Types of psychosis

I believed I had special powers to control flocks of birds and I believed that Frank Sinatra was with me and haunting me. These were bizarre things but I couldn’t control them.

There are lots of different types of psychosis, which type is diagnosed depends on the symptoms that a person is experiencing.

At the Early Intervention Team, we tend to avoid making specific diagnosis of illness straight away, preferring instead to use a general diagnosis of an “Unspecified Psychosis”.

This is because symptoms can change with time and many diagnoses depend on an illness reoccurring with time. Early Intervention Teams focus on treating an individual’s unique symptoms, spending time to get to know the person first.

At a later point a specific diagnosis may be discussed and this can be helpful in understanding the experiences better, accessing information and guiding future treatment.

Some of the common diagnoses of psychotic illnesses are briefly explained below:

Unspecified Non Organic Psychosis - a common diagnosis for a first episode of psychosis.

Acute and Transient Psychosis - symptoms appear and go away very quickly.

Drug Induced Psychosis - drug misuse is suspected to be very important in the development of symptoms.

Schizophrenia - an often misunderstood condition, tends to be used when a psychotic illness has a relapsing course and a particular grouping of symptoms.

Schizoaffective Disorder - symptoms of psychosis and mood symptoms occur simultaneously.

Post Puerperal Psychosis - when a woman develops psychotic symptoms following childbirth.

Manic Episode with Psychotic Symptoms - when your mood becomes high and you lose touch with reality, at first this might feel great but it can soon cause major problems for you; people often think they have special powers or status, become dis-inhibited, or might hear voices telling them they are great.

Severe Depression with Psychotic Symptoms - when you become so depressed that you lose contact with reality and believe bad things are happening, you might hear voices telling you negative or frightening things or neglect looking after yourself.

Delusional Disorder - when you develop fixed beliefs that unusual things are happening around you, without other psychotic symptoms being present.

The important thing to remember is that they are all treatable.

© 2013 Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
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