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What is a psychotic disorder?

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Quick Answer

A psychotic disorder is a mental condition that causes individuals to have misconstrued perceptions and abnormal thought processes, according to MedlinePlus. People with psychotic disorders often lose touch with reality and may experience hallucinations and delusions.

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A variety of psychotic disorders exist, such as schizophrenia, paraphrenia, substance-induced psychotic disorder and delusional disorder, explains WebMD. People with schizophrenia suffer from hallucinations and delusions for periods longer than six months and commonly experience a decline in their social functioning and ability to work or attend school. Paraphrenia is a psychotic disorder with similar symptoms of schizophrenia, but the disorder usually affects the elderly population.

Individuals who use illegal substances or drugs or are suffering from withdrawal from substances may experience substance-induced psychotic episodes that include confused speech, delusions and hallucinations, according to WebMD. Brief psychotic disorder leads individuals to temporarily feel paranoid and is often in response to a traumatic or stressful event. Recovery usually occurs within a month.

People with mental disorders not classified as psychotic disorders can still experience brief psychotic episodes, explains WebMD. The psychosis is often short term and is not as intense as many psychotic disorders. Treatment for psychotic disorders varies based on the symptoms and the severity of the disorder. Physicians may prescribe medications, conduct psychotherapy sessions with patients, or hospitalize patients who are a danger to themselves or others.

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