Getting help early if you are at risk of or have a first episode of psychosis

Getting help early if you are at risk of or have a first episode of psychosis

You should be assessed by a psychiatrist or a specialist in psychosis and treated quickly if you are at risk of developing psychosis or have a first episode of psychosis.

If you are at risk of developing psychosis

You may be at risk of developing psychosis if you are distressed and finding life difficult and have:

  • hallucinations or delusions that last for a short amount of time

  • other experiences or behaviour that suggest you may have psychosis or

  • a close relative with psychosis or schizophrenia.

If you are at risk, you should be offered:

  • an assessment straightaway

  • psychological therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy (or CBT for short) to help with the symptoms.

You and your family may also be offered psychological therapy called family intervention.

See Psychological therapy for more information.

If you have another mental health problem, or a problem with drugs or alcohol, you should be offered treatment for those as well.

You should not be offered medication to treat the symptoms of psychosis (called antipsychotic medication) at this point.

If, after psychological therapy, you are still having the same problems, but your healthcare professionals do not think you are experiencing psychosis, they should keep seeing you regularly for up to 3 years to make sure your symptoms are not getting worse.

If you don't want to see your health professional regularly, you should be given advice about contacting services if your symptoms get worse.

If you have a first episode of psychosis

The first time you have an episode of psychosis you should be assessed straightaway and offered help and treatment from an early intervention service, which provides support for people with symptoms of psychosis. If you are having a crisis and need urgent help you may be seen and given treatment at home by a crisis resolution and home treatment team.

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