About Psychosis Spectrum Disorders

Psychosis spectrum disorders associated with schizophrenia usually affects individuals for the first time in their late teens or early adulthood. Even before the first episode of psychosis (FEP), individuals may show slight changes in their behavior or thought process. This is called the prodromal period and could last days, weeks, months, or even years.

Symptoms of Psychosis Spectrum Disorders

Psychosis spectrum disorders don’t just suddenly start. It usually follows this pattern:

Gradual changes in the way an individual thinks about and understands the world. The patient or their family members may notice:


  • A drop in grades or job performance
  • Trouble thinking clearly or concentrating
  • Suspiciousness or unease around others
  • Lack of self-care or hygiene
  • Spending more time alone than usual
  • Stronger emotions than situations call for
  • No emotions at all

Display of other signs of early psychosis spectrum disorders, including:

  • Hearing, seeing, or tasting things others don’t
  • Hanging on to unusual beliefs or thoughts, no matter what others say
  • Pulling away from family and friends
  • Ceasing to take care of basic needs
  • Being unable to think clearly or pay attention

Psychotic episodes that include:


  • Hallucinations
    • Auditory hallucinations: Hearing voices when no one is around
    • Tactile hallucinations: Strange, unexplainable sensations or feelings
    • Visual hallucinations: Seeing people or things that aren’t there or thinking the shapes of things looks wrong
  • Delusions 
    • Beliefs that aren’t in line with a culture and don’t make sense to others, including: 
      • Outside forces are in control of feelings and actions
      • Small events or comments have huge meaning
      • The belief someone possesses special powers, are on a special mission, or actually are a god