Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders are a group of mental disorders which cause one to lose touch with reality. These disorders cause psychotic episodes that cause hallucinations and delusions which affect one's ability to think clearly, make good judgments, respond emotionally, communicate effectively, understand reality, and behave appropriately.
The different types of psychotic disorders include:

  • Schizophreniform Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Brief Psychotic Disorder
  • Delusional Disorder
  • Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder
  • Psychotic Disorder Due to a Medical Condition
  • Paraphrenia

What are the related symptoms?

The main symptoms of a psychotic disorder are hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations are sensations like seeing, hearing, or feeling things that don't exist, Delusions on the other hand, are false beliefs that even when proven false, is still very much still believed to be real.
Other symptoms of psychotic disorders include:

  • Disorganised or incoherent speech
  • Confused thinking
  • Odd and even dangerous behaviour
  • Slowed or unusual movements
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Problems at school or work and with relationships
  • Cold, detached manner and the inability to express emotion
  • Mood swings or other mood symptoms, such as depression or mania

While these symptoms are common amongst the range of psychotic disorders, not everyone with a psychotic disorder will experience the same symptoms, and they may change over time in the same person.

What can cause a psychotic disorder to develop?

These conditions usually first appear when a person is in his or her late teens, 20s, or 30s. In most cases, psychotic disorders are hereditary or due to chemical imbalances in the brain. People who experienced a brain injury as a child or baby are more at risk of developing a psychotic disorder. It is also suspected that stress, drug abuse, and major life changes can be contributing factors.

While the symptoms may seem very odd, they feel very real to those suffering. For those suffering, these disorders can cause serious mood swings, odd and dangerous behaviour that can cause lasting consequences for their future. Even though many may fear the diagnosis of a psychotic disorder, it is essential that those who feel they - or a loved one – are exhibiting these symptoms or may have a history of psychotic disorder in the family, seek help from a psychiatrist.

What are the possible treatment options?

Diagnosis of a psychotic disorder can only be made by a mental health professional. Dr Chawane may gather the necessary medical history if she feels that her patient may be suffering from one of these disorders. Once she is sure of the specific diagnosis, she may begin to plan the necessary treatment which will consist of a combination of medication and therapy.

Antipsychotic medications may help alleviate the symptoms of the specific disorder while other mood imbalances can be treated with antidepressant medication. Finding the right dosage and balance of medications may take some time, but in the meanwhile, your psychiatrist may help you adjust. Besides medication, therapy will be focused on helping the patient identify and recognise patterns of behaviour and thoughts that may mean that their disorder is resurfacing or getting more uncontrollable. In addition, there is a range of support groups for people suffering from the same diagnosis. With Dr Chawane's multidisciplinary team that includes a clinical and counselling psychologist, occupational therapist and social workers – she is fully equipped with various specialists to ensure your quality of life and comprehensive treatment.