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Non-Communicable Diseases, Emergency Care and Mental Health Module: 13. Psychoses

Study Session 13  Psychoses

Introduction

Global research and studies in Ethiopia show that psychoses affect between 1 and 2% of the population.

Psychosis is pronounced 'sye-koh-sis' and is the singular of psychoses ('sye-koh-seez').

Psychoses are among the most serious mental health problems that you will have to deal with in your community. They are serious for patients because they can result in serious functional and social impairments and may leave them coping with severe long-term disabilities. They are serious for the families of patients because of the negative impact on family stability and finances, often resulting in conflict and poverty for other family members. They are serious for Ethiopia because the negative impact of psychotic illnesses goes far beyond the patient and their family, causing reductions in productivity that damage the economy.

Of all the mental health problems discussed in this Module, psychotic illnesses pose the most difficulty for risk management, i.e. the identification, assessment and prioritisation of risks, and interventions to minimise, monitor and control the probability and/or impact of these risks. This usually involves efforts to reduce the ‘risk factors’ and support the ‘protective factors’ associated with a patient and their condition. In this study session you will learn about how best to manage the risks posed by psychotic illnesses, including the risks to patients and their families from traditional ideas about mental illness which can lead to cruelty and abuse. We discuss how best to challenge these negative beliefs and how to reduce the risk that people with psychotic illnesses may pose to others.

Your skills as a trained health worker are very important in achieving prompt detection and response to the early signs of psychotic illness in your community. Following referral, your role in monitoring the patient’s recovery when they return home, and in educating them, their family and their community about psychotic illnesses, is central to the task of managing the risks posed by these serious conditions. In this study session, alongside your practical training, you will learn how to identify the symptoms of psychotic illness, handle urgent problems, and help clients and their families further.

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