Early recognition of psychoses and bipolar disorders

Psychoses are possible in anyone

You wonder or ask on behalf of your relative whether you are or he / she is perhaps suffering from a psychosis or a bipolar disorder? The following pages are intended to provide you with information so that you obtain greater clarity in this matter. The orientation gained in the process is intended to motivate you to reassure yourself in personal contact with other persons afflicted, relatives or a doctor or therapist. You can find corresponding addresses, also of so-called early recognition centres, at the end of this website.

The earlier, the more prudent

The possibility that perceptions and thought processes change in certain life situations, i.e. become psychotic is inherent in human beings (see chapter “Understanding Psychoses”). Up to a point, this possibility of reaction may even be seen as a protective mechanism. In states of extreme sensory overload / traumatisation or very extensive isolation even people who are otherwise very stable can react in this way.

bildAnd yet the probability is not the same for all people. Many people are more thin-skinned than others or become so in the course of their life. In the process, very many different aspects play a role. Thinskinnedness or vulnerability is not a health condition. For human relations, diversity in this regard is even a blessing. And yet, in certain conflicts and crisis situations in particular the probability of psychoses also increases. For this, there are early warning signs, and yet these are mostly unspecific, i.e. they may lead to psychoses, but they do not have to.

In the most favourable case, there are facilities which strengthen the resources of the person afflicted or his / her family and improve the joint conflict strategies. Crises in the sense of phases of reorientation (see chapter “Understanding Psychoses” are inevitable in life. For persons possibly afflicted by a psychosis and their families however it is important to obtain help in times of crisis. Also, the balance between one’s own and another’s expectations can be a challenge in which the help of outsiders does them good. That is not very psychosis-specific, but in the case of persons on the verge of a psychosis under circumstances particularly important.

Not the earliest possible diagnosis of psychosis is the most important goal but its de-actualization or avoidance. As in all remedies it is important to weigh up the benefits and the detriments. Remedies should be measured by whether they manage to stem the momentum often associated with psychoses – as regards their psychic, social and physical aspects. As a rule, this requires a consideration of the whole human being and his / her family.

Goals of early recognition

bildEarly recognition wishes to provide relief to persons who have the first signs of a psychosis and their families as early as possible and thus de-actualize, avoid or favourably influence the disorder.

In persons with distinct symptoms of the disorder this is relatively easy. The present-day knowledge shows clearly that an early treatment improves the course. The shorter the untreated psychosis or bipolar disorder lasts, the more favourable is the prognosis.

The situation becomes more difficult in persons who do not yet suffer from clear symptoms of the disorder but only show mild psychic and social changes which could point to a psychosis. Here it is important:

  • to prevent the onset of the psychosis through punctual recognition and early help and debilitate existing symptoms.
  • in the process, to proceed as prudently as possible so that the risk of false interventions is kept as small as possible.

Remedies that are conflict-oriented, i.e. which defuse existing crises as inducements and include the close relative at an early stage have proven to be successful. In this connection, it is most easily possible to abrogate the first psychotic symptoms through understanding or if necessary also remedy these with prudent medication.

The website aims to

  • Point out to you reasons why the early recognition of psychoses can be delayed and what possible consequences for the prognosis of the disorder may be associated with this,
  • Explain to you right at the beginning what a psychosis or a bipolar disorder actually is,
  • Communicate to you effectively through the narrations of persons afflicted how psychoses or bipolar disorder can develop,
  • Explain to you what phases persons on the way to a psychosis pass through and what persons have a particular susceptibility to a psychosis,
  • Communicate to you effectively the important first psychic and social signs / symptoms of a psychosis or a bipolar disorder,
  • Make available to you two questionnaires with which you can test whether in your case possibly an increased risk of a psychosis or a bipolar disorder exists,
  • Explain to you what you should expect when establishing contact with a psychiatric institution and what therapies you can then make use of.



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