Psychotic Disorders are a category of mental illnesses that include psychosis as a main symptom, leading to distorted and false senses of reality. The two major psychotic disorders include schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, but other mental illnesses can cause psychosis and hence fall under the umbrella of a psychotic disorder.
Roughly three percent of people in the United States will experience some form of psychosis at some point in their lives. And, it is often something that is not diagnosed until a person reaches their late teens or early twenties.
At SoCal Mental Health, we treat psychotic disorders at our Orange County behavioral health center with proper medication and psychotherapy. Read more to learn and find out more about our mental health treatment services offered at our Fullerton and Mission Viejo facilities.
Psychosis as a Symptom
Many people think of psychosis as a complete break from reality. While there is some truth here, it is not entirely the case.
Psychosis makes it hard for people who experience it to recognize what is real and what is not. Some find this experience confusing, while others may find it frightening.
Psychosis is a symptom that can affect sensory perceptions as well as thoughts and emotions. We can further categorize this range of symptoms into two categories: hallucinations and delusions.
Hallucinations are when one hears, sees, or feels things that truly are not there. The hallucinations might manifest themselves as voices, strange physical sensations, or visual distortions of reality.
Delusions can be an exaggerated sense of reality. They may be beliefs that seem particularly irrational to others. Examples of this could be extreme confidence or a false sense of one’s capabilities — such as god complex. Or, a person may put significantly more meaning behind something that is actually trivial. Or, a person may have a sense of paranoia as if external forces are set against them, or controlling their thoughts and behaviors.
Other symptoms that stem from the above categories can include:
- Cognitive and concentration issues
- Anxiety and agitation
- Changes in appetite
- Holding strong beliefs that aren’t true
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Neglected cleanliness and personal hygiene
These symptoms of psychosis are not experienced the same by any one individual, and they may be a result of different types of psychotic disorders.
Types of Psychotic Disorders
Different conditions may be associated with psychosis, and we have now identified a number of mental health disorders that can be categorized as a psychotic disorder.
Psychotic disorders include:
- Schizophrenia — is perhaps the most well-known and common psychotic disorder. It usually has a genetic component and presents itself in the late teen or early twenties years. It is marked by hallucinations as well as delusions.
- Schizoaffective Disorder — is a condition where a person experiences psychosis and mood disorder symptoms. It can also have a genetic component and can be caused by severe substance use disorders. Schizoaffective disorder shows signs of depression, bipolar disorder, hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions.
- Bipolar Disorder — is not generally considered a psychotic disorder. However, a severe manic episode can be accompanied by bipolar psychosis. This is sometimes referred to as bipolar with psychotic features and is not common.
- Catatonia — which was once considered a subtype of schizophrenia, is a psychomotor syndrome. This condition causes impaired speech and motor skills and can cause psychosis as well.
- Substance use disorder — can cause psychosis and other co-occurring conditions. These co-occurring conditions are sometimes debated as a chicken-and-egg circumstance. Substance abuse can exasperate conditions and it can also be the cause of their onset. For example, schizophrenia can manifest itself post marijuana and hallucinogen abuse.
- Other disorders — may also have signs of psychosis, stemming from other mental health conditions. However, psychotic episodes can bring about unique issues that may be separated from a condition’s primary symptoms.
These disorders don’t have any one particular cause. But, all of the above seem to have ties to genetic makeup and are passed down from ancestors. Other research suggests that abnormal levels of neurotransmitters — such as serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate — have been linked to these conditions.
Treating Psychotic Disorders
Psychotic disorders can effectively be treated through a combination of medications and psychotherapy. Talking with one of our Orange County psychiatrists can help you diagnose your condition and develop an effective treatment plan.
Medications — may be first-line treatments for psychotic-related disorders. These medications often aim at balancing neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine to prevent delusions and hallucinations.
Depending on the psychotic disorder diagnosed, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, or antidepressants may be recommended by the treating doctor.
Psychotherapy — is recommended for nearly all mental illnesses, and psychotic disorders are no exception. Talk therapy can help you work through problematic feelings, emotions, and behavioral patterns.
Our Orange County therapists offer therapy in both one-on-one and group settings. These therapeutic programs can improve the social awareness and self-awareness needed to reduce symptoms of psychosis.
How We Can Help
We take pride in the ideal environment that we have created at SoCal Mental Health to provide treatment for those suffering from schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders. With our specialized facilities and dedicated professionals in Orange County, CA, we are dedicated to empowering people to change their lives and overcome their symptoms. Experienced psychiatrists work with skilled therapy teams to develop treatment plans, often combining multiple features and modes of care.
Treatment is provided in a residential living setting where clients have their needs met so they can spend time healing and practicing new skills for coping with stressors and daily life. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), as well as individual, group, and family therapy form a wide range of available care options.
As part of SoCal Mental Health’s aftercare services, we help the client learn about what is available in the community and assist in establishing rehabilitation goals. Clients can receive the care they need around the clock, seven days a week.