Psychotic disorders represent the types of mental illnesses that feature a break with reality. The resulting odd behaviors, perceptions, thoughts, and emotions, such as hearing voices or seeing things that are not there. When a mental health condition has psychosis as a primary symptom, it is then classified as a psychotic disorder. About 3.5% of the population will experience psychosis at some point, according to an article published in JAMA Psychiatry. Although psychotic disorders are among the most complex mental health disorders to treat, with a comprehensive approach to treatment, an individual with a psychotic disorder can learn to manage many of the symptoms.
The cause of psychotic disorders is still mainly unknown, although there are some theories exists to explain the cause. These include neurological malfunctioning, certain viruses, extreme trauma or prolonged excessive stress, certain drugs of abuse, and genetics.
Types of Psychotic Disorders
Within the spectrum of psychotic disorders are several specific types of psychosis. These types include:
Schizophrenia, which may involve hearing or seeing things that are not there, delusional thoughts, erratic behavior, angry outbursts, moodiness.
Schizoaffective disorder, which combines features of schizophrenia with a mood disorder involving depressive or manic episodes.
Schizophreniform disorder is like schizophrenia but is a temporary disorder lasting one-six months in duration, and tends to affect teens and young adults.
Brief psychotic disorder is a short-lived disorder that is sometimes triggered by a traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one or a car accident, that lasts less than one month.
Delusional disorder is characterized by false beliefs that the individual truly believes are true, such as thinking someone is out to murder you or your spouse is having an affair, for example, which lead to impairing behaviors.
Shared psychotic disorder is one that involves two people who both believe in a delusional situation, such as a husband and wife who both believe the same absurd delusion.
Substance induced psychotic disorder is the presence of hallucinations or delusions occurring as a withdrawal symptom for several drugs, including alcohol, LSD, opioids, cocaine, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, and PCP.
Signs of a Psychotic Disorder
While the specific symptoms for a certain type of psychotic disorder will vary, there are some general signs that individuals will experience upon onset of a psychotic disorder. These include:
Persistent feelings of being watched.
Strange or disorganized speech or writing
Seeing or hearing things that are not really there
Avoidance of social situations
Decline in academic or work performance
Unusual body positioning or movement
Suspicious or paranoid behavior
Unusual preoccupation and fears
Irrational or angry behaviors
Inability to concentrate
Loss of interest in appearance and hygiene
Treatment for Psychotic Disorders
In many cases, someone with a psychotic disorder may first need inpatient intervention to become stabilized, referred to as acute stabilization services. During an acute psychotic event the individual will be closely monitored, medications reviewed and adjusted, and therapy initiated. Generally, a residential setting provides a more intensive and tailored treatment approach in a setting that is safe and offers 24-hour support.
Treatment primarily involves psychotherapy and drug therapy. While in a residential treatment the individual will be involved in various types of psychotherapy. The focus for therapy involves helping the individual recognize irrational thoughts and behaviors and to replace those with healthy thought-behavior patterns. Individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy are all provided in a residential program.
Medications, such as anti-psychotic drugs and antidepressants, can help stabilize the most severe symptoms, such as hallucinations, cognitive issues, and delusions. For some individuals with a psychotic disorder, these medications will necessary to help manage daily living and should be taken for a lifetime.
Inpatient and Residential Programs for Stabilization
If you or a loved one needs a higher level of care for a psychotic episode, call Elevation Behavioral Health for guidance and compassion. Our Admissions Team will guide you and help you get the treatment that you need. Call 888-561-0868 for a confidential telephone assessment.