6 Types of Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders are a group of mental health conditions that change your sense of reality. They make it hard to know what’s real and what isn’t. When you have these disorders, you might see and hear things that don’t exist or believe things that aren’t true.

Scientists don’t know exactly what causes psychotic disorders, but they’ve got some theories. Viruses, problems with how certain brain circuits work, extreme stress or trauma, and some forms of drug abuse may play a role in some people. You also may be more likely to get a psychotic disorder if you have a family member who has one.


Schizophrenia

If you have this condition, you might have hallucinations, which means you hear voices or see things that aren’t real. You could also have delusions – strong beliefs in things that aren’t true.

Schizoaffective disorder

This condition mixes symptoms of schizophrenia with a mood disorder – mania or depression. If you have the depressive type, you often feel sad and worthless. If you have the bipolar type, you have periods of mania – racing thoughts and extreme happiness.

Schizophreniform disorder

It has the same symptoms as schizophrenia, but they’re temporary. Hallucinations and delusions last between 1 and 6 months, although sometimes your symptoms can return later. This disorder is much less common than schizophrenia. It most often affects teens and young adults. Schizophreniform disorder can turn into full-blown schizophrenia even after it’s treated.

Brief psychotic disorder

When someone has it, they suddenly get symptoms like hallucinations and delusions. One possible trigger is extreme stress after things like an accident or the death of a loved one. If you’re a woman, it can happen after you give birth. Sometimes there’s no obvious cause. Usually, your symptoms go away on their own within a month. In some people, brief psychotic disorder turns into schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.

Delusional disorder

In this condition, you have a false sense of reality about one or more of your beliefs. For instance, you might think a friend is plotting to kill you, your partner is cheating, or a celebrity is in love with you. These false beliefs start to affect your everyday life. For example, if you think someone is going to harm you, you might be afraid to leave the house.

Shared psychotic disorder

It’s a rare condition where two people in a relationship have the same untrue belief. For example, a mother and son might both think they’re about to be abducted by aliens. The condition is also called folie à deux, which means “madness between two.”

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