As its name suggests, brief psychotic disorder involves short (i.e. more than one day but less than one month) episodes of psychotic behavior. During these episodes, a person can experience delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and disorganized or catatonic behavior. These symptoms are defined as follows:
- Delusions are false beliefs that a person holds. Though there are many different kinds of delusions, some more common delusions include beliefs that another person, group, or force is controlling one’s thoughts; beliefs that relatively insignificant events, such as a traffic light turning green, have special significance for the person; beliefs that one is being followed or that others are “out to get” an individual; and beliefs that one’s body is diseased or changed somehow.
- Hallucinations are false perceptual experiences that are not based in reality. Hallucinations can involve any sensory system, but most commonly involve one’s sense of hearing, such as when a person is hearing voices; vision, such as a person seeing ghostly figures or things that are not present; and touch, such as when a person feels as though something is crawling under his or her skin. It is also possible for a person to hallucinate smells or tastes.
- Disorganized speech is the loss of ability to form coherent thoughts or to “stay on track” with one’s thoughts.
- Disorganized or catatonic behavior includes excessive movement, silliness, or agitation. Catatonic behavior refers to a person not reacting, or only minimally reacting, to the outside environment. People with catatonia may, for example, maintain a rigid posture, avoid speaking, or engage in limited motor activity.
Episodes of psychosis can be very frightening for individuals and their loved ones, but help is available for those with brief psychotic disorder. At Westend Hospital we understand the pain and disruption that brief psychotic disorder can cause. With the help of our compassionate and experienced treatment team, it is possible to learn strategies for managing brief psychotic disorder and build your ability to live a healthier, more fulfilled life.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Watching as a loved one struggles with brief psychotic disorder can be a terrifying and confusing experience, and in the midst of your fear and confusion, you may forget that there are still ways you can help your loved one. Consider the following options:
- Research brief psychotic disorder and learn all you can about how to help someone who is struggling with the disorder. Reading books, looking through reputable websites, and speaking with treatment professionals are all excellent ways to build your knowledge about the disorder.
- Look into treatment options. By definition, episodes of brief psychotic disorder are relatively short-lived, but during an episode, it is often important for an individual to have effective professional care to help him or her stabilize and to ensure that the person is not a risk to him- or herself or to others. As such, research different treatment options, look for centers that have experience treating brief psychotic disorder, and make a short list of centers that may be a good fit for your loved one.
- When your loved one is not experiencing an episode, it can be helpful to discuss treatment options with him or her and make a plan for how to handle any future episodes. Present your research to your loved one and work with him or her to come up with a plan for managing his or her symptoms should they arise.
- When your loved one is in treatment, remain an active source of support for him or her. Send letters, make phone calls, seek progress updates from treatment center staff, and participate in any family sessions or psychoeducation that your chosen treatment center offers.
- During this time, remember that your own health is paramount. You will not be an effective support for your loved one if you are physically and emotionally drained, so it is important to intentionally spend time doing activities that replenish your reserves. Basic self-care includes eating healthy, getting regular exercise, and getting adequate sleep as well as seeking support from family and close friends. Furthermore, consider joining a support group or seeking individual therapy to give yourself a chance to process your reactions to this difficult situation.
Why Consider Treatment at Westend Hospital
Fortunately, most individuals with brief psychotic disorder are able to function quite well when they are not experiencing episodes of psychosis. However, during those episodes, an individual’s pervasive delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech and behavior can cause substantial disruption in his or her life. A person may not be able to function at work or at home, causing occupational and social strain and possible job loss and social isolation. Furthermore, when a person is in the midst of an episode, he or she is at a higher risk of suicidal behavior. Fortunately, however, these episodes are relatively brief, and with the help of a dedicated treatment center to care for individuals during these episodes, it is possible for those with brief psychotic disorder to live full and fulfilling lives.
Types of Treatment Offered at Westend Hospital
Westend Hospital provides world-class care for individuals who are struggling with mental illness. By offering a full spectrum of care designed to treat a wide range of presenting concerns, Westend can help change lives for the better.
Westend Hospital is designed to provide care for men and women with mental health diagnoses. We do not provide addiction treatment services, but we are able to care for individuals who are on dialysis, who use feeding tubes, and who use supplemental oxygen.
Every person who heals with us benefits from the support of our dedicated clinical team and is provided with a tailored treatment plan that addresses each individual’s unique needs and helps him or her manage the symptoms of brief psychotic disorder. Below are some of the interventions that may be included in each client’s personalized treatment plan:
Medication management: Many people find relief from the symptoms of their mental health conditions with the help of medications. At Westend, we provide effective, responsive medication management services. Clients who need medication management meet with our psychiatrist three times per week and benefit from 24-hour nursing care.
Individual therapy: A client’s relationship with his or her individual therapist can be a foundational component of his or her healing journey and can provide a chance for clients to receive the one-on-one support they need. At Westend, our social workers provide individual therapy sessions as often as necessary, as determined by our clients and our clients’ treatment teams.
Group therapy: Group therapy sessions are in many ways the backbone of treatment at Westend. Led by social workers, nurses, and our activity therapist, groups allow individuals who are struggling with brief psychotic disorder to build skills and support and be supported by each other. Group topics at Westend may include:
- Coping skills
- Anger management
- Grief therapy
- Relapse prevention
- Stress management
- Medication compliance and management
Activity therapy: Developing healthy recreation patterns can substantially increase a person’s ability to manage the symptoms of brief psychotic disorder. At Westend, our dedicated activity therapist teaches clients how to effectively use downtime and leisure activities to benefit their overall physical and mental health.
Family therapy: Recognizing the key role that family members play in an individual’s health and wellbeing, Westend provides family therapy sessions led by our social workers as requested. During these sessions, family members have the opportunity to work through concerns they may have and can build and strengthen their relationships with each other.
Our dedicated staff members are eager to work with each client and customize his or her treatment plan to meet his or her unique needs. Once inpatient treatment is complete, we encourage clients to continue receiving care in our outpatient program before returning home so that they can solidify the progress they made in inpatient treatment and transition gradually back into their communities.
Westend’s treatment team is on-hand to answer any questions you may have about our programming and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for walk-in referrals. If you or one of your loved ones might benefit from our care, please do not hesitate to contact us.