Causes & Effects of Brief Psychotic Disorder

At San Jose Behavioral Health, we believe education is an important first step in the effort to manage brief psychotic disorder. Understanding the signs, symptoms, and effects of brief psychotic disorder can help you get the right type and level of care for yourself or a loved one.

Understanding Brief Psychotic Disorder

Learn About Brief Psychotic Disorder

Brief psychotic disorder is diagnosed when an individual experiences psychotic symptoms that last more than a day but not more than a month. A person with this mental disorder experiences symptoms such as delusions, unusual speech and behavior, disorganized behavior (including catatonia), and/or hallucinations during a psychotic episode.

Brief psychotic disorder is distressing to both individuals and families. Individuals experiencing this disorder likely require support and treatment during this time. Suicide risk is high for individuals who are experiencing brief psychotic disorder, and because this disorder can result in harm of self and others, it is important to take it very seriously.

Stress and hormonal imbalances or changes may contribute to this condition. Thus, brief psychotic disorder can affect anyone, especially individuals who are experiencing extreme stress. When an individual is going through a psychotic episode, help and guidance is often needed to prevent self-injury or harm to others. As with many other mental disorders, symptoms vary somewhat on a case to case basis.

The good news is that prevention and treatment of brief psychotic disorder is effective and can allow a person to fully recover from a brief psychotic episode.


Brief Psychotic Disorder Statistics

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, only 9% of individuals who experience a psychotic episode are diagnosed with brief psychotic disorder. The average age that adults are first diagnosed with this disorder is age 30. Generally, women are two times more likely than men to suffer from a brief psychotic episode.

Causes & Risks

Causes and Risk Factors of Brief Psychotic Disorder

More research is constantly underway to understand all of the causes of this disorder. However the American Psychiatric Association has determined that there are some risk factors associated with brief psychotic disorder, including:

Genetic: Individuals who have certain genetically-influenced preexisting disorders and traits, including perceptual dysregulation, borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and even personality traits like suspiciousness, are all more likely to experience brief psychotic disorder.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of mental health disorders, particularly brief psychotic disorder
  • Female gender
  • Certain personality traits such as suspiciousness
  • Low level of learned coping skills

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Brief Psychotic Disorder

An individual can be diagnosed with brief psychotic disorder if he or she experiences the following symptoms:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Unusual movements, poses, or catatonia
  • Unusual speech patterns or incoherent speech
  • Disorganized or sudden behaviors that are out of character

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Delusions
  • Confusion
  • Poor decisions or judgment
  • Hallucinations
  • Reduced ability to think clearly

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Self-harm or suicidal behaviors
  • Rapid mood changes
  • Emotional upset and turmoil

Lasting Effects

Effects of Brief Psychotic Disorder

Without treatment, brief psychotic disorder can lead to a number of unfortunate experiences. Some of the negative effects of this disorder include:

  • Family conflict or turmoil
  • Poor quality of life
  • Unemployment or job loss
  • Decline in academic or career performance
  • Social isolation, withdrawal, or embarrassment
  • Risky behaviors and negative consequences of those behaviors
  • Lack of hygiene or good nutrition
  • Physical injury or harm as a result of delusional thinking
  • Beginning or worsening of substance use
  • Loss of custodial rights to children

I began to experience symptoms of delusion after losing my job. Not understanding what was going on, my friends became very concerned for me. As my mental condition became worse, my family decided to admit me to San Jose for treatment to stabilize my mental health. With the help of their doctors and nurses, my health rapidly improved and I was re-released to my family. San Jose helped me tremendously.

– Camille R.