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First Episode Psychosis

first episode psychosis

What is First Episode Psychosis (FEP)?

When an individual experiences First Episode Psychosis (FEP), they will likely experience disruptions in their thoughts and have trouble distinguishing between what is real and what is not. They may hallucinate, experience delusions, and have persistent unusual thoughts and emotions. FEP can lead to changes in behavior due to these changes in the brain’s normal processes. 


An individual experiencing FEP should begin treatment as quickly as possible for the best chance of effective treatment. 

Symptoms of FEP

Common symptoms of FEP include:


  • Sensory experiences that aren’t shared by others, such as seeing, hearing, or smelling things that are not present
  • Difficulty understanding what is real and what is not
  • Persistent beliefs, thoughts, or feelings such as intense paranoia
  • Intense emotions or a lack of emotions
  • Trouble focusing
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Lack of self-care such as personal hygiene and cleanliness of the individual’s living space
  • Socially withdrawing, difficulty with social interaction
  • Overall difficulty functioning in day-to-day life

Causes of FEP

There are a variety of possible causes of FEP. They include:


  • Genetic predisposition
  • Traumatizing events
  • Mental health conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder
  • Physical illness or injury, such as a brain tumor, brain injury, or dementia
  • Abusing substances such as psychedelics or marijuana, if the individual is predisposed to experiencing FEP through genetics, illness, injury, or trauma.

Can you prevent FEP?

If an individual is at higher risk of psychosis because of genetics, illness, injury, or trauma, they can take measures that may help prevent FEP:


  • Avoiding drug and alcohol abuse
  • Nutrition and exercise
    • Leafy green vegetables and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids are particularly helpful for brain health
  • Avoiding high levels of stress
  • Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule


Individuals will often display more subtle changes in their thoughts and behavior before a psychotic episode occurs. If the individual is treated when these warning signs occur, a worse episode might be prevented.

How is FEP treated?

FEP is usually treated with antipsychotic medication and therapy. There are different options for medications and the side effects vary, so the patient will need to work with a psychiatrist to ensure that their medication works well for them with minimal side effects.

The standard of care for FEP is called Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC).

What is CSC?

CSC involves family support incorporated into treatment, medication management, psychotherapy, peer support, and support in education and employment after treatment. This treatment takes a holistic approach, ensuring that patients are in control of their mental health, have a support system, and can function in their daily lives. Patients typically experience greatly improved mental health and cognitive function and are able to return to school or work.

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, patients treated with CSC have had better outcomes than general mental health services. 

Using HappyNeuron Pro in treatment

Psychosis can include impairments to cognitive skills such as memory, attention, processing speed, and social cognition. Cognitive skills and mental health are closely intertwined, and a holistic treatment approach should address both of these aspects of brain function.


Due to the improved results revealed from evidence-based studies, HappyNeuron Pro recommends 1 hour a day, 5 days a week, for individuals dealing with psychosis. A total of 50 hours of neuroplasticity-based computerized cognitive training appears sufficient to drive improvements in Verbal Learning, Memory, and Cognitive Processing that endure 6 months beyond the intervention.


Research has shown that exercising cognitive functions affected by psychosis such as working memory, verbal memory, and global cognition can be improved through cognitive training. Through cognitive remediation with HappyNeuron Pro in combination with other elements of CSC treatment, patients may experience improvements in their cognitive functions.

Quick summary

  • First Episode Psychosis (FEP) is a condition in which individuals experience disruptions in their thoughts and have trouble distinguishing between what is real and what is not. They may experience hallucinations, delusions, and unusual thoughts and behaviors.
  • There are many possible symptoms of FEP. If you notice a loved one or yourself experiencing symptoms, getting treatment right away is the best option.
  • Individuals at risk for FEP can take measures that may help to prevent the condition.
  • FEP is typically treated with Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC).
  • Through research, HappyNeuron Pro has been shown to help improve the affected cognitive functions of patients with FEP. 

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