When we hear the term ‘mental illness’ or ‘mental disorder’, always comes to mind the concepts of serious diseases such as schizophrenia, is an association that inexorably leads us to always think of the darker side of this reality.
Although this is not always the case, mental disorders, with early detection and depending on the level of severity suffered, can be controlled and the person can live a quiet and as functional life as possible.
However, that dark part of the reality of mental disorders is still very latent and in this case we will focus on what are the psychotic disorders or psychoses as they are also known. So if you want to know more about these psychological affectations, do not miss the following article where we will talk about everything related to psychotic disorders. we will talk about everything related to the types of psychotic disorders that exist, causes and symptoms that manifest in each one. that are manifested in each one.
What are psychotic disorders?
They are defined as severe psychopathologies in which the person has a total disconnection with reality through delusions and hallucinations, which cause clinically significant alterations in the person’s perception and ability to interpret reality. through delusions and hallucinations, which cause clinically significant alterations in the person’s perception and ability to interpret reality.
In the case of delusions, they consist of unrealistic false beliefs about a person, object, fact or thing that exists in the world, whose characteristics or existence are completely altered. While hallucinations are those distorted perceptions generated by one’s own mind, so they do not exist in reality, these can have a visual, auditory, olfactory or kinesthetic origin.
Types of psychotic disorders
These types of disorders are generally characterized by negative symptoms (hallucinations and delusions) and can be classified according to the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) as follows.
1. Delusional disorder
It is one of the most common psychotic disorders, it is known in turn as paranoia and by which, the patient suffers from delusional ideas and thoughts that are distorted and unrealistic to their environment, but is still completely convinced of their veracity, even if they are shown evidence to refute it. Resulting in a complete maladjustment of the person in the society where he/she lives, affecting at the same time the interpersonal interactions and his/her performance in any area of his/her life.
These beliefs have to be triggered by an external stimulus that is processed and perceived in an altered way, in this case, it is the obsessive thought that resides in the mind guiding their life accordingly. They even make decisions and present behaviors depending on their ideas.
There are in turn different types of delusional disorders, depending on the distorted belief that the person has. Such as: persecutory, grandeur, somatic, jealousy, erotomanic. Most often they feel that they are being persecuted, used, exploited, conspired against, or that everyone is talking behind their backs.
Another of the most common psychotic disorders, but in this case the person suffers from both hallucinations and disturbing thoughts that lead them to disconnect from reality in its entirety, they can even become so aggressive that they commit acts of violence to calm their mind. In this sense, they may experience hallucinations of all kinds (visual, kinesthetic, auditory, etc.) of things that are not in their environment, reaching the point of even starting to hallucinate people who do not exist at all.
The symptoms of schizophrenia are of two types: positive and negative.According to them, people may have different types of treatment to cope with their symptoms.
In this sense, we can describe the positive symptoms as striking manifestations that are not common in the rest, such as hallucinations, delusions or disorganized thoughts, but which can be controlled with medication and therefore, the person can have a degree of functional adaptation. .
While the negative symptoms represent an important brain damage, due to neuronal loss, but go unnoticed because they do not manifest themselves, among them we can highlight: apathy, lack of interest, impoverishment of emotional expression, abulia and withdrawal in social relationships. The most serious aspect of these symptoms is that they cannot be treated with medication.
There are several types of schizophrenia, according to their symptoms:
As its name indicates, delusional ideas predominate, but there is also a constant sensation of persecution and manipulation together with hallucinations.
In this case, the person may experience episodes of paralysis and immobilization; it is a mobility disorder.
Also known as disorganized, this disorder is characterized by disorganized thoughts, languages and behaviors, as well as emotional imbalances.
This classification occurs when different symptoms are manifested, but there is no one in particular that is more strongly present than the rest. Therefore, they do not fall into any subtype.
In this schizophrenia the negative symptoms predominate and the positive symptoms do not occur (or occur at a very low level).
3. Schizoaffective Disorder
This is a disorder where some symptoms of schizophrenia are manifested (hallucinations and delusions) but also show significant alterations in mood, which are shown as mania or depression. In this sense, the person may experience fictitious beliefs and hallucinations, together with an unbalanced emotional state, which may be alone with episodes of extreme sadness or in combination with states of abnormal exaltation.
4. Schizophreniform Disorder
This type of disorder is commonly confused with schizophrenia, since they present the same symptoms of criterion A of the latter (hallucinations, disorganized thoughts, catatonia, delusions, negative symptoms, etc.) but they can be distinguished by the time of duration, which is from one to six months, while schizophrenia can last longer.
5. Brief Psychotic Disorder
This is usually a natural response of the body to a traumatic event experienced by the person or if subjected to an overwhelming amount of stress, where the symptoms experienced are identical to schizophrenia. It is distinguished from it because these episodes have a duration of a few days and tend to disappear without any negative consequences for the person, in addition to never experiencing it again.
6. Shared psychotic disorder
Also known as ‘Folie à deux’, this is one of the most unusual psychotic disorders, as well as one of the most striking in psychopathology. It consists in the fact that two people can share the same symptoms of hallucinations and delusions at the same time, usually occurring with people who are related or share close ties and who have gone through some traumatic event or isolation.
7. Substance-induced psychotic disorder
As the name suggests, these are hallucinations or delusions that are the result of the administration of substances to the body, either by drug use, secondary reactions to medications or alcohol abuse. These episodes usually last for a few hours or days and disappear when the effect of the drug is over.
8. Psychotic Disorder due to a medical illness
In this case, psychotic episodes are caused because they are the result of some disease or brain injury that affects the functioning of perception and interpretation of external stimuli. Such is the case of brain tumors.
There is not a cause that originates completely the psychotic disorders.The causes may be organic, hereditary, as a product of diseases and brain lesions or consequences of substance or medication abuse. Which cause a considerable alteration in the brain regions that are in charge of processing the perception of the environment, as well as the synaptic connections of the neurotransmitters, generating distorted beliefs of what happens in reality, as well as of the stimuli that come from it.
The causes can also be differentiated taking into account the diversity of the types of psychotic disorders, i.e. whether delusional ideas or hallucinations prevail, whether other disorders are combined or involved (as in the case of schizoaffective disorder).
The most important thing to take into account in these cases is to identify the symptoms present in the person, to be able to evaluate the level of severity and to know which is the most appropriate treatment for the case, in order to eliminate them completely or reduce their damage. This in turn will define whether the person can continue to function in their environment with treatment or if it is necessary to go to a psychiatric institute so that they can have special care and greater vigilance.
The treatments that are usually recommended for these cases are the following:
Psychiatric antipsychotic medications.which can ameliorate the effects of hallucinations and delusions.
Psychological therapyin which the person learns to control his changing moods, to understand the origin of his false beliefs and recognize them, as well as to identify any hallucinations. So that he/she can have an adequate adaptation to the reality of his/her environment.