Can someone clarify the difference between multiple psychotic episodes vs just having schizophrenia?

Excuse me for my ignorance or uneducated thoughts here, I am trying to understand and learn. But I was wanting to know if someone could help me understand what the difference is between someone who experiences psychotic episodes throughout their life vs someone who may be schizophrenic and also (obviously) experiences psychosis. From what I understand, perhaps ignorantly, is that for the most part, being schizophrenic is typically normal unless you start to experience the symptoms of psychosis? And what are positive and negative symptoms? Can someone clarify those too please?

I am questioning this to better clarify my own life and experiences with psychosis. Can you experience psychosis and not have schizophrenia?

My previous psychotic episode ended with me being sent to a psychiatric facility because I had not been sleeping or eating for 5 months. I would get, at most, 2-4 hours a night…sometimes… I was hypervigilant, extremely paranoid, depressed, and towards the end there, hallucinating both visually and auditory. Constant state of fear. I can’t say I had any grand delusions, though I was convinced that psychology was a crock and “crazy” people were just special. Messengers of “God.” Witnesses. Whatever that means. They had me on antipsychotics, an antidepressant, and something else to help me sleep I think. All I know is that I felt like a zombie on them. I got out of there and off of all the meds. I haven’t had an episode since, though I am starting to experience symptoms again.

This is not the first episode I have had. And in fact, I grew up seeing/hearing/interacting with what I believed to be spirits and demons. I once had a tactile hallucination of blood falling onto me from above me. It appeared out of thin air and fell onto my hands. I could feel it, it was wet. Smelled like blood. I was around 7 back then. Though even well before then, I remember many experiences like this.

I’m trying to figure out what my triggers are. And I’m also trying to figure out if perhaps what has been developing over the years is in fact schizophrenia or if I just experience psychosis every once is awhile :confused:

I do plan seeing someone soon about my concerns, but I thought I would come on here first to talk with others and get some feedback/education. I hope I have not offended anyone or come off as completely ignorant. I am only trying to learn more about myself and about this stuff.

Thank you so much <3

By the way, I am 25 now, birthday next month so I’ll be 26. I hear age can play a factor in this stuff too. I am also female.

Hey welcome! I have experience multiple psychotic episodes and i´m not diagnosed, but still I am on antipsychotics since 6 years ago.

The positive symptoms “add” (hallucinations, delusions) and the negative symptoms “substract” (difficulty with social situations, apathy, inhability to show emotions…)

There is a third category called cognitive symptoms (anything related to thinking: memory problems, attention problems, etc.)

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Welcome to the forum :sunny:

Medication wise, It’s less about the diagnosis and more about treating symptoms.


Thank you for responding! That is also what I’m trying to stay on top off…my symptoms and knowing and understand what triggers them.

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Thank you for clarifying the positive and negative symptoms! I had no idea there were cognitive symptoms though it totally makes sense. Thank you also for sharing your experience. Is it that you just haven’t seen anyone for a true and thorough diagnosis or just that you really are not a person with schizophrenia?

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I like my doctor, he has prescribed me well. But he hasn´t tell me my diagnosis. I suppose I am sz but I´m not sure.

I want to know what´s the difference aswell…

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Both are included in psychotic disorders in DSM5.


Is there a psychotic disorder called “multiple psychotic episodes”? :thinking:

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I was referring to psychosis and sz.
Never heard of multiple psychosis.
My psychiatrist told me if I get another psychosis in 6 months from my first one without meds I have sz and it did happen after I told him to stop my meds.

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So, to answer OP´s question, if you get multiple psychotic episodes you probably are sz/sza?

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I think the difference is that with sz you get more than one psychosis in 6 months without meds.


I don’t know what psychotic episodes are either. I always thought psychosis was experiencing hallucinations. But mine have been continuous. I guess maybe other people experience things temporarily. I would think you have schizophrenia. Maybe you have temporary episodes.

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I can positively and accurately state that I have experienced psychosis 9 times, though I have only been hospitalized for 1, the one I mentioned above.

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Thank you, Aziz. That does help a lot.

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I am also a mother so I think I keep my mind pretty busy. The symptoms only started after my kiddos had to go back to school so now I am alone at home, job loss from the virus, like many others.

Also, have stopped consuming any alcohol whatsoever so maybe that is also egging on some symptoms. :thinking:

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