Brief Psychotic Disorder

Brief And Limited Psychosis

Brief psychotic disorder is a mental illness that lasts anywhere from one to thirty days. It is more common in women and usually occurs after someone has experienced a very stressful situation or trauma, such as a natural disaster, assault or the death of a loved one. It is also common postpartum and in geriatric patients due to their fluctuating hormones and mental status, respectively.

The symptoms may include: hallucinations, delusions, confusion, mood changes, disorganized speech and behavior and catatonia. These symptoms may promote violence or suicide, depending on the severity. As previously stated, it can occur in the elderly, but the majority of cases present in the second and third decades of life.

Brief psychotic disorder is not triggered by drugs or alcohol abuse. If drugs or alcohol are involved, the correct diagnosis is substance-induced psychotic disorder. The prognosis of brief psychotic disorder is generally good but there is always the chance of it progressing over one month; the disorder is then changed to schizophreniform. If schizophreniform progresses over six months, the disorder is then changed to schizophrenia.

Treatment may include antipsychotics, antidepressants and psychotherapy. Psychotherapy helps the patient understand the nature of the illness, what may have caused it and how to adjust to it psychologically. Regardless of the symptoms, psychosis is very unpleasant. Imagine being detached from reality, not being able to properly answer questions, hearing voices in your head telling you to harm yourself and no longer taking care of your appearance.

Psychosis presents itself differently in many individuals depending on their personality, past history, current situation and resilience. It is not a uniform presentation in which every person is painted with the same color of symptoms; some presentations are more vibrant than others. But regardless of the symptoms, each individual must be treated with love and given the proper attention and respect; behind each psychotic mask lies a human being who was once a normal child!

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