Brief psychosis is typically treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medication. At Promises, our dedicated team of professionals helps clients heal from brief psychosis using both evidenced-based and alternative treatments. In a supportive and safe environment, our clients participate in one-on-one therapy and small group counseling to help them understand, identify and cope with the event or situation that triggered brief psychotic disorder. We treat co-occurring disorders that may accompany brief psychosis like trauma, mental health conditions and substance abuse. With comprehensive treatment, clients learn to manage their condition(s) and return to their lives.
About Brief Psychotic Disorder
Brief psychosis, also called brief psychotic disorder, is a short-term illness with psychotic symptoms. Such symptoms have a sudden onset but last for less than a month, after which the individual usually recovers.
Three basic forms of brief psychosis or brief psychotic disorder include:
Brief psychotic disorder with obvious stressor (also called brief reactive psychosis) – Occurs shortly after and often as a response to a major stress or trauma, such as the death of a loved one, an assault, an accident or a natural disaster. Most brief psychotic disorders occur as the result of a very disturbing event.
Brief psychotic disorder without obvious stressor – No apparent or obvious stress or trauma that triggers the illness.
Brief psychotic disorder with postpartum onset – Occurs in women, usually within four weeks of giving birth.
Symptoms of Brief Psychosis
Brief psychosis or brief reactive psychosis is characterized by the presence of one or more of the following symptoms:
- False beliefs that the person refuses to give up, even in the face of facts to the contrary (delusions)
- Sensory perceptions of things that aren’t there, including hearing voices, seeing things that aren’t there, feeling sensations on the skin although nothing is present or touching the body (hallucinations)
- Disorganized speech, as in frequent loss of train of thought or incoherence
- Memory problems
- Disorganized thinking
- Inability to make decisions
- Unusual behavior and dress
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits, weight or energy level
- Disorganized or catatonic behavior
The duration of brief psychosis is at least one day but less than one month and people usually return to a previous level of functioning within one month. If an individual is still exhibiting symptoms consistent with brief psychosis after a month has passed, a diagnosis of schizophrenia may be considered. Other diagnoses that may be considered include schizoaffective disorder or a mood disorder with psychotic features.
Causes of Brief Psychotic Disorder
While the exact cause of brief psychosis is unknown, there are a couple of theories as to its origin. One theory suggests a genetic link, since the disorder is more common among family members with mood disorders such as bipolar disorder or depression.
Another theory looks at the possibility of poor coping skills as causation. In essence, this is an escape from or defense due to a stressful or frightening situation. The individual experiencing the stress or fright may then be vulnerable to developing brief psychotic disorder.
In most cases, brief psychosis is triggered by a traumatic event or major life stress. It is believed that childbirth can trigger the illness in women.
Brief psychosis generally first occurs in early adulthood (20s and 30s). It is more common among women than men. Individuals who have a personality disorder, such as paranoid personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder, are more prone to developing brief psychotic disorder.
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