Psychosis is the medical term used to describe someone hearing, seeing or believing things that other people do not. It’s used to describe an experience rather than a mental illness. Some people describe it as a ‘break from reality’. People experiencing psychosis may not be aware of this and believe their experiences are real.
Psychosis is not a mental illness in itself, it is a symptom of some mental health problems. The most common symptoms of psychosis are hallucinations (seeing, hearing and feeling things that aren’t actually there) and delusions (believing things that aren’t true).
Different people experience psychosis differently. Some people have it only for a short time, whereas others have episodes throughout their lives, or live with it most of the time. About 1 in every 100 people will experience a psychotic episode in their lifetime.
Not everyone finds psychosis distressing. They may hear comforting voices, or feel that it makes them understand the world better. However, other people find the symptoms disrupt daily life and make them feel tired, scared or overwhelmed.