Hallucinations or delusions

Do you… ?

  • Hear or see things that you or other people do not understand?
  • Have strong beliefs that other people do not share?
  • Feel distressed by unusual experiences?

What is psychosis?

There are 4 main features:

  • Hallucinations: perceiving something that does not exist in reality. This can occur in any of the 5 senses.
  • Delusions: holding an unshakeable belief in something implausible, bizarre or untrue e.g. believing that an organisation or individual intends to kill you; believing that you are the saviour of the world.
  • Confused and disturbed thoughts: rapid speech, content of speech might appear random and disrupted
  • A lack of insight or awareness: the person might be totally unaware that their behaviour is strange or that the delusions and hallucinations are imaginary.
How common is it?

Psychosis is more common than people realise. One study estimated that around 1 in 100 people have at least one episode of psychosis at some point during their life. Most cases of psychosis first develop during the older teenage years or during adulthood.

What can I do about it?

If you think you are experiencing psychosis then it is best to visit your GP who can assess your symptoms. Your GP may refer you on to specialist services.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends both medication and psychological therapy. Medication can be prescribed by your GP or a psychiatrist and they can also think with you about the type of psychological support available.

Self Help Groups. You may benefit from being around others who have been through similar experiences. The mental health charity Mind run support groups in your local area.

Reading. Here are some self-help materials that we recommend:


How can I help myself?