Some of the symptoms of schizophrenia might make it hard to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not. At times, you may see or hear things that aren’t there (hallucinations), believe things that aren’t true (delusions), or think and talk in a jumbled way (thought disorder). Your doctor may call symptoms like these “psychosis” or “psychotic episodes.”

To perceive things clearly again and lower the odds for another psychotic episode, it’s important to get treatment as early as possible. Stay prepared, too. Learn which behavior changes can be early warning signs of psychosis. If you’ve had an episode before, write down the date, your symptoms, possible triggers, and what helped you through it. Then you can make an action plan in case the symptoms flare up. Review the plan with a doctor and loved ones. Keep several copies of it on hand.

Click to download a PDF of this plan.

Some people may want to consider a psychiatric advance directive, a legal document that states someone’s treatment preferences in case they’re unable to during a mental health crisis. Ask your health care provider if that step is right for you

WebMD Medical Reference Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Casarella, MD on May 06, 2021



National Alliance on Mental Illness: “Being Prepared for a Crisis,” “Early Psychosis: What’s Going On and What Can You Do?” “Understanding Psychosis.”

National Institute of Mental Health: “Schizophrenia.”

American Psychiatric Association: “What Is Schizophrenia?”

Mental Health America: “Mental Health Crisis Plan.”

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