warning signs of psychosis

Signs of Psychosis in Adolescents

January 21, 2022

Changes in mood and behavior are nothing new to the world of adolescence, but parents are often left asking themselves, “What is normal?” A majority of the time, the moodiness you notice as a parent is developmentally appropriate, but there are times when a drastic shift in mood or behavior can signal something more serious. Sometimes, these can be early warning signs of psychosis. 

So should you be concerned that these changes are signs of a greater mental health issue? Let’s explore this together.

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis is a mental health condition in which a person is unable to distinguish what is real and what isn’t. This often looks like seeing, hearing, and otherwise perceiving things that are not present. Psychosis can be a symptom of schizophrenia, but not everyone who experiences psychosis will develop schizophrenia later in life. This is why early intervention and recognition of symptoms is so important – it can mean the difference between well-managed symptoms and a serious mental illness.

Early Warning Signs of Psychosis in Adolescents

We know early intervention is key in treating psychosis, so what are signs you can look for in your teen that indicate they are, in fact, experiencing psychotic symptoms?

Early warning signs of psychosis include:

  • A sudden drop in grades or involvement
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Paranoia and feelings of persecution
  • Hygiene changes
  • Seeing or hearing things that are not there
  • Changes in mood

Psychosis Test

So you’ve noticed some of these warning signs in your adolescent, but you’re not sure if they indicate a greater issue or not. Use the questions below to help evaluate the symptoms you are noticing.

  1. Have you noticed a drastic change in your adolescent’s ability to perform in school? 
  2. Are they suddenly unable to concentrate or generally disinterested in things they used to enjoy?
  3. Has your adolescent reacted to (or made comments about) hearing or seeing things that are not based in reality?
  4. Does your teen seem overly concerned about other people talking about them, or are they worried someone is “out to get them”?
  5. Have you noticed a sudden drop in hygiene from your adolescent? Are they seeming to lack the general motivation to do things such as take a shower and brush their teeth?

While there is no one online test to indicate whether your adolescent is experiencing psychosis or not, these questions can help guide your thinking. Answering “yes” to these items could indicate your teen is exhibiting signs of psychosis and indicates a need for further evaluation. 

If your teen is exhibiting these signs, The Forum can provide an in-depth psychological evaluation to ensure your teen is properly diagnosed and receives the treatment they need. Contact us today!