The acute phase is when a person is definitely having a psychotic event, when their brain is causing them to experience an altered perception of reality.
This means that a person has progressed in their condition from the small, subtle changes of the early warning signs to some of the more obvious signs and symptoms of psychosis.
When a break with reality happens, a person’s perception of what is real changes in ways that can be unpredictable and unusual. The change in the perception of reality that happens with psychosis can have an effect on a person’s behaviour, causing them to do things they ordinarily wouldn’t do.
A note about insight:
Insight is a word that is often used to describe the awareness that a person has about a health condition that is affecting them.
With most medical conditions, like a heart condition, or with diabetes, people understand that they have a health problem, and this understanding often compels them to seek treatment and to stick with a treatment routine until they become healthy.
Psychosis is an interesting condition, because it is known for its lack of insight. Some people who are having a psychotic event aren’t aware they have a health problem or don’t believe they have a health problem, even though it has become clear to those around them. A lack of insight can make things difficult when trying to encourage a loved one to get help.
Not all people with psychosis lose insight and it isn’t yet known where a person loses insight in the disease process. Generally, the longer a person has experienced symptoms, the less likely they are to have insight.