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"My experience with New Journeys was life changing. My schizophrenia was really bad before I came to New Journeys, it was so bad that I tried to commit suicide. But, now that I've been going to  New Journeys I'm not suicidal anymore. I won an award for best mentally improved thanks to New Journeys and I'm better than before I went to New Journeys."

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis in itself is not a diagnosis, but a term used to describe a group of symptoms. Psychosis is a break with reality where the thoughts and perceptions of a person become disrupted. These changes happen gradually, typically in 3 phases, early, acute and recovery. The onset of first episode psychosis typically presents in the teens and early 20's for males and the late 20's early 30's for females; it is unusual to see psychosis in children.


Psychosis does not discriminate across cultures, races, or social classes and anyone can have a psychotic episode. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) approximately 100,000 young people will experience psychosis each year, and as many as 3 in 100 people will experience psychosis in their lifetime. At this time it is still unknown exactly what causes psychosis, but it is known that psychosis is treatable and that the earlier it is identified and treated the more successful remission is.

Phases of Psychosis

Psychosis occurs in 3 phases, Early, Acute and Recovery. The early phase can last anywhere from a few weeks to a year. Often the early signs of psychosis may be vague and attributed to a "phase" of adolescence because the typical characteristics of early psychosis are symptoms such as becoming socially withdrawn, experiencing loss of motivation, seeing a decline in performance in school or work and difficulties concentrating. These changes do not occur suddenly but happen gradually over the course of time.

Early Phase

There is no specific symptom presentation for early psychosis, and warning signs will look different for each person in the early phase. According to Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, common presentations could be a combination of any of the following:

  • Feeling as if your thoughts might not be your own

  • Feeling like you're being watched

  • Being open and explicit about sexual matters

  • Feeling quiet and withdrawn

  • Thinking you could be someone else

  • having no interests in things

  • Thinking the radio or TV are referring to you

  • Being preoccupied with one or two things

  • Feeling as if you am being laughed at or talked about

  • New ideas constantly coming to mind

  • Having difficulties getting to daily activities

  • Thinking people can read your thoughts

Acute Phase

In this stage you are experiencing your highest peeks of psychosis. In this phase symptoms which are most associated with psychosis are expressed:

  • Thoughts feelings and perceptions are seriously affected

  • Experiences of hallucinations and delusions

  • You may have experiences of agitated body movements

  • You may have experiences "word salad" where expressed thoughts, as seen in speech and writing, seem to have no logical connection to one another and are all tossed together, like a salad.


To enter into the recovery phase of psychosis you must typically receive treatment for your symptoms in the form of therapy and medication management. When you enter New Journeys program, you are given the opportunity to receive both individual resiliency therapy, as well as medication management, among other services to assist you in achieving recovery. While the pattern of recovery varies from person to person, psychosis is treatable and recovery is expected.

Maintaining Wellness

On the road of recovery from psychosis, you may find that you are re-exhibiting some of the symptoms you displayed during the early phase of the initial onset of psychosis. This is normal, and does not mean that you are failing or will never recover. In the very beginning of New Journeys, the clinical team will work with you to develop a personal resiliency model, and to utilize personal character strengths to overcome symptoms of psychosis. You will work with your New Journeys team and loved ones to identify your early warning signs and triggers and develop a relapse prevention plan which you feel comfortable with. New Journeys' goal is that every person who becomes a part of the New Journeys family will leave the program confident in their ability to maintain wellness through symptom recognition and wellness plans.

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