The word psychosis is used to describe a condition and a set of symptoms that include delusions, hallucinations and disturbed thinking.

Experiencing some of these symptoms at one time is called a psychotic episode. 

For some people, psychotic episodes last for a few days. For others, they can last until they are treated. Some people experience psychotic episodes frequently while others only experience them rarely. 

During a psychotic episode, you may believe you are being followed or your life is in danger. You might not know you are unwell during a psychotic episode and may believe that what you are experiencing is real. 

Psychosis can be a symptom of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, some forms of personality disorder and Parkinson’s disease.

It can also be caused by:

  • drug or alcohol abuse
  • severe stress, anxiety or depression
  • sleep deprivation
  • rare side-effects of certain types of medication. 

Where to find support:

Shine is a national organisation that provides information and support to people affected by psychosis and other mental health difficulties, as well as their families. 


HSE WebsitePsychosis


If you’re thinking about suicide or self-harm or if you need help right away, call 999 or 112

There are also specific support lines that you can call:

Samaritans Ireland – 116 123

Pieta House – 1800 247 247


Childline can also be contacted by any child or young person by calling 1800 66 66 66, texting to 50101 or chatting online at 24 hours a day, every day.

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