Psychotic Disorders

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Schizophrenia Slideshow Pictures

Psychotic Disorder Symptoms

Delusions

A delusion is a false personal belief that is not subject to reason or contradictory evidence and is not explained by a person's usual cultural and religious concepts (so that, for example, it is not an article of faith). A delusion may be firmly maintained in the face of incontrovertible evidence that it is false. Delusions are common in psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. Delusions can also be a feature of brain damage or disorders.

Psychotic disorder facts

  • Psychotic disorders include schizophrenia and a number of lesser-known disorders.
  • The number of people who develop a psychotic disorder tends to vary depending on the country, age, and gender of the sufferer, as well as on the specific kind of disorder.
  • There are genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological risk factors for developing a psychotic disorder.
  • Usually with any psychotic disorder, the person's thoughts and behavior have notably deteriorated.
  • When assessing a person suffering from psychotic symptoms, health-care professionals will take a careful history of the symptoms from the person and loved ones as well as conduct a medical evaluation, including necessary laboratory tests and a mental-health assessment.
  • Most effective treatments for psychotic disorders are comprehensive, involving appropriate medication, mental-health education, and psychotherapy for the sufferer of psychosis and his or her loved ones. It will also include the involvement of community support services when needed.
  • Prevention of psychosis primarily involves preventing or decreasing the impact of factors that put the person at risk for developing a psychotic disorder.

What are the different types of psychotic disorders?

Sometimes colloquially referred to as thought disorders, since the new psychiatric diagnostic manual, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) was published in 2013, psychotic disorders have been referred to as schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders. In addition to the more commonly known mental disorders like schizophrenia, other mental disorders in this group include brief psychotic disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, delusional disorder, schizophreniform disorder, schizoaffective disorder, catatonia, substance/medication-induced (for example, alcohol-induced or cannabis-induced) psychotic disorder, psychosis due to another medical condition, other specified schizophrenia spectrum disorder, as well as unspecified schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorder, which was formerly called psychotic disorder, not otherwise specified (NOS).

Besides catatonia, other catatonia-related disorders include catatonic disorder due to another medical condition, as well as unspecified catatonia. Women who recently had a baby (are in the postpartum state) may uncommonly develop postpartum psychosis. Also, mood disorders like major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder can become severe enough to result in psychotic symptoms like hallucinating or having delusions, also called psychotic features.

How common are psychotic disorders?

The percentage of people who suffer from any psychotic symptom at any one time (prevalence) varies greatly from country to country, from as little as 0.66% in Vietnam to 45.84% in Nepal. While the figure of one out of 100 people who qualify for the diagnosis of schizophrenia may sound low, that translates into about 3 million people in the United States alone who have schizophrenia. The first time a person has psychotic symptoms is usually between the ages of 18-24 years; related but less severe (prodromal) symptoms often start during the teenage years. Statistics for postpartum psychosis include that it occurs in one or two out of 1,000 births but increases greatly, up to one in seven mothers, in women who had postpartum psychosis in the past. Men are thought to develop psychotic disorders more often and at younger ages than women.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/19/2016
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