Signs Your Child May Be Suffering From Psychosis And What You Can Do

As a parent, the last thing you want is for your child to struggle physically, mentally, or emotionally. Sometimes, though, children have conditions that you cannot prevent or control. One such potential issue is psychosis. Psychosis is a mental disorder (often a symptom of another mental health condition, though not always) that involves a break with or a disconnection from reality. Oftentimes, the early signs of psychosis, particularly in children, can be subtle. If you are concerned about your child, get to know some of the signs your child may be suffering from psychosis. Then, you can be sure you do what you can to protect your child going forward. 

Lack of Concentration

If your child is suddenly having difficulty concentrating, it may be a sign of psychosis. Children who were once avid readers or gamers, for example, may suddenly spend little to no time doing these activities. Or, they might try to engage in them only to give up after a few minutes because they cannot focus. 

Lack of concentration can also occur in school, and you might hear from your child's teachers that they seem out of sorts or don't seem to be paying attention in class. 


Another sign that you child might be suffering from psychosis is that they become suddenly paranoid. They may tell you that their teacher or other students are out to get them. They may also become paranoid about people or things following them, talking to them, or talking about them. These are telltale signs of psychosis and of general mental health distress. 


Delusions are beliefs that a person holds onto and maintains despite all evidence to the contrary. For example, a person may think that they are Elvis Presley, even though they clearly are not. This is an extreme example, but delusions can come in many forms.

Your child may believe that they are famous or that they can do things not possible for them to do (like jump off a roof without getting hurt). Delusions can be seemingly harmless or quite dangerous, but it can be hard to tell the difference between play and delusions in younger children. Keep in mind that if your child continues to believe something empirically untrue when they are no longer playing, it is likely a delusion rather than their imagination. 


Another trademark sign of psychosis is having hallucinations. Hallucinations can involve any of the five senses. A person may hear voices or see people or things that are not there. They might also feel as though someone is touching them or feel like they are being poked with needles. They might also smell things or taste things that are not there. 

Hallucinations can be small or large. An "imaginary friend" if honestly believed to be real, could be a form of a hallucination. But it can be hard to tell whether your child just has an active imagination or they are having hallucinations. 

What You Can Do

If you think your child may be exhibiting any of these symptoms, even the tough to tell ones like having an imaginary friend, you should contact a child therapist as soon as possible. The therapist will do testing on your child to determine if they have psychosis and/or any other mental health condition. They can then refer you to a psychiatrist if necessary and help your child through counseling services. 

With this knowledge about the signs your child may be suffering from psychosis, you can be sure you do what is best for your child in the event they show any symptoms.