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HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini


Psychosis is something that happens when a person's brain function becomes seriously disrupted. Someone with psychosis stops understanding what is real and what is not. This can be extremely distressing for them and for those around them.

When a person is experiencing psychosis they may:

Psychosis happens in serious mental illnesses such as chronic (long-lasting) schizophrenia, severe depression or bipolar disorder. It can also happen in response to severe stress or drug or alcohol use, and then might never happen again. One in five people who have psychosis for the first time recover fully and don't have another episode.

Canterbury DHB has more detailed information about psychosis, its symptoms and its causes.


If you or your loved one needs IMMEDIATE help, call the West Coast mental health crisis team on 0800‑757‑678 (24 hours, seven days a week).

If you are concerned about someone's behaviour and think they might harm themselves or someone else call the police on 111.

If you are concerned about someone's dangerous behaviour, but you don't think it is immediately threatening anyone's safety, contact the mental health crisis team using the contact details above.

Information provided by the Canterbury DHB. Adapted by the West Coast DHB. Last reviewed March 2018.

See also:

Medications for mental health issues

Suicide prevention

In this section

About psychotic disorders

Do I have a psychotic disorder?

Living with schizophrenia

Support for families & friends of people with psychosis

Psychosis & young people

More information about psychosis

Page reference: 248285

Review key: HIPSY-124133