Schizophrenia And Other Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders are a group of serious illnesses that affect the mind. They make it hard for someone to think clearly, make good judgments, respond emotionally, communicate effectively, understand reality, and behave appropriately.

When symptoms are severe, people with psychotic disorders have trouble staying in touch with reality and often are unable to handle daily life. But even severe psychotic disorders usually can be treated.

Types

There are different types of psychotic disorders, including:

Schizophrenia: People with this illness have changes in behavior and other symptoms — such as delusions and hallucinations — that last longer than 6 months. It usually affects them at work or school, as well as their relationships.

Schizoaffective disorder: People have symptoms of both schizophrenia and a mood disorder, such as depression or bipolar disorder.

Schizophreniform disorder: This includes symptoms of schizophrenia, but the symptoms last for a shorter time: between 1 and 6 months.

Brief psychotic disorder: People with this illness have a sudden, short period of psychotic behavior, often in response to a very stressful event, such as a death in the family. Recovery is often quick — usually less than a month.

Delusional disorder : The key symptom is having a delusion (a false, fixed belief) involving a real-life situation that could be true but isn’t, such as being followed, being plotted against, or having a disease. The delusion lasts for at least 1 month.

Shared psychotic disorder (also called folie à deux): This illness happens when one person in a relationship has a delusion and the other person in the relationship adopts it, too.

Substance-induced psychotic disorder: This condition is caused by the use of or withdrawal from drugs, such as hallucinogens and crack cocaine, that cause hallucinations, delusions, or confused speech.

Psychotic disorder due to another medical condition: Hallucinations, delusions, or other symptoms may happen because of another illness that affects brain function, such as a head injury or brain tumor.

Paraphrenia: This condition has symptoms similar to schizophrenia. It starts late in life, when people are elderly.