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What is the treatment for brief psychotic disorder?

Given the brief duration of brief psychotic disorder, medications tend to be an important part of addressing many of its symptoms. The first line of treatment inclues atypical antipsychotics, for example:

  • risperidone (Risperdal),
  • olanzapine (Zyprexa),
  • quetiapine (Seroquel),
  • ziprasidone (Geodon),
  • aripiprazole (Abilify),
  • paliperidone (Invega),
  • asenapine (Saphris),
  • iloperidone (Fanapt),
  • urasidone (Latuda), and
  • clozapine (Clozaril).

The latter is rarely indicated specifically for the treatment of the brief psychotic disorder. This group of medications might cause weight gain, drowsiness, and changes ion blood sugar and cholesterol.

The first generation, or typical, antipsychotic medication also used for the treatment of schizophrenia, and includes medications like:

  • chlorpromazine (Thorazine),
  • haloperidol (Haldol),
  • fluphenazine (Prolixin),
  • thiothixene (Navane),
  • trifluoperazine (Stelazine),
  • perphenazine (Trilafon), and
  • thioridazine (Mellaril).

These are now known as "neuroleptics" because, while they tend to be effective in treating positive symptoms of psychosis (for example, paranoia or other delusions, hallucinations), many of the side effects they can cause affect the neurologic (nervous) system. Examples of such side effects are muscle stiffness or rigidity, jitteriness, tremors, and muscle twitches. These older medications are thought to be not as effective against so-called negative symptoms like catatonia.

Since people with brief psychotic disorder are at increased risk of also having depression, medications that address that symptom can be an important part of treatment. These include serotonergic medications like:

  • fluoxetine (Prozac),
  • sertraline (Zoloft),
  • paroxetine (Paxil),
  • citalopram (Celexa), and
  • escitalopram (Lexapro)

They are often prescribed because of their effectiveness and infrequent occurrence of side effects. Other antidepressant medications used to treat the depression that can be associated with brief psychotic disorder include:

  • venlafaxine (Effexor),
  • duloxetine (Cymbalta),
  • desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), and
  • bupropion (Wellbutrin).

Cognitive behavioral psychotherapy (CBT) has been found to be helpful in helping the brief psychotic disorder sufferer manage some of the symptoms of this illness. CBT is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on helping the person understand and ultimately better manage how their thoughts and behaviors affect each other.

Return to Brief Psychotic Disorder

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