emotions at all
  • Withdrawing from family or friends
  • A sudden decline in self-care
  • Trouble thinking clearly or concentrating

Such warning signs often point to a person’s deteriorating health, and a physical and neurological evaluation can help find the problem. A mental health professional performing a psychological evaluation can determine if a mental health condition is involved and discuss next steps. If the psychosis is a symptom of a mental health condition, early action helps to keep lives on track.

Psychosis

Psychosis includes a range of symptoms but typically involves one of these two major experiences:

Hallucinations are seeing, hearing or feeling things that aren’t there, such as the following:

  • Hearing voices (auditory hallucinations)
  • Strange sensations or unexplainable feelings
  • Seeing glimpses of objects or people that are not there or distortions

Delusions are strong beliefs that are not consistent with the person’s culture, are unlikely to be true and may seem irrational to others, such as the following:

  • Believing external forces are controlling thoughts, feelings and behaviors
  • Believing that trivial remarks, events or objects have personal meaning or significance
  • Thinking you have special powers, are on a special mission or even that you are God.

We are still learning about how and why psychosis develops, but several factors are likely involved. We do know that teenagers and young adults are at increased risk of experiencing an episode of psychosis because of hormonal changes in their brain during puberty.

Several factors that can contribute to psychosis:

  • Genetics. Many genes can contribute to the development of psychosis, but just because a person has a gene doesn’t mean they will experience psychosis. Ongoing studies will help us better understand which genes play a role in psychosis.
  • Trauma. A traumatic event such as a death, war or sexual assault can trigger a psychotic episode. The type of trauma—and a person’s age—affects whether a traumatic event will result in psychosis.
  • Substance use. The use of marijuana, LSD, amphetamines and other substances can increase the risk of psychosis in people who are already vulnerable.
  • Physical illness or injury. Traumatic brain injuries, brain tumors, strokes, HIV and some brain diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia can sometimes cause psychosis.
  • Mental health conditions. Sometimes psychosis is a symptom of a condition like schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder or depression.

A diagnosis identifies an illness; symptoms are components of an illness. Health care providers draw on information from medical and family history and a physical examination to diagnose someone. If causes such as a brain tumor, infection or epilepsy are ruled out, a mental illness might be the reason.

If the cause is related to a mental health condition, early diagnosis and treatment provide the best hope of recovery. Research shows that the earlier people experiencing psychosis receive treatment, the better their long-term quality of life.

Early Psychosis And Psychosis

The most effective treatment for early psychosis is Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC). The earlier a person experiencing psychosis receives CSC, the better his or her quality of life becomes. CSC’s team-based approach encourages the individual experiencing early psychosis to share in decisions about treatment and recovery goals.

CSC programs have six components:

  • Case management—helping the individual develop problem-solving skills, manage medication and coordinate services
  • Family support and education—giving families information and skills to support a loved one’s treatment and recovery
  • Psychotherapy—learning to focus on resiliency, managing the condition, promoting wellness and developing coping skills
  • Medication management—finding the best medication at the lowest possible dose
  • Supported education and employment—supporting someone to continue or return to school or work
  • Peer support—connecting the person with others who have been through similar experiences

Each component is provided by a team of specially trained healthcare professionals who help individuals get their lives back on track and realize their goals, such as finishing school or returning to work.

Psychosis Treatment

Treatment for psychosis often involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Several types of therapy can help individuals learn to manage their condition, while medication targets symptoms and helps to reduce their impact. How well treatment works depends on the cause(s) of the psychosis, its severity and its duration.

Psychotherapy

Therapy is essential in treating psychosis. Common therapies include the following:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)—teaches people to observe and change ineffective patterns of thinking. For psychosis, CBT teaches someone to critically evaluate an experience to determine whether or not the experience is real.
  • Supportive psychotherapy—teaches a person to cope with developing and living with psychosis. The therapist attempts to reinforce a person’s healthy ways of thinking and reduce internal conflict.
  • Cognitive enhancement therapy (CET)—builds brain capacity through the use of computer exercises and group work. Increasing cognitive functions, such as the ability to organize thoughts, is the ultimate goal.
  • Family psychoeducation and support—gives families skills and support to help a loved one reach recovery. NAMI Basics, NAMI Family-To-Family and NAMI Family Support Groups are examples of programs the help people develop skills in collaboration, problem-solving and recovery support.
  • Peer support and support—connects people with others who have been through similar experiences. NAMI Peer-To-Peer and NAMI Connection are examples of peer-led programs that equip individuals with the tools they need to realize recovery while building supportive, caring relationships.

Published by

Laura Zukerman

Laura Zukerman has a doctorate in Homeopathy and healing medical remedies. She is extremely familiar with neurology, and studies the brain. She is also a professional life coach and certified drug counselor. She was trained as a model for many years, first signing with Wilhelmina in Pennsylvania and then working with Wilhelmina throughout New York & Miami as well as many other modeling agencies. She did a bunch of shows with all the different agencies including Elite Model Management, One model, Bella models, New York Model Management and many others. Laura began walking for many designers & made many connections through networking at the shows she was doing. Laura became friends with many music artists while modeling and attending parties for fashion galas and began to network her way through the industry. Laura Zukerman did a worldwide commercial at the age of 20 for Mikki More with fox news broadcaster Megyn Kelly (Under L’Oreal). Laura Zukerman then met Al Mason, a man who ran this company called News Butterfly Television, and he signed her on to work for NBC, CBS, ABC & News Butterfly to be a TV anchor to host her TV shows on NBC, news channel 4, in NYC taxi cabs on Time Square billboards as well as many other outlets. During Mercedes-Benz Fashion weeks she would work months in advance prepping to call all of these designers so she could schedule interviews for behind the scenes footage at their shows. It was inspiring getting to know the ins and outs of the industry and paved her way into the fashion industry. Laura Zukerman then went on to become a freelance stylist & worked with many different celebrities on their wardrobes. She worked on styling campaigns for E-News, MTV, Conde Nast, The Hearst Corporation and more. Laura also worked in many stores throughout New York City and networked with many amazing people who were in fashion, television, actors, actresses, singers, models, professional athletes; and also met many people who were in the entertainment world in other aspects. As this began to grow, she decided to figure out a way to put this all together and told Al she wanted to start doing her charity events for non-profit fundraisers. Al then introduced Laura to many Ambassadors of the United Nations and Laura began to have a love for philanthropy and helping the environment. Laura then got signed on as a Model to Jorgen Jorgensen who was the CEO of Heartland Model Management. This company was based throughout the US & worldwide. Jorgen was originally from Malmo, Sweden but knew the ins and outs of all of the ways to walk the catwalk. Laura would have classes every Sunday with her agency to show the girls how to walk for all these different designers from around the world. Laura began walking for many designers and did many charity events. One of the biggest events was for DIYA save the children where Laura and her modeling agency had many amazing people from around the world at the event to help out the charity and raise money for kids in India specifically. Another awesome charity event Laura did was The American Heart Association Walk. One of her clients and dear friends Cynthia Flood who runs the Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation of America also has a big show every year with many famous designers and had asked Laura to be part of her show. Laura has also done many editorial shoots as a model herself & has featured in many magazines. Laura has also interviewed on Good Morning America. Laura became excellent friends with Hilary Flowers who did a bunch of fashion shows for fashion week & they became business partners under Al Mason's company to get clients on all of these different media outlets. Hillary Also ran a bunch of fashion shows for many designers that Laura took part. Laura said "It was so much fun meeting new people and networking with all of these great designers whom all had different approaches to their designs. It's amazing how many people are out there trying to get their foot in the door in the fashion industry and how many talented and creative designers there are that aren't noticed enough but should be. I learned this when working at very high-end fashion houses to working with private labels. I grew up owning a store with my mother and sister in our house, so fashion was always a huge love of mine & having my mother and some other family members to look up to as models; I knew that was the right direction for me to go in. I then got interested in singing and am working on a new album with some amazing producers in the industry as well as singers with whom I had become great friends. I was so lucky to have worked with these great producers on my first single "I Can't Help Myself" copyrights under Mitch Moses Productions. These producers not only worked with the likes of David Bowie, Marilyn Manson, Lenny Kravitz & the Beatles but they took a song from the 80s that they had the copyrights to and recreated it just for me. That was something so special and dear to my heart." Kevin Mccray also introduced Laura to many fashion designers, including the likes of Valentino, where he came up with his idea with Laura for Maison Valentino to create humanism & a story yet to be written. Laura inspired the Valentino Love collection. Laura met Kevin through a bunch of friends when she was working with hot 97 at the age of 19. Laura Zukerman was the CEO of a company called Double L Management where she managed up and coming artists, her business partner at the time was the Vice President of Hot 97, and she began learning all about the music industry and got to meet so many musicians doing that. Laura's older sister Jaclyn Zukerman has her magazine in Boston called Get Scene Magazine; Laura does fashion shows for the magazine all of the time! Jaclyn had a radio podcast out in Boston & that's when Laura first debuted the song I Can't Help Myself & sang it live from Boston Massachusetts. Jaclyn Zukerman works with many celebrities and up and coming artists and creatives. Laura's Mother is an author of two amazing books out on Amazon that every female even male should purchase it is called "Lessons for an Urban Goddess" the second book is called "The Urban Goddess Lesson." You can purchase these books through Amazon or on Kindle. They are life changing pieces of material! Laura's father is a Real Estate Developer worldwide and owns the company Whitestone Realty Capital. Laura says "There are so many awesome designers, actresses & singers that I have worked with and continue to work with because you build relationships with these people. They know what your dreams and aspirations are & they were once in your shoes so they understand and they want to help you. If you push yourself you can be anything you want to be, you have to know what you want and go for it." She goes on to say "Never give up on your dreams." Laura's motto for 2017 was "Work hard, Play hard & Slay Hard" Her new motto for the ending of 2018 is “The world is your oyster, go after it.” Laura Zukerman now has her own Instagram blog where she posts pictures of different styles she wears daily to help inspire others to dress to impress. You can find her on Instagram @lzukerman where she tries to keep it updated daily with many inspiring outfits. These are outfits that she wears out with friends & to events. Laura is complimented on her style, so she thought; why not create a blog where she can help not only friends but all young women to look & feel their best & be the best them that they can be. Laura's friends always ask for advice on how to dress & she asks a few simple questions: She starts with 1) where are you going? 2) what is it for? & 3) how do you want to be perceived? Then she tells them exactly what they should wear for the special occasion. Laura always gets great feedback afterward that they got so many compliments on their outfits & that always makes her feel good! Laura as well as her mother sister and family, in general, are all huge on female empowerment. Laura says "We strive to be our best selves & to present to the world the most amazing person you can be. To believe is to achieve & to dream it you have to do it. I have some great advice from one of my best friends who always said, whatever it is you're doing, always give it your best. You never know where that could take you & you always want to present your best self to the world. Not only for you but to show others that you can and are doing what you were made to do." Acting is something that Laura loves doing, and eventually, she would like to start acting more. Laura recently made her second song off her first album coming out summer of 2017 called " Listen to Me" Laura Zukerman is now the Brand Ambassador for Pookie and Sebastian. She will be up on Amazon Worldwide where you can find her wearing all of the fall 2017 merchandise that you can now shop for from anywhere in the world very soon! Pookie and Sebastian stores located in the heart of New York City. Laura Zukerman currently works with Fashion Designers all over the world and loves it so much; she has no begun to travel to meet these designers and do photo shoots, fashion shows, and interviews wherever they may be! More to come soon! Laura studied Fashion Design at FIT & is now taking what she knows and putting everything to good use. Get ready for Laura Zukerman's Fashion Line to Drop. <3 Laura Zukerman is a GLOBAL AMBASSADOR for CREATIONS FOR A CAUSE. With this, Laura can make a difference both globally and locally. Laura is inspiring others to make a difference in the world by volunteering and giving back to the community and the world around her. Laura is working with many fashion & skincare brands internationally to bring you awesome products. Sometimes even FREE GIVEAWAYS. Lauras Marketing Career keeps expanding as her imagination runs wild with new ideas on and off the Television. Movies, Billboards, Advertisements for many companies, Songs for celebrities, she has done it all. Moreover, she's doing more! As she becomes the Marketing Manager of a big Global marketing firm, where she will be the project manager for the North American region! Get excited because the Marketing Business is about to explode. (in the right way of course) Laura Zukerman also has many experiences in Public Relations and Event Management. Her brother Steven Zukerman along with his wife Sharon Zukerman own the event space, Life the Place to Be in Ardsley, New York. Her mother was the head of The March of Dimes for over 15 years. Laura Zukerman has also been the Brand Ambassador for the New York Rangers Love Collection Ambassador for Valentino Givenchy Tiffany & CO Fashion Manufacturer for: YSL, D&G & MacBook AIR Escada Badgley Mischka Tory Burch Rebecca Minkoff Michael Kors Free People Anthropologie Urban Outfitters Steve Madden Zara & more Laura Zukerman was the Fashion Editor in Chief at No.3 Magazine, and now she is working on a second magazine to the be the creative director for the no.3 magazine's second edition that will be all fashion based. www.number3mag.com Laura Zukerman is now working on a big project with some of the most empowering women in the world. Laura can not wait to tell you all about it; it is going to be amazing. If you or anyone you know who might be interested, Laura and her team of 3 other women are looking for tons of new faces to hit the modeling realm. Laura has taken ownership of Heartland Model Management, and this means she could have you walking for any designer in the world in just a few weeks, with some practice, some great photos and from the help of some of the most significant models in the world! We will coach and train you on how to walk the catwalk; we will bring in designers who will pick and choose who they want to be in their shows! We will be coordinating a ton of events for fundraisers on many organizations. We know Instagram is fantastic, but unless you have the right connections and the right people to help you get to where you want to be, you cant achieve it all alone! You need our help to BRAND you! With Laura and her team, you are going to be unstoppable! GET IN THE NOW, AND START WHAT YOU DREAM OF DOING. We bring you styling, professional portfolio shoots, designers worldwide, TV and advertising worldwide, magazine editorials, the fashion awards and much more! Laura Zukerman is the regional sales manager for Street Fashion Week worldwide! http://streetfashionweek.net/ For any designers that are interested in learning more about Street Fashion Week and want to become involved in SFW, contact Laura Zukerman at her email - lzukerman58@gmail.com Laura Zukerman is the Brand Manager and Buyer for Season-Seven and Hilite, we just opened on sept 9th, however we have been around since 2012 as Bou7ique. They are one store combined into two stores. Season-Seven is for women and is on one side and Hilite is for men and is on the other side. Bou7ique is the name of our other two locations which are in Lancaster, PA and Newark, DE. You might have known us well in Miami as well, however, that store was bought out by a hotel. We are looking to expand to more locations within the next year. If you follow our instagram or facebook page, all of the brands we follow are brands we work with and you will be able to see some of the awesome brands we sell. The best part about it is that SS19 is going to be an even bigger array of brands that you won’t want to miss out on! So come shop our stores - Season Seven for women and Hilite for men on 47 Delancey Street NY NY 10002, the lower east side, it is closest to forsyth street and chrystie street, however it is right on Delancey. Just a heads up if you don’t know the area well. Believe me, you will walk out with an amazing new wardrobe! The season seven instagram page is @seasonsevenboutique give us a follow or just check us out! We are open as of now Monday-Friday from 10-7 Eastern Standard time. Laura Zukerman is also a member of ASCAP- the American Society of Composers, Authors and publishers. It is a not for a profit performance rights organization that protects its members musical copyrights. Laura Zukerman is also a partner at WHITESTONE REALTY CAPITAL. You can also follow Laura Zukerman's Instagram account where she updates daily her outfits & outings at www.instagram.com/lzukerman Laura Zukerman also has a new clothing company called AL https://zukerup88.wixsite.com/alcollection Laura Zukerman's work is also updated as she makes her portfolio debut: http://lzukerman58.wixsite.com/laurapaigezukerman Laura Zukerman will begin grad school to be finished at USC, University of Southern California, to major and finish in hospitality management. Laura Zukerman is now signed to UK Models located in London, United Kingdom. Based worldwide globally. Laura Zukerman is also now the NEW Brand Ambassador for ESIO - https://esioelegance.com/ - shop the items, I will be giving out free merchandise and discounts on my Instagram account! follow my Instagram @laurazukerman104 Laura Zukerman also works in collaboration with @johnnywas www.johnnywas.com - shop the items below. Laura Zukerman is now working on a huge event in collaboration with the United Nations, internationally, it will be fashion based. STAY TUNED! Laura Zukerman is a Creative Director, Marketing Strategist, Media Innovator, Fashion Icon, Music Manager, Television Host, Public Relations Coordinator and Events Coordinator. Laura has her PHD in psychology and neurology.

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