Early Signs

I was in a very bad place. I wouldn’t leave the house and became very isolated and reclusive. At that time I genuinely believed that my life had been written off, that I had no hope of a future.

What are the early warning signs that psychosis might be developing?

Before psychotic symptoms develop many people will experience subtle changes in their mental health.

We call this period a “Prodrome” (Greek for early symptom) if it develops into psychotic symptoms or an “At Risk Mental State”. It is important to remember that the following signs may not necessarily mean that you will develop psychotic symptoms.

…in fact in most cases they will not.


But they do suggest you should talk to someone about your mental health; you might be under a lot of stress, be depressed or getting anxious about something. Don’t keep your troubles to yourself, go and speak to your family, friends, teachers or GP about how you are feeling.

Some of the most common early warning signs include:

Warning Road Signs
  • changes to sleep
  • changes to appetite
  • being withdrawn
  • feeling low in mood or excitable
  • irritability
  • more emotional
  • increased confusion
  • memory difficulties
  • problems concentrating
  • changes in energy levels


I would have high days where I felt on top of the world and that nothing could hurt or touch me. I felt I could do anything and I had so many things whizzing around my head.

If you have any of the “early warning signs” AND HAVE ALSO experienced for brief periods any of the psychotic symptoms listed on the Types of psychosis page OR have a strong family history of psychosis, then we would encourage you to contact us directly since you may be at greater risk than average of developing a psychotic illness.

You may also find some of our other pages useful:

What is Early Intervention? to learn more about the importance of early intervention.

What is Psychosis? if you want to know more about psychosis.

Types of psychosis for information about different types of psychosis.

Causes to find out more about possible causes.

© 2013 Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Getting help is the right thing to do