Psychotic Disorders

by Shaun Damon

Psychosis or psychotic disorders are anything that affects the mind and causes the person to behave abnormally. Starting from depression to more serious disorders such as schizophrenia, everything comes under the classification of psychotic disorders. There are four main types of psychotic disorders. They are:

  • Delusional disorders
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Postpartum psychosis
  • Shared psychotic disorder

Delusional Disorders

Delusional disorders are those disorders where a person has a problem in differentiating between fantasy and reality. Such persons suffer from delusions, although these may not necessarily be accompanied with hallucinations.

For example, a person may have a delusion that he has been kidnapped by aliens. He or she will be completely normal except during the delusions, when they may even hallucinate sensory stimulation during these periods.

Because the people who suffer from delusional disorders are perfectly normal, it is very difficult to identify the symptoms. For instance, a person who has a delusion that people want to kill him, will stay indoors and never venture outside, but will not display any other symptoms to show that he has a mental illness.

In many cases, treatment is also difficult because even when proof is provided that their delusions are false, such people will not accept it. For example a person who deludes himself that a public figure is having a relationship with them will not even accept a denial from said person.

Some of the kinds of delusional disorders are:

  • Erotomaina: Belief that a public figure has a relationship with them.
  • Grandoise: Belief that they have a special power or that they are a powerful person.
  • Jealousy: Belief that their partner is unfaithful.
  • Persecutory – Belief that they are being threatened or persecuted.
  • Somatic: Belief that they have a serious physical problem.

Schizoaffective Disorder

A schizoaffective disorder is one where a person experiences both mood disorders as well as hallucinations. The difference from delusional disorders is that while people with delusional disorders are perfectly normal at other times, people with schizoaffective disorders will have unpredictable mood swings accompanied by delusions or hallucinations.

People with schizoaffective disorders will display both visual as well as auditory hallucinations, delusions, paranoid thoughts, manic moods, depression, irritability, and basically display behavior at opposing ends of the spectrum.

Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is a very rare illness and affects only about one or two out of a thousand new mothers. It is called postpartum psychosis because the psychosis affects mothers almost immediately after delivery.

They will display delusional symptoms or strange behavior which can range from morbidity to hyperactivity. They may display paranoia and rapid mood swings, show irritation, and sometimes even find it difficult to communicate.

It is a very serious illness because roughly about five per cent of women showing postpartum psychosis either commit infanticide or suicide. However, it is easily treated and should be brought to the notice of a doctor immediately.

 

Shared Psychotic Disorder

A shared psychotic disorder is one where a person shares the psychotic disorder with another person. So for example, if a person believes that aliens are out to kidnap him, this belief may be taken on by a person with a shared psychotic disorder.

This disorder usually affects people who live in isolation or cut off from society. It is also only prevalent with people who share a very strong emotional bond. Usually the person who has this disorder is of a very passive or submissive nature, while the other will be a more dominant personality.

A shared psychotic disorder can be either delusional or schizophrenic depending on the disorder that the other person has. Usually, the symptoms of this disorder go away once such a person is removed from the influence of the other.

References:
  1. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/psychoticdisorders.html
  2. www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/psychotherapies/index.shtml
  3. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/brain-stimulation-therapies/brain-stimulation-therapies.shtml

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