Psychotic Disorders 2017-05-29T18:25:28+00:00

Psychotic disorders are severe mental disorders that cause abnormal thinking and perceptions.

People with psychosis lose touch with reality and have a very difficult time differentiating what is real and what is a symptom of their illness. Two of the main symptoms of psychosis are delusions and hallucinations. Delusions are false beliefs, such as thinking that someone is plotting against you or that the TV is sending you secret messages. Hallucinations are false perceptions, such as hearing, seeing, or feeling something that is not there.

Schizophrenia is one type of psychotic disorder. People with bipolar disorder may also have psychotic symptoms and sometimes even people that have major depressive disorder can experience psychosis.   Other problems that can cause psychosis include alcohol and some drugs, brain tumors, brain infections, and stroke.  It is very important if you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of psychosis, to seek help from a medical professional to determine what is causing these symptoms.

Psychosis is most commonly associated with schizophrenia.  Contrary to popular belief, schizophrenia is not a “split personality.”  Psychosis is the active state of experiencing both hallucinations and delusions. It is a person’s inability to differentiate what is real and what is not.

A Delusion is a false thought or belief that is not readily accepted by society as a whole, taking into consideration a person’s religious and cultural beliefs.  Some people who experience delusions may believe that they have special powers, that people are out to get them or that special messages are being transported to them through music or television.  Although a delusion may seem bizarre to others, they are very real to the person experiencing them.

A hallucination is a false physical sensation such as hearing voices or seeing, feeling or smelling things that are not present.  They are perceived as being very real to the person who is experiencing them and can be very frightening.

Symptoms

  • Experiencing Delusions
  • Experiencing Hallucinations
  • Thinking difficulties
  • Difficulties expressing oneself verbally
  • Loss of drive or motivation
  • Social withdrawal
  • Blunted or inappropriate emotions
  • Catatonic or hyperactive behavior

*Mental disorders should only be diagnosed by a trained medical professional.  Symptoms are listed for information only and not for diagnostic purposes.  Diagnoses is complicated and can have many variables.  DO NOT ATTEMPT to diagnose yourself or someone else based on symptoms you see listed herein in yourself or someone else.  If you are concerned and recognize some of the listed symptoms, seek help from a trained professional.

Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia because the person has symptoms of both illnesses.  A person with schizoaffective disorder has symptoms of psychosis and elevated or depressed mood or both but does not meet the criteria for bipolar disorder.

*Mental disorders should only be diagnosed by a trained medical professional.  Symptoms are listed for information only and not for diagnostic purposes.  Diagnoses is complicated and can have many variables.  DO NOT ATTEMPT to diagnose yourself or someone else based on symptoms you see listed herein in yourself or someone else.  If you are concerned and recognize some of the listed symptoms, seek help from a trained professional.

Sometimes depression can be so intense it causes psychotic symptoms.  For example, a person may experience delusions involving feeling very guilty about something that is not their fault, believing that they are severely physically ill or that they are being mistreated or observed.  Some people may also experience hallucinations, most commonly hearing voices.

Mental disorders should only be diagnosed by a trained medical professional.  Symptoms are listed for information only and not for diagnostic purposes.  Diagnoses is complicated and can have many variables.  DO NOT ATTEMPT to diagnose yourself or someone else based on symptoms you see listed herein in yourself or someone else.  If you are concerned and recognize some of the listed symptoms, seek help from a trained professional.

Mental health needs a great deal of attention. It’s the final taboo and it needs to be faced and dealt with.

– Adam Ant

Treatment for Psychotic Disorders

This information is provided for information purposes only and should not be substituted for professional medical advice.  As with any medical illness, you should always seek professional medical advice on how to treat and manage your illness. 

Psychotherapy is widely recommended and used in treating schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.  Psychotherapy is not just talk therapy.  There are many different types of therapy that are useful in treating psychotic disorders and may vary depending on an individual’s underlying illness.   In severe episodes of psychosis, hospitalization may occur to help a person become stabilized and get symptoms under control. Hospitalization may be voluntary or involuntary based on the situation.

A combination of psychotherapy and psychotropic medication is one of the most recommended treatment approaches for psychotic disorders. Antipsychotic medications are often used to treat symptoms illnesses with psychosis. These medications affect neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin.

The aim of treating psychotic disorders with antipsychotics is to control symptoms with the lowest possible dosage to alleviate or minimize symptoms. Sometimes psychiatrists or physicians will try various medications, dosages, and combinations of drugs to achieve the best results for the person being treated. All of us respond differently to medications, so one medication does not fit all.  In certain cases they may prescribe anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants in addition to anti-psychotic medications.