Know the Facts
Know what psychosis is and is not
A lot of what people think they know about psychosis is just hype. Take this True or False quiz to get the real story.
1. A lot of people have psychosis.
True: In Delaware, about 9,000 people have it. That equals 32 school bus loads of people with enough left over to fill every seat in Frawley Stadium where the Wilmington Blue Rocks play.
2. ‘Psychosis’ is a made-up word that teenagers use as permission to act ‘crazy’ and get a lot of special attention and treatment.
False: Psychosis is not an ‘act’. Teenagers that have it are like anyone else; they do not want to draw attention to their personal problems. They would rather fit in than stand out. If their symptoms are noticeable, it is not on purpose.
3. Once you have psychosis, you never get better.
False: It is true that there is not a complete cure, but it is a mistake to say that you cannot get better. These days, there are ways to bounce back when symptoms bother you and other ways to stay well longer. Teens in the Delaware CORE program learn and practice these skills a lot and get really good at feeling better as a result.
4. Psychosis has nothing to do with how smart you are.
True: Psychosis and intelligence have nothing to do with each other. John Nash was a world famous mathematician and he had psychosis. Nash learned to take it easy when his symptoms were acting up. But when they were not bothering him, he could solve some of the world’s toughest math problems. Psychosis will not turn you into a genius, but it will not keep from being one either.
5. People with psychosis are weak.
False: Go tell that to Lionel Aldridge. Lionel Aldridge played professional football in the 1960s and 1970s. He weighed 250 pounds, and was one of the few rookies to be allowed to start as a linebacker in his first year of play. He played for 11 years in the NFL and helped the Green Bay Packers win 2 Super Bowls. Aldridge had psychosis.
6. People with psychosis are dangerous.
False: If you said ‘true’ to this one, you have been watching too many movies! People in treatment for psychosis are no more dangerous than anybody else. Actually, a normal person on drugs and alcohol is more likely to cause violence than a person in treatment for psychosis. That is a fact.
7. I can have psychosis and still have a good future.
True: Yes! That is right! Keep setting goals, and plan for them, but give yourself a little more time to reach them. When athletes get injured, they do not give up playing sports, but they do back off for a little while to give their bodies time to recover. So plan for the future and set your goals, but be patient with yourself and give your brain time to heal.
8. Teenagers with psychosis have to live in hospitals for long periods away from family and friends.
False: Teens with psychosis live at home 99% of the time. Once in a while, a trip to the hospital is needed -- but that is the same for lots of illnesses. For example, diabetes is a disease that causes people to have too much sugar in their body. Sometimes, teens with diabetes have to go to the hospital to bring their sugar levels down. In a similar way, psychosis causes too much activity in some parts of the brain, so teens with this problem might have to go to the hospital once in a while to bring that activity down to normal levels. In most cases, hospital stays are short so teens can get back to their routines quickly.