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Brief Psychotic Disorder

What is Brief Psychotic Disorder?

Individuals who are experiencing psychotic symptoms for a period of time (from 1 day to a month, but less than 1 month) are diagnosed with Brief Psychotic Disorder. When experiencing though, it is important to note that not just because they are brief episodes does that mean that they are not severe. In fact, they can be as severe that the person is at an increased risk of engaging in violent behaviors or suicide. In addition, it tends to happen for the first time during an individual’s 20s or 30s and women are at higher risk of developing such disorder. However, it is important to note that there are 3 basic forms of Brief Psychotic Disorders:

  • Brief Psychotic Disorder with obvious stressor
    • Tends to happen after a trauma or a major stress experience (i.e. death of a loved one, assault, or accident)
  • Brief Psychotic Disorder without obvious stressor
    • There appears to be no trauma or major stress that is causing it
  • Brief Psychotic Disorder with Postpartum Onset
    • Such form only tends to happen to women and usually within 4 weeks of giving birth

It is also important to note that although such episodes may only happen once, and individuals usually don’t experience it ever again, it can also be the first sign of a chronic mental health condition such as Schizophrenia.

What are the symptoms of Brief Psychotic Disorder?

  • Hallucinations
    • Individuals hears noises, sees things that are not there, and may even feel sensations in their body even if nobody is not touching them
  • Delusions
    • An individual refuses to give up a belief even if they know it is not true
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Their language does not make any sense
  • An individual engages in unusual behavior or dresses oddly
  • An individual tends to have problems with their memory (i.e. cannot remember recent events)
  • An individual feels disoriented or confused
  • An individual may experience changes in their sleeping habits, their weight, or their energy levels
  • An individual cannot or has a hard time making decisions

What causes Brief Psychotic Disorder?

Although the cause is not known, experts strongly belief that the development of such disorder is linked to genetics. Having that said, individuals who have a family history of having psychotic or mood disorders (i.e. depression or bipolar disorders) are at a higher risk of developing Brief Psychotic Disorder. Also, if individual lacks skills that will help them cope with a trigger or stressful and/or frightening experience, the chances of them developing such disorder is also higher.

How is Brief Psychotic Disorder Treated?

One or a combination of the following are often used to treat such disorder:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication
    • May be prescribed to help alleviate the symptoms (they are often antipsychotics)
  • Hospitalization
    • If symptoms are severe and if an individual shows signs that they may hurt themselves or others

What can I do to cope with Brief Psychotic Disorders?

  • Educate yourself & loved ones on the disorders
  • Know your triggers
  • Redirect your attention
  • Seek a therapist
    • Attend your sessions
    • Take the prescribed medications