Psychotic Episodes

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A psychotic episode refers to a break from reality characterized by symptoms like hallucinations, agitation, and disillusionment. Also known as a “Psychotic Break” it can harm personal relationships and is often treated with medication. Substance abuse, especially with drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine, can trigger or worsen psychotic episodes. These episodes are not limited to those with pre-existing mental health issues and can result from drug-induced psychosis. Proper assessment and treatment are crucial, especially in addiction recovery, where professionals address both addiction and co-occurring mental health problems. Our understanding of these episodes and their connection to addiction has evolved over time, leading to improved treatment approaches.

Psychosis is not a diagnosis but rather a symptom of certain mental health problems.

Doctors and psychiatrists may use the term “experiencing psychosis” instead of giving a specific diagnosis. Some conditions that may involve psychosis include severe depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, paranoid personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, postpartum psychosis, and delusional disorder. Some individuals may experience psychosis as a standalone symptom and may receive a diagnosis of ‘brief psychotic disorder’ if it lasts for less than a month and no other diagnosis better explains their symptoms.

Causes of a Psychotic Episodes

Psychosis occurs due to various factors, with no single identifiable cause. Understanding the underlying cause is fundamental for effective treatment. Likely causes of a psychotic break include:

  • Genetics
    A family history of psychosis-related conditions like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder increases the risk, though it doesn’t guarantee development.
  • Trauma
    Witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event can trigger a psychotic break, especially in genetically predisposed individuals.
  • Substance abuse
    Abuse of drugs like amphetamines or alcohol heightens the risk of developing psychosis.
  • Brain injuries
    Traumatic brain injuries can lead to psychosis, necessitating vigilance for early signs.
  • Medical conditions
    Psychotic breaks may be associated with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, schizoaffective disorder, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Stress
    Severe stress can trigger a psychotic episode, especially in individuals with other risk factors.

Signs of a Psychotic Episode

Early signs preceding a psychotic break vary among individuals and may include difficulty concentrating, declining academic or work performance, neglect of personal hygiene, self-isolation, fluctuating emotions, or emotional numbness. During a psychotic episode, individuals may experience hallucinations (seeing or hearing unreal things) and delusions (believing untrue things), such as hearing voices, seeing unseen entities, or having special powers. Additional symptoms can involve irregular speech, mood swings, anxiety, increased isolation, inappropriate behavior, and disordered thoughts.

Treatment for Psychotic Episodes

Treatment typically combines medication and psychotherapy. Antipsychotic drugs aim to regulate brain chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, glutamate, and NMDA receptors linked to psychosis. Psychotherapy options include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for symptom understanding and management, and family therapy for support and education of loved ones. Combining medication and psychotherapy can effectively manage psychosis based on its severity and underlying causes.

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    Founded in 2008, WeDoRecover has evolved from an advisory service for addiction treatment into a comprehensive provider of care, following its 2019 merger with Changes Addiction Rehab in Johannesburg. Specializing in connecting patients to top-tier addiction treatment centers in the UK, South Africa, and Thailand, WeDoRecover supports individuals globally, including those from the United Arab Emirates and Europe. Accepting both South African medical aid and international health insurance, the organization facilitates access to high-quality treatment for substance and alcohol use disorders, offering individualized care that addresses the physical, mental, and social needs of patients.



    Our team, led by Gareth Carter, offers empathetic and professional support, guiding you through every step of the treatment process. Whether you're in South Africa or abroad, our acceptance of various insurance plans makes quality care accessible, providing a platform for lasting recovery and a healthier future.


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    Our rehab care is a good option if you are at risk of experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms when you try stop a substance. This rehab option would also be recommended if you have experienced recurrent relapses or if you have tried a less-intensive treatment without success.

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    If you're committed to your sobriety but cannot take a break from your daily duties for an inpatient program. Outpatient rehab treatment might suit you well if you are looking for a less restricted format for addiction treatment or simply need help with mental health.

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    Therapy can be good step towards healing and self-discovery. If you need support without disrupting your routine, therapy offers a flexible solution for anyone wishing to enhance their mental well-being or work through personal issues in a supportive, confidential environment.

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    Are you having persistent feelings of being swamped, sad or have sudden surges of anger or intense emotional outbursts? These are warning signs of unresolved trauma mental health. A simple assesment by a mental health expert could provide valuable insights into your recovery.


    Finding the right rehab close to you is simple with WeDoRecover. Our network includes the finest rehab centers, ensuring personalised, quality care for your recovery needs. Let Gareth Carter and our empathetic team help guide you to a center that feels right for you, offering expert care and support. Start your healing today by choosing a rehab that's not just close to you, but also that truly cares about your loved ones recovery.


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