Psychosis is a debilitating mental condition that alters how a person thinks, perceives the world and ultimately how they feel, behave and function. Psychosis may be caused by a psychiatric illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It can also be caused by brain injury, infection or substance abuse. Symptoms can include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking and /or bizarre behavior. Onset generally develops slowly over several months or even years and typically occurs during late adolescence or early adulthood. Psychosis can impact all facets of a person’s life, such as career, education, relationships and employment. Each year about 12 of out every 100,000 people in Ontario will experience their first episode of psychosis and the overwhelming majority of them will be adolescents and young adults between the ages of 14 and 35 (Jablensky, et al., 1992 ; Ministry of Health and Long Term Care: Early Psychosis Intervention Program Standards, 2011).
Families are often the first line of support for an individual living with mental illness. The goal of early intervention is to reduce treatment delays and optmize chances for recovery.
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