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Psychosis as a one off event

(13 Posts)
StocktonGalaDays Sun 19-Jul-15 12:16:07

Hi everyone, this is my first post on MN but I have been lurking for a while. I wondered if anyone has any experience of psychosis?

About 18 months ago my 25 year old son had a severe psychotic episode. It's a long story but he was living alone a long way from home, in a new job, away from his girlfriend and I think the pressure got too much for him. He was extremely ill, paranoid, hearing voices, talking about suicide etc. we brought him home and he made a really good and quick recovery. The care he received from the mental health team was excellent. I know that isn't the case for everyone but we were really impressed with his treatment.

Anyway, he seems well. He has a new job, a new flat (locally, so his dad and I see him frequently) and is still with his girlfriend. But I cannot shake the feeling that it is going to happen again. I worry about him constantly. I thought that psychosis was normally a symptom of other mental illness? Can it really be the case that this happened to him and that he is now completely "cured"?

Does anyone have any experience of a "one-off" psychotic episode like this?

dontrunwithscissors Sun 19-Jul-15 13:23:57

Sorry, I can't really answer your question, other than to say that I remember reading that you can have a one off psychotic episode, esp if stress related. At the same time, if a lot of stress kicked it off once, there's more chance of it happening again. Not much help, really, but I would say that nobody can give you an answer. It's a case of wait and see, keep stress levels lower and the longer he stays well, the better. Is he on any medication? Was he diagnosed with anything other than psychosis? I have experienced psychotic depression, but as part of bipolar.

NanaNina Sun 19-Jul-15 13:32:09

I can understand your worry, totally, our kids are always our kids even when they're grown, and we just want everything to be right for them. I can't offer any re-assurance because none of us can see into the future (thankfully) I suffer from depression/anxiety which can be severe which is why I'm on the MH board.

Is there anyone in the extended family who has suffered from a psychotic illness, as it is often hereditary, but can arise at random, or it can be so far back in the past that it's unknown if you see what I mean. Do you mind my asking if your son was smoking cannabis as there is a proven direct link between this "skunk" type cannabis and psychotic episodes. Psychosis isn't a symptom of other mental illnesses - so not entirely sure what you meant - it is a mental illness in itself. Presumably he was on medication - does he still take it? I think sometimes people (especially young people) stop taking the meds and can then relapse.

It's no good telling you not to worry because you will - we will worry about our kids while ever there's breath in our body!

Maybe others will be along soon..........

PipAndPosey Sun 19-Jul-15 13:36:34

Hey there - I had a postpartum psychosis that lasted about a month when my son was just born. It was very acute and very distressing but I'm fully recovered now (although I do have a diagnosis of bipolar which I need to manage). The doctors have assured me there is little chance of further psychosis without a triggering event (eg childbirth again, or something of similar magnitude). I hope this helps - sorry I know it's not the same circumstances at all but do trust that the human brain is a wierd and wonderful thing and very capable of surviving psychosis and mending itself. X

Blue2014 Sun 19-Jul-15 13:55:55

Yes, it can absolutely just happen once. Rufus May (a well very respected psychologist) was hospitalised for delusional beliefs as a teenager. He has a high profile career and a family and is psychosis free, having only had that episode, over 20 years later.

I'm guessing your son had help from an early intervention service, they primarily exist because of the belief that one psychotic episode doesn't have to ruin your life.

It's normal to worry but you might not need to worry as much as you are. There is a lot of hope for a complete recovery

StocktonGalaDays Sun 19-Jul-15 14:51:11

Thanks for your replies everyone.

To answer some questions: I think it probably was stress related, it came on really quickly. He visited us about 4 weeks before it happened and seemed completely fine. No family history or cannabis use that I'm aware of. And he was not given any other diagnosis.

He was put on risperedone, diazepam and sleeping tablets for about 3 weeks and does not take any meds now.

He was treated by the Intensive Home Treatment Team as an alternative to admitting him to hospital. They were amazing. They visited him at our home 4 times a day for the first few days and visits gradually reduced. Fortunately, his dad and I were able to take time off work to look after him. We couldn't turn our backs on him for a minute or he would try to get a knife or escape from the house. All very distressing.

Reassuring to hear that it can be a one-off. I will try to worry less...his dad and I don't feel like we can go away on holiday as we are so worried about leaving him. I also feel guilty that perhaps I should have spotted there was something wrong sooner.

If this has taught me anything it's that we can take good mental health for granted. X

PipAndPosey Sun 19-Jul-15 16:08:22

Hey OP it sounds like you've given fantastic care to your DS. I honestly wouldn't hesitate to book your holiday - you deserve one! Ask your son how he feels his health is, how are his stress levels etc, and trust him. He should know his early warning signs so get him to agree to visit GP if anything crops up. Also - you mentioned a GF - it's probably more her place to be primary carer, given he is grown up? Sometimes, as hard as it is, you have to leave them to it...

x2boys Sun 09-Aug-15 12:32:03

i realise this was posted a few weeks ago but yes people can have a one off psychotic episode due to stress or drugs etc i,m an RMN and what i would normally ask relatives during a first presentation[ sometimes only presentation] is there any reason to beleive your son may have used illegal drugs? people can also have drug induced psychosis which normally is treated very quickly with medication or it could be stress induced its difficult to say wether he will become unwell again some people never do but if he takes the advice of professionals and hopefully can recognise triggering factors and seek help when necessary this will help to keep him well

swisscheesetony Sun 09-Aug-15 12:41:18

Yes I have, or at least a 72 hour episode 13 years ago which has not repeated. I was going through a really bad patch and bought some cannabis to try and help. Sent me batshit off the wall. I'd never even take a solitary puff of a joint now because for me it's clearly a massive trigger.

Neverletmego27 Wed 12-Aug-15 20:53:36

Hi there

I have bpd, major depression and ptsd. Part of my condition is brief psychotic episodes. In the past 2 years, I've had one that lasted a week or so and another that lasted the besr part of a year. The first one didn't need treatment, the second one involved crisis team. I take risperdone and an anti depressant now. I know that it wasn't one episode there but as long as I'm taking my meds the risk is significantly reduced. Plus I know all of the signs and how to handle it better, which helps. As another poster says, it'd take a "big" triggering event to send me spiralling again though. I think it can be kept in check if you are mindful, self aware and careful. I've been psychosis free for about 6 months now.

onlyoranges Wed 19-Aug-15 15:38:05

Hi, yes I had one about 12 years ago and never had one since. I would not describe my mental health as wonderful but I have had alot of trauma in my life which has resulted in that. But I have never had another psychotic episode.

StocktonGalaDays Sun 23-Aug-15 10:06:40

Thanks everyone. I do feel somewhat reassured by your replies. I think i do need to start to relax and trust him to look after himself. It seems like he has completely moved on and "got over it" while his dad and I are completely traumatised by the whole thing grin

We managed a few days away in the UK so we have had a bit of a holiday.

Thanks for sharing your stories flowers

mypip Sun 23-Aug-15 18:53:04

dear stocktongaladays, i'm sorry i don't know the answer, but
according to the psychologist i see i had a psychotic spell about the same age when i worked as a new teacher, also a long way from home. my parents also brought me home and i seemed to recover. i do relapse and it is usually most distressing and i'm partially disabled, but i would say not psychotic (if the psychologist is right- it was a long time ago) nor as bad as that spell. i've suffered quite with this, but there must be many who suffer just the once, and that may well be the norm. you sound such caring parents (and MH team), let's hope it was a one off and he will be well.

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