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Recognizing Early Psychosis

​People experiencing recent troublesome changes in their behavior, thoughts or emotions described below may have early psychosis or the onset of mental illness. If you or someone you know has had a recent diagnosis or newly emerging symptoms of psychosis, the early psychosis program at UC San Diego Health can help with assessment, treatment and rehabilitation. 

What Is Psychosis?

Psychosis refers to conditions that affect thinking and is typically characterized by a loss of contact with reality or not knowing whether things that are happening around you are real or imaginary. Very often, these experiences can be highly distressing.

Psychosis is treatable, and while some people recover completely from their first episode, others may experience psychotic symptoms over time but can learn to cope with them.

Types of psychosis can include:

Know The Signs

Early identification and intervention during psychosis may help to decrease the onset and development of mental illness, as well as decrease its severity and impact.

Early signs of risk:

  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Spending more time alone
  • Communicating less
  • A drop in school or work performance
  • Inability to focus
  • Decreased motivation
  • Disengaging from usual activities
  • Changes in personal hygiene (i.e. not bathing or poor hygiene)
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Mood changes
  • Depressed or sad feelings
  • Feeling anxious or worried

More serious signs include:

  • Unusual or magical ideas or beliefs
  • Strange or intense beliefs about people or the world
  • Not feeling in control of your own thinking
  • Perceptual abnormalities or illusions
  • Visual or auditory changes (i.e. seeing or hearing things that others don't)
  • Vague or odd speech
  • Talking to yourself
  • Difficulty getting your point across to others
  • Talking in circles
  • Mistrustfulness or suspiciousness
  • Belief that people are talking behind your back
  • Worry that others are watching you
  • Unusual behavior or appearance

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We accept cash payments as well as some insurance carriers. ​

For a list of accepted insurance companies or questions about insurance coverage, contact Yolando Pearson, at 619-543-7745 or

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Help support our mission to deliver effective care to youth with mental illness by making a donation to the early psychosis treatment program.

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