People are most at risk of developing a psychotic illness in their teens or early twenties. As a psychotic illness is devastating for the young person and their family, recent emphasis has been placed on early intervention at those at risk of developing psychosis. The most common treatment is antipsychotic drugs, but this strategy is controversial as the side effects can be severe, including weight gain, and in any event, patients often stop taking the drugs.
A recent study by Dr Patrick McGorry, a professor at the University of Melbourne, looked at 115 young people at risk of developing psychosis and gave them a range of psychological and drug treatments. Although the study was small, the researchers concluded that “… it’s quite safe and reasonably effective … to offer supportive psychosocial care to these patients”.
Therapy, in other words, should be considered as an early intervention to young people at risk of developing psychosis. Furthermore, therapy avoids the risky side effects of antipsychotic drugs.
As a therapist who works in the heart of the Manchester student district, I’ve seen many clients over the years who could be considered at risk of developing psychosis. My experience has also been that therapy can help these clients, so it’s great to see evidence that supports this position.
If you feel you may be experiencing delusions or hallucinations, it is really important you let someone know. Contrary to popular belief, delusions and hallucinations are remarkably common, and are not necessarily a sign you will become seriously psychotic. It is important, though, that you get checked out and offered the support you need to make sense of your symptoms.
Dr Phil Tyson is a Men's Psychotherapist based in Manchester in the UK. He offers:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (cbt) for men in Manchester
- Counselling for men in Manchester
- Psychotherapy for men in Manchester
- Telephone and Skype counselling for men wherever you live
- Supervision and consultative support for therapists in Manchester
- Mediation for employment disputes in Manchester and the UK