Health is the most significant value for people’s well-being. Mental and physical disorders usually provoke different diseases. They cause conditions that do not allow humans feel themselves happy. Nowadays, psychiatric patients occupy about half of the hospital beds in the USA. It means that there is a real public health issue in the society, and it is necessary to find the solutions to it. Before choosing the ways to cope with psychosis, it is better to understand the nature of this disease and its major symptoms that can help diagnose it. Furthermore, a proper treatment of this illness may provide a positive prognosis of humans’ well-being. This paper presents the background information about psychosis and characterizes its main symptoms, treatments, and prognosis.
Background Information about Psychosis
The history of psychosis begins from the moment of its invention in 1845. Initially, this notion meant a mental handicap, but later it was used as a synonym to “psychopathy,” “psychoneurosis,” and “major psychiatric disorder” that includes all the limitations of such a generalization. It often refers to “craziness,” and many researchers consider it as “a profound revelation of all that goes on in the deep recesses of the human mind”. In other words, psychosis is a symptom of the psychiatric disease rather than a name of a mental disorder. It means the process in which a person experiences different things and believes in them as in real ones when they are unreal; such a person loses the contact with the reality. These conditions mostly happen in two forms, namely hallucination (seeing, hearing, or feeling unreal or absent things) and delusion (holding unusual beliefs that never share with other people).
Approximately 1% of humans suffer from psychosis. This disorder is mostly found amid late teenagers and people of early thirties, and it equally affects males and females. Psychosis as well as other mental disorders can be a genetic disease. People having family members with such a disorder have higher risk factors that can develop it than individuals without a family history of this illness. Moreover, this disorder relates to the hyperactive chemicals in the human brain that are essential to its standard functioning.
Considering the types of psychosis, it is necessary to highlight the most common of them. Schizophrenia is in the top of psychotic disorders. Patients suffering from this condition have changes in their behavior, delusions, and hallucinations that can last more than six months. Such people often demonstrate the decrease in a social function, studying at school and results at work. When the symptoms of schizophrenia last less than half a year, it is a schizophreniform disorder. Schizophrenia that observes in elderly people is known as paraphrenia.
Another type of psychosis is brief psychotic disorder. It is observed in patients who have sudden and short episodes of psychotic behavior. Naturally, such episodes are the human response to a stressful situation; they usually last about a month. In cases patients have false beliefs and involve realistic situations that might be true, their diagnosis is delusional disorder. It can last a month or even longer.
The disorder can be caused by a withdrawal from substances such as methamphetamines and alcohol. It is a substance-induced psychotic disorder that is the condition for delusions and hallucinations. There are also psychotic disorders due to a medical condition. Patients usually have such a diagnosis when the symptoms of the psychotic disorder are the results of diseases that affect the function of the human brain. Healthcare providers can also diagnose personality or character disorders which affect people who have problems dealing with other humans. Such patients are inflexible and rigid. Researchers consider these individuals as dysfunctional ones in the way they determine the situations and refer to other people. A great number of people suffer from bipolar disorder that is known as manic depression. It is a type of mental disorder with extreme shifts in mood, fluctuations in energy, and levels of activity. Completing everyday tasks is quite difficult for a patient during such abnormal shifts.
Viewing psychosis from the genetic side, it is necessary to admit that schizophrenia, as well as bipolar disorder, are the most heritable conditions. The researchers of molecular genetics suggest that schizophrenia can overlap with developmental disorder such as autism. Such findings raise the questions concerning the importance of diagnostic approaches that classify various types of psychotic diseases.
The Symptoms of Psychosis
As aforementioned, psychosis is a symptom rather than a medical condition; it cannot be called as a psychiatric diagnosis but better a characteristic of the mental disorder. There are two classical signs of psychosis, namely hallucinations and delusions. Schizophrenia may also include the symptoms such as disorganized thoughts, speech and behavior, disordered thinking (jumping from one topic to another, making unrelated connections amid thoughts), and catatonia (unresponsiveness).
Similar to schizophrenia, psychosis can move quickly or slowly. It depends on the cause of the disorder. Whereas, the symptoms of schizophrenia have a slow start and begin with milder psychosis that sometimes does not transform in the full disorder. The possible primary symptoms of psychosis can include feelings of suspicion, obsessive thinking, sleep problems, distorted perceptions, depression, and even suicidal feelings. Prodromal psychosis as well as fully psychotic symptoms can be untreated for a period for two years.
People suffering from schizophrenia can have auditory hallucinations such as hearing various voices that talk negatively about the patient or a voice that gives a commentary on the patient’s actions. Sometimes, these patients hear repeating of their thoughts.
The Treatments of Psychosis
Generally, treatment of psychosis includes the combination of various forms such as antipsychotic medication, psychological therapies, and social support or self-help groups. Antipsychotic medications help to manage the following symptoms of the psychosis: hallucinations and delusions. The most common antipsychotics are haloperidol, pimozide, amisulpride, and chlorpromazine. In order to find the way the medications affect the individual, the doctor can prescribe more than one medicament until the appropriate medication that meets the required outcomes will be found.
Considering the psychotherapy for psychosis, it is necessary to note that it can include cognitive behavioral therapy that helps to understand the ways patients make sense of their experiences as well as individual and family sessions. Most patients get their treatment in an ambulatory way. However, in a severe case when the human’s physical well-being can be in danger, the hospitalization is required to stabilize the patient’s health.
Except medications and psychotherapy, there is a treatment that can successfully manage to live with psychotic disorders. It is self-help; and its importance is to assist in coping with occurred episodes. It is also useful in finding help on treating somebody with this disease. Self-studying and learning about the specific disorder is a fundamental point while managing healthy, fulfilling, and happy life. The good example of social support is local mental health networks. They can provide the communication with a support group as well as other useful services.
The Prognosis for Psychotic Disorder
Among the patients who had a diagnosis of psychotic disorder, a lot of them led productive lives and could normally function with the correct treatment. The prognosis for these individuals with psychosis differs between patients. For instance, females usually respond better to medical treatment than males. The patients who have a family history of given disease show a lower prognosis than the people without it. The individual prognosis can define the number of negative symptoms. Moreover, the older patients have usually more promising prognosis.
One more important factor in identifying prognosis is the patient’s support system. Some patients may never fully recover from psychotic disorders, and thus they need to continue their treatment for the whole period of their lives. If patients want to sustain mental as well as physical stability with the psychotic condition, it is important for them to follow strictly the whole system of treatment of psychosis recommended by their healthcare practitioners. However, in hard forms of psychotic disorder, the suicide rate is associated with schizophrenia. It occurs mostly after first hospital admission of such patients.
Psychosis is not a separate psychiatric disorder; it is rather a symptom of the mental disease that in most cases produce a common condition of schizophrenia. There are also other types of psychosis that last and influence differently on human’s well-being. Hallucinations and delusions are the classical symptoms of psychosis. Patients suffering from schizophrenia have some kinds of auditory hallucinations. However, the treatment for psychotic disorder includes medication and psychotherapy in a combination with self-help and social support. In some cases, when ambulatory medications are not effective enough, the hospitalization is required to obtain better person’s outcomes. Consequently, the prognosis for patients with psychosis depends on the individual’s support system.