Understandably, you’re not interested in medication but you should consider meeting in-person with a therapist. It could assist you in objectively determining what may account for your symptoms. You suspect that you may be experiencing psychosis, but you can’t definitively know that without professional consultation. You should ask an experienced mental health professional who could make that determination and recommend treatment. Their treatment recommendations would likely include counseling or coaching you, on how to improve your sleep.
You mentioned not sleeping well and suspected that it could be contributing to possible psychosis. The importance of sleep cannot be overestimated. You need sleep to live. You cannot function well without sleep. You will feel differently without enough sleep. You can’t think with the same level of clarity and you may be more prone to irritability and mood instability.
Studies have indicated that after 24 hours of sleep deprivation, otherwise psychologically healthy individuals could begin experiencing symptoms of psychosis, similar to what is seen in schizophrenia.
Some researchers believe that there is a definitive correlation between insomnia and psychotic experiences. For instance, a 2018 study published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin, found that when study participants restricted their sleep, they saw increases in paranoia, hallucinations, and cognitive disorganization when compared to those who had standard sleep schedules. The group with less sleep also experienced increases in depression and anxiety and had a higher likelihood of endorsing negative beliefs about themselves and others. Also significantly impaired were their memories. The overall results of the study indicated that insomnia played a causal role in the development of certain psychotic experiences. In other words, insomnia increased the probability of having psychotic like experiences. This study underscores the importance of sleep for mental health stability. Treatment for your sleep problems is especially important given your history and current fears about developing psychosis. Meeting with a mental health professional could help you to determine if your insomnia is the cause of the symptoms but most importantly, to assist you in regulating your sleep.
I hope you will consider consulting a therapist, in person. It does not mean that you have to succumb to a “Russian roulette of meds.” Therapists focus on cognitive and behavioral strategies for improving one’s mood and situation. If a client or patient wanted medication, they would either see a primary care physician or a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who treat psychiatric conditions. They are much more inclined to suggest medication than would a therapist. A therapist may suggest medication, and refer a client or patient to a psychiatrist if necessary, but their focus is typically on non-medication-based treatments.
I hope this answer helps you know how to proceed. Thanks for your question and please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle