image source indiatimes.com
Welcome back to the third instalment in this series about mental health disorders and their types. The last time we met we talked about the second type of mental disorders on our list - The Anxiety Disorders. In this article, we shall learn in depth about the next type - The Psychotic Disorders. The topic sounds really interesting and is often romanticised in the world of fiction. However, Psychotic Disorders are still disorders and are perhaps one of the most dangerous ones too. A psychotic disorder is an illness that directly has an impact on the human brain and interferes with the thinking and communication of a person.
Psychotic disorders affects a person’s ability to make good decisions and judgements,give an emotional reaction, communicate effectively, stay in touch with reality and behave appropriately. Some of the most common symptoms are being delusional and hallucinating. Delusions are false beliefs, that a person considered as true. Hallucinations are perceptions of things that don't really exist, like when you start seeing, hearing or feeling things that are not even present. Psychosis or Psychotic disorder can be caused by some drugs, brain damage, brain tumour, brain infections and strokes. In layman's language, psychosis is characteristically a type of disease that causes disruptions in the thought process of those affected, making it extremely hard for them to fully understand what's real and what's not. They have extremely weird, persistent thoughts and behaviour.
Let us now discuss the different types of psychotic disorders :
- Schizophrenia - The most common and recognised type of psychotic disorder is schizophrenia where people start seeing, smelling tasting things that are not real or present in real time. Schizophrenia symptoms are also qualified into three types -
- Psychotic / Positive Symptoms - where people start sending things, like danger or someone plotting against them when in reality, nothing is going wrong or in that direction. They're always very suspicious and often have audio visual hallucinations that are almost always negative and frightening for them.
- Negative Symptoms - These are when people affected stop having emotions and energy. They start isolating themselves from others and have trouble expressing their emotions and feelings. They cannot relate to other people and therefore start losing their social life. They start losing interest in daily life activities and often question themselves about the point of living, doing basic things, going out, etc. Even simple tasks like taking a bath become hard for them and they need to be reminded to do these daily activities. They kind of give up on themselves, and let themselves go, start ignoring their self care even to an extent where they stop caring about hygiene. Most of these symptoms are also very similar to those of clinical depression or major depressive disorders.
- Disorganised Symptoms - These symptoms are very similar to that of ADHD and autism. People might continue to move in a rhythmic pattern for a very long time or not move at all. They might even stop moving abruptly. They have trouble speaking clearly and mix up words and sentences quite often.
- Schizoaffective Disorder - People affected with the schizoaffective disorder have the symptoms of both schizophrenia and mood disorders. In simple words, one experiences hallucinations and is delusional while also experiencing depression and mania. The basic difference between Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective disorder is that in schizoaffective disorder, the presence of mood disorder symptoms is higher and more prominent. In case of schizophrenia, the occurance of delusions and hallucinations is far more often and is the main symptom and event of the disease, while in case of schizoaffective disorder, the main role is played by mood disorders.
- Schizophreniform disorder - Exactly like schizophrenia, this type makes a person lose their touch with reality, it makes them delusional and also makes them hallucinate a lot. The only difference between schizophrenia and Schizophreniform Disorder is the mere fact that schizophrenia is chronic, might even last a lifetime while Schizophreniform lasts for a limited period of time only, the average being 6-12 months.
- Brief Psychotic Disorders - A lot of times, people develop psychosis as a response to trauma or stress. It is like a reaction to an event that disturbed them very intensely, causing them to develop this part time psychotic disorder, having the same symptoms as schizophrenia and lasting for a short period of time. Usually, this lasts upto 1-2 months in people. The symptoms include hallucinations and delusions as in the case of every other type of psychosis.
- Delusional Disorder - In this disorder, patients start believing in false things that are very realistic, even if it is not real. For example, having the belief that one is affected by a particular disease because of a few common symptoms. Having occasional doubts about having a disease doesn't not fall under this category, but obsessively believing that you're affected by it is where the concern starts.
- Psychosis caused due to substance abuse - Now this is a whole different topic. We might need a new series to fully understand substance abuse and its consequences but one of the most known effects of substance and drug abuse is that of addiction. Addiction is the dire need to do something that your body has become habitual to. It could be of anything, people these days are addicted to technology for example. However, drugs and alcohol are the big sharks in the world of addiction and abuse. When your body starts accepting drugs, the drugs slowly get you addicted to them and then leaving becomes an issue because even attempting to leave drugs after getting addicted will lead to withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms have a wide range of bandwidth. They can be as simple as sweating and having a headache, but they can also be as bad as having scary hallucinations, being afraid at all times. The thing about drugs is that your body, once addicted, needs it at any cost and so it will do anything to make you consume your drugs, no matter how hard it is on you. Therefore, every heading under any type of physical or mental disorder will always, always have a separate area strictly for the role of drugs and alcohol abuse, and the case of psychotic disorders is no different.
- Psychotic disorders due to a medical condition - A lot of times, people may face the symptoms of schizophrenia because of brain damage or brain tumour. Therefore, psychotic disorders can also be a result of some physical disorder as well.
Well, the psychotic disorders are indeed very scary, the bad part is that almost one in every hundred individuals are affected by one of the psychotic disorders. That means one percent of the entire population is actually suffering from Psychosis and that is really terrifying to think about. The good part is - with the advancement of medical sciences and the continuous strive towards finding the cures of all these scary diseases, doctors now can treat all types of psychosis and people can get out of their sufferings. In most cases the disease gets completely cured, while in other cases the patient might need to continue to take the prescribed antipsychotics to stay and feel safe.
That is just about the information that we have time for today. We will be back to discuss with you the next two categories of mental disorders - The Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.