What is Psychosis?

A lot of people are afraid of what they don’t know. Like me for example, I’m terrified of that guy from the band KISS, Gene Simmons. He could be the nicest dude for all I know, but since I don’t, I’m straight up scared.

Psychosis doesn’t have to be that scary either. Check out this video to learn more.

Facts or Myths


Psychosis means you have multiple personalities.

  • Fact
  • Myth

Psychosis has nothing to do with having multiple or split personality. Read more in the symptom section.


Psychosis is a treatable condition.

  • Fact
  • Myth

Although it can be disabling, psychosis is very treatable, especially if caught early.


People with psychosis are dangerous to themselves and others.

  • Fact
  • Myth

People who are being effectively treated for psychosis are not more aggressive or dangerous that anyone else. If someone isn't being treated effectively, there is a chance of unpredictable behaviour. But it's not a huge chance.


Psychosis tends to start in teenage years or early adulthood.

  • Fact
  • Myth

Men tend to be affected earlier than women.


Psychosis only affects certain kinds of people.

  • Fact
  • Myth

Psychosis occurs at an equal rate around the world and affects people from every economic class, race, educational background and culture.


Drugs like marijuana and cocaine can bring on symptoms of psychosis.

  • Fact
  • Myth

In people vulnerable to psychosis certain drugs like marijuana can bring on or worsen symptoms of psychosis.

Could this be Psychosis?

Don’t wait

Get help as soon as possible.

Ask about where to go for assistance.

Check your campus resources, such as Counselling or Student Health Services.

Check for specialized

Early Psychosis Programs

that treats young people with psychosis, and accepts self-referrals.

it alone
Tell someone you trust:

a friend, family member, teacher, counsellor, or doctor.

If you are worried that you

can’t gethelp quicklyenough:

Mental Health Crisis Team
(24/7 for all Nova Scotians)


The coolest thing about people is that we’re all different. There’s no one like you and there’s no one like me. And, regardless of illness, the same thing goes for treatment programs. What works for me may not work for you. Or maybe it could. Trippy, huh?

Watch this video to hear about how treatments like medication, education, therapy and peer support has helped some people.

You want another PDF? Well, you asked for it. SO HERE YOU GO.


Staying Healthy

There are lots of ways to take care of your physical and mental health. Check them out by clicking the button!

Mmm…food. I know junk food is delicious, but eating healthy gives you better energy, mood, memory and concentration. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight and stabilizes your appetite.

Got a sweet tooth? Be careful with that. Excess sugar is linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Keep an eye out for added sugar in sweetened yogurts, granola bars, and fat-free salad dressings and avoid products with high fructose corn syrup.

Thirsty? Drink Water! It’s the best way to stay hydrated. If you’re a guy, you need 12 cups of fluid a day and if you’re a girl, you need 9. Try to keep fruit juice down to just once a day.

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” There‘s some truth to that! Eating 8 or more servings of fruits and veggies every day can help to build strong tissues, slow down the aging process, and protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease. Both fresh and frozen veggies will do the trick.

Gotta have your coffee? Hey, I can relate. But keep it to one cup in the morning. And if you absolutely have to, no more than one in the afternoon - the earlier the better. Caffeine increases anxiety and makes insomnia worse, especially if you drink it after 3pm.

Want more tips on healthy eating? Check out Canada’s Food Guide, Meal Planning, and Eating Healthy on a Budget.

We all know exercise is good for us, but did you know how good?! It improves energy, mood, memory and concentration, reduces diabetes, obesity, heart disease and hypertension, cancer risk, improves immunity and slows the aging process. Make sure to get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, at least 10 minutes at a time.

Exercise can be fun! If you’re just starting out, pick an activity you enjoy. Start slow, with 10-15 minutes a day then add 5 minutes each week until you’re doing 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise at least 5 days per week. (And always consult a doctor first if you have any serious health issues.)

Let’s streeeeetch it out. Gentle stretching for at least 10 minutes 2 days a week maintains flexibility and can decrease pain in muscles and joints. Try a stretching or yoga class to learn more.

Want in on a calorie-burning secret?! Here you go: High-intensity interval training. Try running (or biking, swimming, rowing, skipping…) as fast as you can for 1 minute, then walk for 2 minutes. Repeat that interval five times for 15 minutes. Exercising this way increases your metabolism and burns more calories than regular cardio.

Want more tips on physical activity? Check out Getting Started, Exercise Demos, and Information from Experts.

Stress is a real pain! But did you know reducing stress can create an awesome domino effect on your body? When you do, you also reduce muscle tension, chronic pain and blood pressure and improve immune functioning and digestion. Some people even experience weight loss, since the stress hormone called cortisol promotes weight gain.

Your mind and spirit can benefit from stress reduction, too. It improves depression, anxiety and insomnia and reduces anger and frustration. Your memory, concentration, and creativity will thank you!

Stress reduction? Sign me up! There’s a method for everyone, whether it’s engaging your body through running, yoga or Tai Chi; engaging your mind through meditation, guided imagery or journaling; or simply laughing with friends, being in nature or sipping lemon balm tea. Find out what works for you. Namaste, guys.

Want to learn more about stress reduction practices? Check out Guided Imagery Audiofiles, Yoga for Stress Relief, Office Yoga, and Walking/Hiking in HRM.

Some people get together with friends to drink or smoke some weed. However, for people who are vulnerable to mental illness, marijuana and alcohol can initiate and worsen symptoms of anxiety, depression, and psychosis. Find other ways to have fun with your friends.

Talk about keepin’ it in the family. If you have a family history of psychosis, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, you should avoid marijuana to lower your risk of developing psychosis.

Using prescription medicine you don’t need is never a good idea. Drugs like Dexedrine or Ritalin (used to treat ADHD) are often used by students to help them study. Side effects of this can be addiction, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, and anxiety and withdrawal from these drugs can cause suicidal thoughts, irritability, and low mood. Any stimulant you don’t need, whether prescription or street drugs like cocaine, MDMA and LSD can worsen the symptoms of psychosis. Just don’t do it.

Want more information about the effects of drugs and alcohol? Check out MindCheck, Addictions Program, Cannabis&Psychosis, and Xperiment.


Finding Help

If you or a friend are having a psychotic experience, it can be super scary. But there are tons of ways to get help, and they’re not scary at all.

If you are in university, visit your campus health or counselling services. That’s what they’re there for! Don’t know where to find them? Visit your school’s website or search the links below.

If you live in Halifax Regional Municipality, you can also call us, the Nova Scotia Early Psychosis Program! NSEPP offers help to youth and young adults (age 12-35) who are experiencing symptoms of psychosis.

Our team of psychiatrists, psychologists, recreation and occupational therapists, nurses and researchers work closely with patients, families, and loved ones to develop a treatment program that the individual needs and wants.

Absolutely anyone can refer you - a friend, family member, campus counsellor or doctor can call. If you’re over 18, call us at 902.473.2976, and if you’re under 18, the number for you is 902.464.4110.

If either of those two options don’t work for you, you can always call the Mental Health Crisis Team, 24/7 for all Nova Scotians, toll free at 1.888.429.8167 or if it’s an emergency call 911 or visit your local emergency room.