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Psychosis - What is that?

What is normal?
Blurred background and a young woman in the foreground. She is covering her face with her hands.

When I was a child I already was under the impression, "Something is totally wrong with me. I am different!" On the other hand, I don't know some things any differently and have always believed that everyone else would experience the world exactly as I did and no one would ever talk about it.


Hearing voices, seeing things that are not there, often not feeling as a part of reality, all of this is normal for me. Constant tension and fears included.


But what is it? What is "normal"? And where do these symptoms come from? What is the possible treatment? And why have I only recently found out about it?

What is psychosis

A psychotic person suffers from a loss of reality. For example, people with acute psychosis hear voices, see or feel things that are not there, suffer from delusions or have lost direct contact with reality. "Worldwide, around three to four percent of the population will develop psychosis in their lifetime. Experiencing psychosis is usually very frightening for those affected."

Here are a few examples of possible symptoms that can occur either all or individually:

  • delusions and paranoia

    • e.g. that you are being followed or eavesdropped

    • e.g. that you get messages over the radio

    • e.g. megalomania

  • hallucinations

    • hearing voices that e.g. want to command something or devalue you

    • visual hallucinations of things that are not there (affected person cannot necessarily differentiate between what is real and what is not)

    • perception of smells that are not really there

    • tactile hallucinations, i.e. one perceives touch and the presence of others who are not there

  • Ego disorders

    • thinking your own thoughts were forced upon you by another

    • thought spreading, i.e. others can "listen" to or "read" your thoughts. Deprivation of thoughts, in other words, others steal your own thoughts. External control, i.e. you think you are being remotely controlled by others like a robot

Other possible symptoms are:

  • listlessness

  • poor concentration

  • social withdrawal

  • inner unrest

Psychosis and Schizophrenia - One and the Same?

You have to understand that psychosis describes a syndrome, a complex of symptoms, which can occur in many different diseases.


Psychosis can arise from the following causes:

  • for organic reasons (brain injuries, dementia, epilepsy, congenital / acquired metabolic disorders, autoimmune diseases, through drugs or medication, genetic predisposition (it is assumed that a certain genetic predisposition for mental illnesses can be inherited, but no corresponding genes have yet been found ), etc.)

  • for non-organic reasons


The possible non-organically based psychoses also include the possibility of illness with schizophrenia.

Videos about psychosis

Here are a few german videos about illness with psychosis.

A video that describes very nicely what psychosis is (English subtitles are available):

How can psychosis express itself and feel:

Here is a video that shows what it's like to live with psychosis based on testimonials:

How do you treat psychosis?

It depends on the causes of a psychosis. If it has an organic basis, it helps to treat the disease at hand, e.g. the tumor, or to withdraw from drugs.


If there are non-organic reasons, antipsychotic medication can help. This therapy is often accompanied by psychotherapy or sociotherapy.


Sociotherapy means helping the patient to regain his lost independence and to cope better with everyday life.

Here is a video of what it is like to take antipsychotics, including side effects, based on testimonials:

Diagnosis: Psychosis

I was diagnosed in autumn 2020. I'm not going to lie, at first it knocked my socks off and I cried like never before.


You have to keep in mind that I have been experiencing the symptoms mentioned above since my earliest childhood, sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker. But they have been part of my life for so long that you could almost call them a part of myself.


I am now happy that I finally confided in my 4th therapist and admitted that I hear voices and see things, among other things. Because it is only thanks to this that I can finally get the treatment that I have urgently needed for so long and understand myself much better.

A man with a hat. Instead of a face you see clouds.
Are psychotic or schizophrenic people dangerous?

Psychotic doesn't mean dangerous. Yes, there are definitely voices that may order someone to do something to themselves or to others. Is that scary? For the patient and outsiders alike. But that does not mean that this person is more dangerous than a person who does not suffer from psychosis or schizophrenia.


Here is a video that addresses the issue of whether mass shooters often suffer from schizophrenia:

More myths about psychosis and schizophrenia
  • It can be equated with multiple personalities

    • No. A "multiple personality disorder" or as it is called nowadays "dissociative identity disorder" (DID) is the result of severe trauma (e.g. torture, rituals, rape in earliest childhood, etc.). These people with DID have multiple different personalities within them. However, this is not the same as psychosis or schizophrenia.

      • Schizophrenia comes from the Greek for "split mind" which is why some have fallen for this myth.

  • You get it because of poor upbringing

    • No. Both diseases are independent of external environmental influences and can be inherited. Upbringing has nothing to do with it. Sure, a bad environment can make symptoms and dealing with them more difficult, but that still has no effect on whether someone falls ill or not.

  • Psychosis = psychopathy

    • No. Psychopathy describes a severe personality disorder in which the psychopath largely lacks empathy, conscience and responsibility. They like to manipulate other people in order to achieve their goals. To this end, a psychotic person struggles with the loss of reference to reality.

Here is a video that addresses the myths surrounding schizophrenia:

Here is a video that addresses the myth of psychosis = psychopathy:

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