Brief Psychotic Disorder: What You Need To Know

February 11, 2020

Brief psychotic disorder is described as an impaired relationship with reality. It is a symptom of severe mental disorders. Adults or teens who are experiencing this disorder may experience either delusions or hallucinations. Hallucinations are tactile experiences that happen when a real stimulus is absent. For instance, an individual having an auditory hallucination may hear their mom shouting at them when their mom isn’t anywhere near. Or on the other hand, somebody having a visual hallucination may see something, like someone in front of them, who is not actually there.

A teenager dealing with brief psychotic disorder may likewise have thoughts that are in contrary to genuine proof. These thoughts are regarded as delusions. A few people with a psychotic disorder may also experience social withdrawal and loss of motivation. These experiences can be terrifying. They may likewise cause individuals who are experiencing brief psychotic disorder to hurt themselves or others. It is critical to seek for professional help immediately if your teen is experiencing any symptom of psychosis.

What Are Hallucinations and Delusions?

Hallucinations and delusions are two different symptoms that are both experienced by people with a psychotic disorder. Hallucinations and delusions appear to be real to the individual who is experiencing them.


A hallucination is a sensory perception when the outside stimuli are absent. That means hearing, feeling, seeing, or smelling something that is not present. An individual who is hallucinating may see things that do not exist or hear people talk when they are alone.


A delusion is an impression or false belief that is solidly held even though it is contradicted by reality and what is normally viewed as true. There are delusions of neurosis, somatic delusions, and grandiose delusions. Individuals who experience a delusion of paranoia may believe that they are being followed when they are not or that secret emails are being sent to them. Somebody with a gaudy delusion will have an overstated feeling of importance. Somatic delusion is when someone thinks that they have a terminal disease; however, in actuality, they are healthy.

Cognitive Experiences

Cognitive experiences are the ones that identify with mental actions. For example, functioning, learning, and remembering.

Some cognitive experiences associated with a psychotic disorder are:

  • memory problems,
  • concentration problems,
  • difficulty making decisions, and
  • Inability to understand new information.

Who Can Get a Psychotic Disorder?

Approximately one percent of the population experiences a psychotic disorder. These conditions are most ordinarily found in individuals in their late teens to mid-thirties and affect men and women equally. In the same way as other mental issues, brief psychotic disorder is mostly genetic. Teenagers who have a relative with this sort of disorder are likely to develop it than those who don’t have a family history of it.

It is additionally believed that this psychotic disorder is related to the hyper-activity of chemicals in the brain that is imperative to normal functioning. Furthermore, people who experienced brain damage during fetal development or childhood are at a greater risk of having this disorder.

Symptoms of Psychosis

The classic symptoms and signs of brief psychotic disorder are:

  • Hallucinations – seeing, hearing, or feeling things that don’t exist
  • Disorganization – in thought, behavior, or speech
  • Delusions – false beliefs, based explicitly on fear or suspicion of things that aren’t real
  • Disordered thinking – jumping between unrelated topics, making strange connections between thoughts
  • Catatonia – unresponsiveness
  • Difficulty concentrating

Contingent upon the cause, psychosis can come on rapidly or slowly. The same is the situation in schizophrenia, though symptoms may have a slow beginning and start with milder psychosis, some individuals may encounter fast progress back to psychosis in the event that they stop taking their medication.

The milder, initial symptoms of psychosis might include:

  1. General anxiety
  2. Feelings of suspicion
  • Depression
  1. Distorted perceptions
  2. Sleep problems
  3. Obsessive thinking

Hallucination can affect any of the senses (sound, sight, smell, touch, and taste) in someone with psychosis, but in around 66% of patients with a brief psychotic disorder, hallucinations are auditory – hearing things and trusting them to be real when they don’t exist.

The following auditory hallucinations are common:

  • Hearing different voices talking, mostly negatively, about the patient
  • A voice repeating what the patient is thinking
  • A voice passing commentary on what the patient is doing

Causes of Brief Psychotic Disorder

The specific cause of brief psychotic disorder is unknown. Every psychotic disorder remains a puzzle, with much known, yet much remains to be discovered. Current hypotheses about psychosis are that they are probably going to have a scope of conceivable fundamental causes. Various causes may operate in various people.

This might be the reason there is a wide variety in the manner that the conditions develop, in their symptoms and their causes. There is little research explicit to brief psychotic disorder as it is less common and less severe than many other other psychotic ailments. The following depicts what is thought about the possible causes of psychosis, but can apply to any of the psychotic ailments:

  • There seems to be a hereditary (inherited) involvement in the cause of the illness. Research is clashing, yet there is a suggestion of a higher rate of mood conditions, for example, a bipolar affective disorder in the families and whanau of individuals who have brief psychotic issue.
  • Various factors related to the person’s birth appear to convey a higher risk of the later development of psychosis. These incorporate such things as infections, birth trauma, and the season of birth.
  • Changes in some of the brain chemical messenger systems happen in individuals with psychosis.
  • Stressful life occasions or conditions frequently trigger scenes of psychosis.

The stress-vulnerability model suggests that the various causes together make an individual increasingly helpless against developing a brief psychotic condition. Stress added to this existing vulnerability acts to trigger scenes of illness. On account of an illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, vulnerability is high, and less stress is needed to tip a person from wellness into unwellness. In any case, with brief psychotic disorder, vulnerability might be lower, so it takes especially stressful events to overwhelm the individual’s capacity to cope and trigger a scene of illness.

As the effect of the stress reduces, the person rapidly comes back to being great once more. Individuals with brief psychotic disorder sometimes think they developed their sickness because of stress and other things that have gone wrong in their lives. Other people with this disorder cannot so easily find things that have gone wrong in their lives.

They may concur with the view that their condition is hereditary or natural in the source. Many individuals with psychological illness believe that it is a combination of these things. Sometimes people believe that their illness is a consequence of their spiritual or moral failure. Remember that it isn’t your fault you’ve experienced brief psychotic disorder.

Families, particularly parents, can worry baselessly that they made their child develop brief psychotic disorder. Sometimes they feel accused by mental health experts which can be upsetting for them. Most families and whanau want the best for their family members. It is significant for them to comprehend what factors have added to their relative’s issue and to have the option to express their feelings about this without feeling blamed or guilty.

Diagnosis of Psychosis

In this section, we will talk about the available methods and tests for diagnosing brief psychotic disorder.

Early Diagnosis

Early diagnosis of psychosis improves long-haul results. This isn’t always accomplished, in any case. The milder types of psychosis that can prompt schizophrenia are left untreated for an average of two years, and even full psychosis can take many years before it gets the attention of therapeutic experts. To enhance the chances of early recognition, guidance for healthcare systems drawn up by professionals recommend that the “probability of a psychotic disorder ought to be painstakingly considered” in a young person who is:

  1. Getting all the more socially withdrawn
  2. Performing worse for a continued period at work or school, or
  3. Becoming more agitated or distressed yet unable to explain why
  4. There’s no biological test for psychosis itself, and if laboratory tests are conducted, it is to preclude other medical issues that may give an alternative explanation.

Questions for Family and Patient

Psychosis is fundamentally diagnosed by clinical assessment and history – the physician examines the patient and gets some information about their experiences, symptoms, thoughts, and daily exercises; they will likewise inquire as to whether there is a family history of mental illness. Other ailments are ruled out as a matter of first importance, particularly delirium (unexpected beginning of a confused state), but epilepsy and various other therapeutic explanations are possible.

Physicians will likewise check for any history of intoxication with drugs, both legal and illicit, and toxins, generally requesting a urine sample to check this. When psychosis is tracked down to a mental cause, there are obviously characterized criteria that must be met before a diagnosis is confirmed. Doctors, for the most part, depend on the American Psychiatric Association (APA’s) publication known as the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) to make psychiatric diagnoses.

Brain scans

Brain scans might be done in the beginning stages of medicinal treatment with the goal that different conditions – mostly treatable and reversible – can be checked out. EEG (electroencephalography) testing records the brain’s electrical activity and may help to rule out head injury, delirium, or epilepsy as potential causes for psychotic symptoms.


When you take your teen or another relative to the specialist with symptoms of brief psychotic disorder, the doctor will need to run a few tests to be sure that there is certainly not a pharmacological or medical cause. For instance, the person in question may verify whether there are any substances in your kid’s circulatory system that could be causing the issue. They may likewise suggest an MRI or other kinds of brain imaging to check for an issue with the brain. When it is determined that the condition is psychiatric, you will get a referral to a psychiatrist or psychologist for treatment.

Most patients with this issue profit from psychotherapy, medication, or a mix of the two. Psychotherapy can enable your teen to figure out how to adapt to the thoughts and feelings that are causing the psychosis, and medication can calm them down or lessen the psychotic thoughts. Medications are only given during the intense period of the disorder, so your teen won’t be taking them longer than one month.

At times, a teenager may need to be hospitalized for a brief timeframe. This is particularly true if the physicians believe that they are at a high risk of suicide or if the medications are not working as expected. Also, in milder cases, simply removing the stressor can be enough to make the symptoms tolerable enough to deal with without extra treatment.

Is It Possible to Prevent Psychosis?

Therapist | Brief Psychotic Disorder | Hillcrest

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for someone who has numerous risk factors for developing brief psychotic disorder but presently can’t seem to have such symptoms, or who has had a scene of psychosis, has been found as efficient at forestalling such symptoms. In people who have had brief psychosis, likewise, furnishing their family with education and support about their cherished one’s condition has been seen as very effective in the prevention of intermittent psychosis symptoms in the person with the ailment.

For women who have developed psychosis in the form of postpartum psychosis previously, preterm delivery of subsequent pregnancy, and avoidance of future pregnancies for extreme episodes have been discovered to help prevent further episodes of the illness.

Caring for a teen with brief psychosis is extremely depleting on you, as a parent. Regardless of whether your teen was hospitalized or gave signs of being suicidal, you’ll spend those weeks worrying about your teen and having to manage their meds, counseling sessions, and different treatments. If you are experiencing difficulty coping, you must get yourself the professional help you need.

At our residential treatment facility, we can help you get through this difficult time. We can also offer a support group for the parents of teens with a brief psychotic disorder. Brief psychotic disorder is a surprising, overwhelming, and stressful diagnosis and experience, however with your help and magnificent healthcare group, your teen will probably be back to their normal self within a matter of weeks.