Psychotic disorders are a group of mental illnesses that affects how the brain works. These illnesses could have different symptoms, causes, types, and treatment options, and like mental disorders, they could be various in number.
The human brain is quite complicated and this is why it is difficult to understand it completely. There could be a number of reasons for psychotic disorders but, doctors still do not know exactly what causes them.
However, with early diagnosis, proper intervention, medication, and support, people having these mental illnesses could lead a normal and productive life.
Here, you will find complete information about these psychotic disorders.
What are Psychotic Disorders?
To define psychotic disorders, these are mental illnesses that interfere with the normal working of the brain. They make it hard for the person to think rationally and clearly. They also hinder his ability to make the right decisions, communicate properly, and behave in the right manner.
These disorders affect men and women equally but in some of their kinds, the ratio could vary.
In case of severe symptoms, the person may completely lose touch with the real-life. He is unable to handle the daily and routine tasks. However, even the severe kinds of psychotic illnesses could be treated with proper medication.
Are Psychotic Disorder, Psychosis, and Schizophrenia the Same?
No, all three of these are different from each other. Many people think that since all of these illnesses are related to delusion, all three of them are the same. Psychotic disorders are a group of mental illnesses while psychosis is a symptom.
As a symptom, psychosis could happen as an onset of a psychotic disorder. This disorder could be anything like schizophrenia or any other mental disease.
Schizophrenia is a standalone disease in which the person experiences delusions and hallucinations. These hallucinations could either be visual or auditory and this could be accompanied by antisocial behavior also.
Schizophrenia is one of such diseases that are purely based on the fault of the structure of the brain.
Psychotic Disorders Types - What are the Types of Psychotic Disorders?
‘What are the different types of psychotic disorders?’ There are a number of different kinds of these mental illnesses, some of the most common ones are given below.
Schizophrenia - people suffering from schizophrenia experience extreme delusions and hallucinations that last longer than 6 months. These people show symptoms like changes in behavior.
This affects their performance at work and class and has harmful effects on their personal and professional relationships also.
Schizoaffective Disorder - people having this disorder usually show symptoms of both mood disorder and schizophrenia. The mood disorder could be anything like bipolar disorder and depression.
Schizophreniform Disorder - this is a form of schizophrenia but it lasts for a shorter period of time. Typically, the duration is between 1 and 6 months and the people having this order experience the same symptoms as schizophrenia.
Brief Psychotic Disorder - this is a sudden and short period of time. This could happen due to a stressful situation or event like the death of a loved one. The recovery period is short and the person usually recovers in less than a month’s time.
Delusional Disorder - the individual experiences delusions like a false belief that could be otherwise true. This includes believing that the person is being followed or having a deadly disease. In some incidences, the person may also believe that someone is plotting against him. The session lasts for about a month.
Shared Psychotic Disorder - also known as ‘folie à deux’. In this situation, the person living with the person who has a psychotic condition starts experiencing the same hallucinations and delusions.
This could happen with spouses, siblings, and even with children and parents.
Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder - this kind of disorder could happen as a result of the usage or withdrawal from drugs. These drugs could be anything that causes the symptoms of hallucinations, confused speech, and delusions.
Disorder caused due to a Medical Condition - sometimes the delusions are accused due to another medical condition or illness. This happens especially if the person has experienced a brain injury or brain-related disease.
Paraphrenia - this condition has similar symptoms as schizophrenia and it happens to elderly people.
All of these are types of psychotic disorders. Sometimes, a person has more than a single condition.
Symptoms - What are the Key Symptoms of Psychotic Disorders?
There could be a number of symptoms and signs but hallucinations, disrupted thinking, and delusions are the main symptoms.
Hallucinations - when hallucinating, the sees, hears and experiences things that do not actually exist. For example, a person may hallucinate about seeing or hearing something that is non-existent. He may also have strange sensations and a funny taste in his mouth.
Delusions - delusions are false beliefs that persist even when it is proved to them that what they are thinking is false. For example, a person believes that his wife is having a knife and she is going to kill him. The person will continue with the belief even when it is proved that what he thinks is wrong.
Besides, below are some negative symptoms and warning signs of psychotic disorders.
- Disrupted speech
- Confused and clouded thinking
- Strange and dangerous behavior
- Unusual and unusually slow movements
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Loss of interest in previously liked activities
- Issues in personal and professional life
- Detached behavior with zero emotions
- Mood swings, depression, and mania
- Difficulties in maintaining focus and concentration
- Anxious and agitated behavior
- Change in appetite
- Social anxiety or withdrawal
- Spending extended hours alone
- Sudden and extreme drop in work or academic performance
People do not always have the same or similar symptoms. These could change from time to time. Due to the disruption in the brain, these people often experience depression as a side effect. Since their lives are disturbed due to the condition, many of them are in a constant state of stress.
Causes - What are the Main Causes of Psychotic Disorders?
Unfortunately, there are no known reasons for psychotic disorders. Doctors and researchers believe that there could be a number of reasons and causes that may result in a psychotic disorder.
Some disorders may also run in the family. A person is more at risk if any of the blood relatives are having such a condition.
Besides genetics, outside factors like drug and substance abuse, stress, phobias, and major changes in life. Other people that have schizophrenia could have issues related to some parts of their brain.
Other possible causes are given below.
Development and Activity of the Brain - sometimes the brain is overly activated and the overactive chemicals cause disruptions in the brain. People having schizophrenia, a kind of psychotic disorder, have changes in the structure and development of their brains.
Environmental Stress - this usually happens when a woman is pregnant. The factors affecting the mother also affect the child and lead to childhood schizophrenia. The factors affecting the mother include drug and substance abuse, stress, exposure to harmful chemicals, and poor diet.
Early Onset of Schizophrenia in Kids - besides adults, children could also be inflicted from psychotic disorders. The kids inherit the disorder from their parents. There is a 10 to 15% higher chance of getting the disorder if either of the parents has it.
Trauma - a psychotic disorder could happen as a result of trauma also. This trauma includes the death of a loved one, being in the state of war, or experiencing physical and sexual assault. These incidents could also cause anxiety and panic attacks in the individual, which are some of the symptoms of psychosis.
Medical Condition or Diseases - sometimes another medical condition or illness is the cause of the onset of the psychotic condition. These medical conditions include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, brain tumors, brain injuries, diseases, HIV, and dementia.
Diagnosis and Testing - How to Diagnose a Psychotic Disorder?
There are better chances of recovery if the person seeks medical help during the first outbreak of the symptoms. The doctor may conduct several tests like conducting a physical test, collecting family and previous medical history.
Since a number of factors play a role in causing the condition, doctors need this information for proper and correct diagnosis. Some diseases like epilepsy, infection, and brain tumors could also cause mental disorders. Once these conditions are relieved, the disorder subsides.
However, all of these conditions are ruled out, the diagnosis for the psychotic disorder could be made.
Moreover, if the disorder is caused due to a mental condition then early diagnosis and treatment would have better results. Research shows that people who get well-timed treatment have a better quality of life.
Treatment - What is the Treatment for Psychotic Disorders?
The person has better chances of improvement if he is diagnosed earlier, ideally after the first episode of any mental disease. As per the research, for best results, a treatment approach known as Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) works the best.
For the treatment, a group of professional health care specialists works together with the person to design a customized treatment plan. The plan is based on the future goals of the person and keeps the family members in the loop.
CSC involves the following elements.
- Family support and Appropriate Education
- Peer and Group Support
- Case Management
- Medical Support and Medication
- Support for Education and Job
Psychotherapy and medication help in treating the illness. A number of other kinds of therapies help them in living peacefully while managing the symptoms.
Medication - these are the medicines that the doctor would prescribe to treat the psychotic disorder, also known as ‘antipsychotics’. The medication is not a cure, since the condition could not be cured. It helps the individual in managing the symptoms in a better way.
They help in keeping a check on troublesome symptoms like hallucinations, cloudy thinking, and delusions.
Traditional or ‘older’ medicines include;
- Chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
- Fluphenazine (Prolixin)
- Haloperidol (Haldol)
- Loxapine (Loxitane)
- Perphenazine (Trilafon)
- Thioridazine (Mellaril)
While newer and somewhat ‘atypical’ treatment drugs include;
- Aripiprazole (Abilify)
- Asenapine (Saphris)
- Brexpiprazole (Rexulti)
- Cariprazine (Vraylar)
- Clozapine (Clozaril)
- Iloperidone (Fanapt)
- Lurasidone (Latuda)
- Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
- Paliperidone (Invega)
- Paliperidone palmitate (Invega Sustenna, Invega Trinza)
- Quetiapine (Seroquel)
- Risperidone (Risperdal)
- Ziprasidone (Geodon)
Usually, the doctors prescribe one of the newer medications since they have fewer side effects than the older ones. Some medicines are available in the form of injections. The individual needs to take them only once or twice a month, or every three months.
Psychotherapy - this kind of treatment involves different kinds of counseling techniques and methods. Some of them are given below.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is used to change the way the person thinks. This is the main reason why these individuals have delusions and hallucinations.
- Individual talk therapy helps the patients to open up about their feelings and emotions. This is especially helpful when dealing with a psychotic disorder, which is a result of trauma.
- Psychoanalytic therapy is helpful in treating people who are suffering from psychosis.
- Family and group therapies are also helpful in helping the afflicted individuals in managing the disorder.
- Social rehabilitation is helpful for individuals that have isolated and separated themselves from others because of their symptoms and disorder.
Most of the people having psychotic disorders are treated as outpatients, they do not live in any treatment centers or institutes. However, in case of severe symptoms, the person may need to be hospitalized.
Tips to Improve your Mental Health Naturally
Besides medication, counseling, and therapy, you can also do something for your well-being. We do not say that these tips will prevent or cure psychotic disorders but they can help you with the symptoms.
Following these tips are especially important if you have a family history of psychotic disorder. Here are some natural and everyday tips to improve your mental health conditions.
- Make a sleep schedule and stick to it to get plenty of and proper sleep.
- Eat a well-balanced diet that is rich in all the essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and essential oils.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, and drugs because they could trigger a psychotic episode.
- Get plenty of sunlight to fulfill your need for vitamin D, which is important for a healthy brain and body.
- Try de-stressing activities and exercises like meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises.
- Make a workout routine and try to exercise for at least 20 to 25 minutes daily. This will help in keeping your health and boost good chemicals in your brain.
- Try something that you enjoy doing like painting, sketching, cooking, or going for a walk. This will release happy hormones in your bloodstream and keep stress at bay.
- Find support groups and connect with them. We know that being social is difficult but connecting with others will help you in a lot of ways.
- Helping others is great for your self-esteem. It also helps in staying connected with the community while doing something for their betterment.
- In case you feel the symptoms, it is better to ask for help. Remember, early diagnosis, and treatment is better than waiting for long.
Following all these tips, you will be able to keep yourself healthy, both body and mind. Thye will also help to delay, or at least minimize, the signs of any psychotic disorder.
Besides, you can also get a psychiatric assistance dog (PAD) to help you with your symptoms and everyday routine. These dogs are different from emotional support animals. They are specially trained to assist and help people having psychotic disorders like bipolar disorder, psychosis, and schizophrenia.
Presently, only dogs and miniature horses are the valid options for being the support animals. You can choose from a number of different dog breeds and see which of them works the best for you.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most common psychotic disorder?
Schizophrenia is the most common psychotic disorder. The disorder has several symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, and distorted thinking. The condition may last longer than six months and disturbs the way a person behaves personally and professionally.
What is a psychotic break?
Psychotic break is losing contact with reality. A person is having a psychotic break if he sees, hears, and experiences things that other people could not feel. Hallucinations and delusions are common signs of psychosis.
How to tell if a person is having a psychotic episode?
Here are some signs of the onset of a psychotic episode.
- Mood swings
- Withdrawal from the surrounding and family
- Anxiety and depression
- Lack of focus and concentration
The signs could change with time, which means that you must keep a check on them.
What factors could trigger psychosis?
Some of the factors that could trigger psychosis are mental or psychological condition, medical condition, and drugs, alcohol, and substance abuse.
What could happen if psychosis is left untreated?
Psychosis is a serious mental condition and left untreated, could cause serious damage to the person. Some risks include violence, uncontrolled behavior, and long-lasting damage to himself and, possibly, otters also.
Does a psychotic person know about his condition?
No, for them, what they see and hear is reality. They are unaware that they are having hallucinations and think that what they experience is true and real.
Is psychosis or a psychotic disorder curable?
Unfortunately no, there is no cure for psychosis or any other psychotic disorder. In some cases, the condition could be a result of medication and once the medication stops, the symptoms subside.
In other cases, life-long medication and other physical and mental management tactics work the best.
What happens to the brain during psychosis?
During psychosis, the brain is in a ‘stress overload’ state. Psychosis does not happen overnight and the people experiencing it are often under stress due to multiple reasons and factors.
Can a person be normal after psychosis?
Some people recover quickly while others take some time. Some people may continue having symptoms but they will be less intense and manageable.