Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders, according to the DSM-5, fall under the Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders classification.  Key features that define a psychotic disorder include:

  • Delusions: fixed beliefs that may be plausible but are most unlikely to actually happen. Examples include a belief that one is going to be harmed by another individual or organization (persecutory delusions); a belief that one has exceptional abilities (grandiose delusions), a false belief that someone is in love with her or him (erotomanic delusions); a firm belief that a major catastrophe will happen such as California falling into the ocean (nihilistic delusions), preoccupations about one's health or organ functions (somatic delusions); and bizarre delusion, which is something not plausible nor understandable within one's culture.
  • Hallucinations: perceptions that an individual experiences without any external stimuli that nevertheless appear clear and like a normal perception to the individual, and that are not in the individual’s control.  Auditory hallucinations are an example and can include voices in one’s head.  These voices may be soft or loud, one or many voices, male or female, clear or mumbling, and typically include negative messages to the individual.
  • Disorganized thinking: typically determined by the quality of one's speech such as switching from one topic to another, unrelated or tangential comments, or simply incomprehensible speech, meaning it does not make sense and is sometimes called “word salad.”

Simply put, psychotic disorders are often described as a loss of touch with reality. Periods of psychosis may be so extreme or disruptive that they have a significant negative impact on an individual’s quality of life and can require hospitalization.  Periods of psychosis may also include unusual motor movements, lack of interest in activities, poor personal hygiene, and confusion or bizarre behavior as mentioned. It is important to have a licensed professional diagnose and treat an individual with a psychotic disorder.

Treatment includes medication, psychotherapy or both. Anti-psychotics have proven successful in treating acute situations as well as preventing the occurrence of future psychotic episodes.  For additional information, consult the resources on WebPsychology but as always, if you have concerns, it is always best to consult a medical professional for advice.


The above summary by WebPsychology.