January 12, 2021

What to Do When it Feels Like You’re Losing Touch with Reality

By: Design
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Table of Contents

Medicially Reviewed By:
Dr. Priya Chaudhri
credentials here

What Does it Mean to Lose Your Touch With Reality?

The signs may be quite subtle at first. A friend or loved one may seem “off” of late. They may have stopped caring about their appearance, not their norm at all. Maybe you are plagued with a sense that someone is watching you.

These early signs of a mental health issue may not seem a problem at first. But as the symptoms begin to gather steam it may mean you are losing touch with reality.

Psychosis is the symptom of a mental health disorder, not an illness itself. An estimated 100,000 people in the U.S. have these symptoms each year. These center on having trouble knowing what is real versus a figment of their imagination. Their actions and thoughts are simply not the norm for the person.

When you notice that you or a loved one seems to be losing touch with reality it is time to seek help. It could be that the symptoms relate to a health or neural problem that needs treatment. If it is indeed the early signs of psychosis, getting timely care is key.

What are Psychotic Disorders?

Psychotic disorders are the types of mental illnesses that feature the loss of touch with what’s real. These feature odd actions, feelings, and thoughts. People will see or hear things that are not really there. When a mental health issue has psychosis as a primary symptom, it will be called a psychotic disorder.

According to an article in JAMA, about 3.5% of U.S. adults will have psychosis at some point. Its features can be caused by severe anxiety, depression, or bipolar. It can also be its own mental health disorder.

The cause of this type of mental health issue is still mainly unknown. There are, though, some theories. These include that neural problems, viral infections, extreme trauma, or prolonged stress, and certain drugs, and genes could factor in.

Different Types of Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders emerge with differing features while sharing core traits. The types of these disorders include:

  • Schizophrenia. This is the most common type of psychotic disorder. Symptoms focus on losing touch with reality, with hallucinations, delusional thoughts, angry outbursts, and extreme mood swings.
  • Schizoaffective disorder. This combines features of schizophrenia with a mood disorder that includes depressive or manic episodes.
  • Brief psychotic disorder. Brief psychotic disorder is a short-lived disorder that is sometimes triggered by a traumatic event.
  • Schizophreniform disorder. This is similar to schizophrenia but tends to affect young adults and teens, and lasts 1-6 months in duration.

What Are the Symptoms of Psychosis?

The main feature of psychosis is losing contact with what’s real. The different types of these disorders will have unique features. There are, though, some general symptoms. Examples of common symptoms include:

  • Insomnia.
  • Feelings of being watched.
  • Mental confusion.
  • Auditory and visual hallucinations.
  • Delusional thoughts.
  • Strange or confused speech or writing.
  • Inappropriate behavior.
  • Avoids social scenes.
  • The decline in academic or work performance.
  • Unusual body positioning or movement.
  • Paranoid behavior.
  • Unusual preoccupation.
  • Irrational or angry behaviors.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Loss of interest in appearance and hygiene.
  • Personality changes.

The earlier the disorder is addressed and treated, the better the clinical outcome.

out of touch with reality

Treatment for Psychotic Disorders

Treatment of psychotic disorders relies mostly on psychotherapy and drug therapy:

Psychotherapy: While in a treatment the individual will be involved in therapy. The focus involves helping the person regain healthy thought patterns. One-on-one, group, and family therapy are all offered in the program.

Support groups: Group sessions allow small groups to discuss and share their mental health issues based on the topics. These groups provide a safe space for sharing and also foster peer support.

Coping skills: Part of the treatment is helping the person to improve their social skills. This gives them the tools to get along with people better.

Meds: Drugs are prescribed to help reduce symptoms. This helps improve the quality of life.

ECT: This is reserved for the most severe forms of psychosis in those who do not respond to the meds.

Holistic therapies: Activities such as yoga, mindfulness training, guided meditation, acupuncture, and massage help control stress. Patients learn how to initiate mindfulness at any time of day.

Transitional housing. It can be helpful for the patient to reside in housing that is geared toward the healing process. This type of housing provides a safe living space that allows the patient to slowly adjust to regular daily life.

When Does a Psychotic Break Require Hospitalization?

When someone has a psychotic break they are no longer tracking with reality. In this case, it may be proper to have the person admitted. This might be a psychiatric hospital or a wing within a hospital. This level of care is distinct, as a hospital is equipped to manage a severe mental health event. In the hospital setting the patient will likely be kept in a special ward away from other patients. They may need to be restrained to avoid the risk of self-harm or harm to others.

In the hospital setting, the individual will be watched closely. Medications will be reviewed and the focus will be on acute stabilization measures. This process may take a couple of days. Later the patient can step down to a residential mental health treatment center.

Elevation Behavioral Health Leading Residential Mental Health Center in Los Angeles

Elevation Behavioral Health is a private mental health program. It features a small, cozy, home-like space for healing. Elevation Behavioral treats all forms of mental health disorders, including psychotic disorders, using a proven approach. If you feel you’re losing touch with the real world, contact our team today at (888) 561-0868.

Our team of experts is here to help you.