3 out of 100 people will experience psychosis in their lifetimes


Psychosis can present differently from person to person. Symptoms usually emerge for the first time between the ages of 16 and 25. Symptoms can be mild at first and develop in intensity over time. Please be empathetic and aware that when a young person’s behavior seems “off,” they may be experiencing psychosis.


These are some of the most common symptoms of psychosis with examples of what one may experience. Please be aware that some or all of these may be absent in a particular person or episode while psychosis is still present.


Feeling like your mind is playing tricks on you

For example: Hearing noises or voices then realizing they aren’t there. Seeing things others seem to not see. Hearing your thoughts as if outside your head.


Confusion about whether something is real or imaginary

For example: Beginning to believe in odd or unusual things that are difficult to explain. Believing you can read people’s mind or that others are reading your mind. Feeling like the radio or TV are communicating directly to you. Believing external forces are controlling thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Feeling something odd is going on or that something is wrong that you cannot explain.


Paranoia or feelings of persecution

For example: Feeling people around you are thinking about you negatively, or making you feel unsafe, or intending to harm you. Feeling paranoid and distrustful, or that you are being watched.


Exaggerated self-opinion

For example: Having an unrealistic sense of superiority. Expansiveness and boastfulness. Thinking you have new special powers or are on a special mission.


Changes in the way one feels or expresses emotions

For example: Feeling numb or disconnected from your life. Feeling detached or more intensely emotionally engaged. Losing sense of self and identity.


Pulling away from friends and family

For example: Becoming more isolated. Trouble with motivation for regular day-to-day activities. Losing interest in things you typically enjoy. Being preoccupied with your own thoughts.


Behavior that seems peculiar, odd, or eccentric to others

For example: Difficulty following directions or completing tasks as one used to. Purposeless movements or behaviors. Bizarre or illogical thinking. Not taking care of oneself.


Not doing as well in everyday life activities

For example: Being unable to tolerate stress. Sleep disturbances. Having a harder time getting typical daily activities done. No longer engaging in activities that promote health and wellbeing, such as exercise or socializing.


Thoughts are hard to follow and/or control

For example: Difficulty putting together your words in order to communicate. Strange pauses in conversation. Answering questions unrelated to the conversation. Changing topics. Incomplete thoughts. Trouble with focus and attention at school. Difficulties being understood or getting your point across.


Use our quiz as a tool to see if psychosis symptoms are part of the picture.


Early Detection Matters

It is important for people to understand that treatment at a general mental health clinic is NOT the same as receiving specialized treatment.

Time is not on our side when it comes to psychosis and its impact on the brain. Therefore the earlier someone receives treatment, the better. Three decades of research shows that specialized treatment as early as possible upon a first psychosis episode improves an individual’s outcomes across the board.

The CALM campaign works in conjunction with the  Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic (EPIC)-NOLA, a Tulane University affiliated specialty care clinic for people experiencing psychosis. The goal is to help adolescents and young adults understand, manage, and cope with psychosis experiences in order to get back to their everyday lives.


Many of the things people believe about psychosis aren’t true. In order to provide Clear Answers to Louisiana Mental Health it’s important that we move past myths and educate ourselves and each other on the truth.


Psychosis is someone’s fault.


Psychosis is nobody’s fault because no one can cause it.

We are still learning about how and why psychosis develops. We do know that multiple factors can intersect to lead to psychosis such as genetic risk, traumatic or stressful experiences, physical illness or injury, and drug use.

Psychosis is a supernatural or religious punishment.

In 2019, EPIC-NOLA sat down with a diverse group of spiritual leaders. Those leaders collectively agreed that psychosis could NOT be a result of a spiritual issue.

They also agreed their approach to someone with psychosis was to provide empathy, support and advise them to seek out a mental health professional.

There is no cure for psychosis.

There is specialized treatment for psychosis that works and helps individuals live happy & successful lives.

People with psychosis are dangerous.

Because of the way psychosis is presented in the media, many people believe this to be true. However...

Someone with psychosis is actually more likely to be the victim of violence than the perpetrator.

They are not anymore dangerous than the average person, but they do need help.

Psychosis can be cured by yelling, punishment or magic.

The only proven cure for psychosis is specialized treatment for psychosis from trained professionals.

Yelling, punishment and magic is more likely to trigger a psychotic episode, than to help it.

It can’t be psychosis, there’s no family history (or other reason).

Please be empathetic and aware that when a young person’s behavior seems “off,” it can be the start of a serious mental health problem.

If they are experiencing symptoms of psychosis, talk to a trained professional for advice.

People with psychosis just need to act “normal”.

Psychosis symptoms can be scary and confusing, making it almost impossible to act and feel “normal”.

It doesn’t have to be like this, because treatment works and can help individuals feel like their “normal” selves again.

Psychosis treatment means being locked in a mental hospital.

Unfortunately, some individuals with psychosis may need inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. However, not everyone does.

Most of the recovery takes place in an office or home-based setting that is comfortable and welcoming.

Nothing can be done for someone experiencing symptoms until they experience a crisis.

Individuals who are experiencing psychosis should reach out to a professional as soon as symptoms are noticeable. Specialized treatment for psychosis can help avoid a crisis.


Use our quiz as a tool to see if psychosis symptoms are part of the picture.


Learn more about the EPIC clinic, a specialty care clinic for people experiencing psychosis.