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.

Is it possible to treat psychotic disorders without medication?

In spite of successful antipsychotic treatment, many patients with psychosis have difficulty with motivation, activities of daily living, relationships, and communication skills. Also, since an illness like schizophrenia typically begins during years that are critical to education and professional training, these patients often lack social and work skills and experience. In these cases, the psychosocial treatments are all the more important, and many useful treatment approaches have been developed to assist people suffering from a psychotic disorder.

  • Individual psychotherapy: This involves regular sessions between just the patient and a therapist focused on past or current problems, thoughts, feelings, or relationships. Thus, via contact with a trained professional (like a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, or psychoanalyst), people with psychosis become able to understand more about the illness, learn about themselves, and to better handle the problems of their daily lives. They can become better able to differentiate between what is real and what is not and can acquire beneficial problem-solving skills.
  • Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation may include job and vocational counseling, problem solving, social skills training, and education in money management. Thus, patients learn skills required for successful reintegration into their community following discharge from the hospital.
  • Family education: Research has consistently shown that people with a psychotic disorder who have involved families have a better prognosis than those who battle the disease alone. Insofar as possible, all family members should receive family-focused therapy, including emotional support and psychoeducation about psychotic disorders and be involved in the care of their loved one.
  • Self-help groups: Outside support for family members of those with any psychotic disorder is necessary and desirable. The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) is an in-depth resource. This outreach organization shares information on all treatments for psychosis, including home care.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/14/2017

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