Acute Psychotic Symptoms

What Are Acute Psychotic Symptoms?

Psychotic symptoms are disturbances in thoughts, behavior, and emotions that cause an individual to lose contact with reality. These symptoms typically develop over a short period of time and are experienced as attacks or episodes. Examples of acute psychotic symptoms include:

  • Delusions – fixed, false beliefs that an individual believes are true, even when presented with evidence to the contrary.
  • Hallucinations – seeing, hearing, feeling, or smelling things that don’t exist.
  • Changes in thinking – difficulty concentrating, making decisions, and organizing thoughts.
  • Disorganized speech – talking in a way that doesn't make sense or is difficult to understand.
  • Suspiciousness – feeling that people are out to get them or that people are talking about them behind their back, even when there is no evidence to support such beliefs.
  • Paranoia – intense, irrational fear of people and unfounded mistrust.

These symptoms can lead to withdrawal from society, a decrease in functioning, and an increased risk of dangerous or violent behaviors. Acute psychotic episodes can range in severity, but they usually require treatment and should be taken seriously.

What Causes Acute Psychotic Symptoms?

The causes of acute psychotic symptoms can vary. In some cases, there may be an identifiable cause such as substance intoxication, head injury, medical problems, and certain neurological disorders. In other cases, acute psychotic symptoms may be caused by an underlying psychiatric condition such as schizophrenia or a bipolar disorder.

Acute psychotic symptoms can also be caused by extreme stress or trauma, lack of sleep, extreme hunger, physical illness, or other life-changing events.

How Are Acute Psychotic Symptoms Treated?

Treatment for acute psychotic symptoms typically involves medications and psychotherapy. Psychiatric medications such as antipsychotics can help to regulate brain chemistry and reduce the intensity of psychotic symptoms. Depending on the underlying cause, other medications may also be prescribed.

In addition to medication, psychotherapy can help address any underlying mental health issues that may be contributing to acute psychotic symptoms. This can include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, problem-solving therapy, family therapy, social skills training, and peer support.

It is important to seek medical help if you or someone you know is experiencing acute psychotic symptoms. Even if the symptoms are mild, it is important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment to minimize the risk of the symptoms becoming more severe.