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Brief Psychotic Disorder

What Is Brief Psychotic Disorder?

Brief psychotic disorder is an uncommon short-term psychiatric illness with psychotic symptoms. It comes on suddenly, lasts for less than a month, and usually results in complete recovery.

Brief psychotic disorder is not due to drug use or a general medical condition and generally first appears in early adulthood, usually when a person is in his/her twenties or thirties. People with personality disorders, such as antisocial personality disorder, are more likely to develop brief psychotic disorder than the general population.

The three basic forms of brief psychotic disorder are brief psychotic disorder with an obvious stressor (also known as brief reactive psychosis; brief psychotic disorder without obvious stressor; and brief psychotic disorder with postpartum onset.

  • Brief Psychotic Disorder with Obvious Stressor (Brief Reactive Psychosis) occurs shortly after, and often in response to, a traumatic event in an individual’s life. This can include a loved one dying, an accident, an assault, or a natural disaster.
  • Brief Psychotic Disorder without Obvious Stressor has no apparent stress that triggers the onset of the illness.
  • Brief Psychotic Disorder with Postpartum Onset occurs in women, and usually within four weeks of having a child.

Symptoms of Brief Psychotic Disorder

The symptoms of brief psychotic disorder are similar to those of schizophrenia, except for the fact that they last for a month or less. As with symptoms of any mental condition, the severity of these symptoms is varied from case to case.

Some of the Symptoms of Brief Psychotic Disorder Include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Speech that doesn’t make sense
  • Unusual behavior and/or dress
  • Memory problems
  • Sudden changes in eating or sleeping habits; changes in energy level and/or weight
  • Inability to make decisions

What Causes Brief Psychotic Disorder?

Although the exact causes of this disorder are unknown, there are a few theories that scientists’ debate. Some believe that this is a response to having poor coping mechanisms for life and traumatic events. Others express that there is a possible genetic link; as people who have family members with mood disorders are more likely to be affected.

Treatment of Brief Psychotic Disorder

The treatments used to treat brief psychotic disorder are the ones that are commonplace to treat many mental and mood disorders. They include a varied combination of medications and psychotherapy. Some of the medications that are commonly prescribed are tranquilizers for those who suffer from extreme anxiety, as well as anti-psychotics.

Similar Diagnoses

There are several diagnoses that are similar to brief psychotic disorder and can be considered as an alternative. For instance, mood disorders with psychotic features and schizoaffective disorder are two commonly diagnosed alternatives. If the symptoms of this disorder persist longer than a month, a diagnosis of schizophrenia is often considered given the similarities between the two disorders.

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