The signs that you or someone you love is suffering from mental problems may not be clear. Hearing voices or experiencing hallucinations are clear signs that someone is suffering from a psychotic episode. But before an episode fully develops, there are often more subtle warning signs.

Recognising the early signs of psychosis can sometimes prevent an episode from happening, or at least limit the severity of the episode, experts say.

Early signs include restlessness, nervousness, irritability, extreme sensitivity and difficulty concentrating or coping with stressful situations, according to the Professional Association of German Neurologists and Psychiatrists (BVDN).

Psychosis is a mental disorder characterised by detachment from reality. Visual or auditory hallucinations – seeing or hearing things that others don’t – are among the symptoms.

Sufferers have an altered perception of their surroundings – sounds, colours and smells, for example – or of themselves. Someone displaying any of the above symptoms should be examined by a specialist.

In the early stages of an episode, it can be difficult to say with certainty whether the patient is experiencing psychosis, so it’s advisable to have them examined at regular intervals. If psychosis is indeed present, it’s usually highly treatable – in many cases on an outpatient basis.

People at risk of developing the disorder include those who have had a traumatic experience, those with a family history of psychosis, and those who have abused drugs intensively and from an early age.

Getting professional care early is important.

Talking To Yourself Is Healthy And Helpful

Spend a lot of time having conversations with yours truly in the mirror? Good news: You’re not crazy. In fact, it can be quite useful in a number of situations, according to the magazine Psychology Today.

Imagine you are building a shelf. It can help, the experts say, to verbally talk yourself through each individual step. This helps the mind ignore distractions and focus on the task at hand.

Talking to yourself also helps when studying. Instead of simply reading information on a piece of paper in front of you, try to summarise it out loud. People who do this are likely to retain the information better than those who do not, the experts say. – dpa