A 17-year-old high school student begins to withdraw from family and friends, becomes suspicious, and begins talking to unseen people. A 28-year-old mother begins to have difficulty concentrating, acts bizarrely, and is taken to the emergency room by her family. A 21-year-old college student stops bathing and attending classes, complaining that people are reading her mind and sabotaging her.

These are a few examples of the many ways that a first psychotic episode can begin. Psychotic illness can begin very gradually and slowly build over time, or it can occur suddenly and with little warning. Hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, social withdrawal, as well as disorganized speech and behavior are among the symptoms a person may show when they are psychotic.

For the person and their family, the problems that psychosis causes are difficult to manage at all stages of the illness. These adjustments can be particularly difficult at the very beginning. While the person who is ill is totally changed and may be irritable, withdrawn or unstable, their family and friends ask the frightening questions: “What’s wrong with my daughter?” or “Will my husband ever get well?”

Learn more about first episode psychosis

First episode psychosis can often be a frightening, confusing experience to the individual and his or her family, however there is hope and we can help.

The FEC practices a true recovery model where returning patients to employment or for younger patients, finishing school, is considered the ultimate goal of our treatment. While the treatment goals for many chronic patients may require adjustment on what constitutes recovery, with competent and proactive FEC care, many adolescents and young adults can regain full and productive employment, continue their education, and thus return to a relatively normal life.

Our multi-disciplinary staff provides care of the highest level - we couple individualized therapy sessions with psychiatric monitoring and group therapy sessions, as well as provide education, employment and family support. Patient and family education about the course, treatment, and management of psychotic illness are central to our program and our clinical goals are to clarify diagnosis, minimize symptoms and prevent re-hospitalizations.