Brief Psychotic Disorder (Comprehensive Guide)

In this guide, we will discuss what exactly is Brief Psychotic Disorder and what patients who suffer from this mental condition go through?

How to treat/cure it, what the common symptoms are, and how common or uncommon it is to find it in the general populace.

We will also discuss what we can do to identify if whether or not someone might have the potential to develop this mental illness at any stage in life.

What is it?

Brief psychotic disorder falls in the category of mental illnesses called the schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.

Similar to Schizophrenia, patients suffering from temporary psychotic disorder can experience any intensity of hallucinations and or delusions.

Though unlike schizophrenia, the effects are temporary, and symptoms typically last for no more than a month. 

How Frequently it occurs.

Studies conducted on Brief psychotic disorder represent that the actual number of people who suffer solely from an attack of this mental illness, such that it does not progress further into any other mental or medical illness, is about two to four people in every one hundred thousand people.

(2-4 in 100,000) Researches are not fully certain as to why this trend is seen, but women are known to be affected by this condition more frequently than men.

Being more likely to be affected, women on average see the realization of brief Psychological Disorder between the ages of thirty and fifty(30-50), with a single episode lasting approximately seventeen to thirty days(17-30)

Risk Factors and Identifiers.

Other than the type of psychotic disorder, which is commonly known to be the result of the use of a substance or medical condition, not too much is know about the spectrum of psychotic disorders in which Brief Psychotic disorder falls.

It is suspected that how various variables involved in the development of a child interact and stimulate the child during said development play a huge role in the prognosis of such an illness.

The main variables involved are Genetics(familial), Biological, environmental and psychological.

Even though the data is not absolute, quite a lot of effort has been put in to researching and studying the biological model of psychotic disorders.

Due to these studies, we have been able to show, to an extent, that Brief Psychotic Disorder can run in the family.

It has been noted that people who have closely related relatives who have suffered from this condition at least once are more likely to experience Brief Psychotic Disorder at least once in their life, more than others who would not have such relatives.

Drug and substance abuse can contribute to the development and triggering of Brief Psychotic Disorder.

Drugs like marijuana at the risk of developing the aforementioned mental health illness and some medications are thought to aid this particular illness in its development, but there seems to be no substantially direct relation between the use of said medications to the appearance or manifestation of the symptoms associated with a brief psychotic disorder.

Our current understanding of the illness implies that multiple genes are involved in the prognosis of the likeliness of developing this disease.

Neurotransmitters (chemicals that aid the communication of nerve cells) are also a factor, and though people who suffer from Brief psychotic disorder may have multiple dysfunctional neurotransmitters, the ones that are most affected are dopamine, serotonin, and glutamate.


The most common and conventional symptoms of the brief psychotic disorder are:


The patient might become paranoid in a sense and will begin to form beliefs that ultimately make no sense or have no place in reality.

Disorganized speech

The patient suffering from brief psychotic disorder will be distracted by his or her delusional state and due to a disoriented perception of reality, will often begin to slur his or her words and or talk in an off-topic nonsensical way.


The patient will see visions, figures, shapes and or images while either awake or asleep which are either not physically present or do not exist.

The patient might also believe that they feel phenomena that are not actually occurring or are not possible all in all.

Catatonic Behaviour

This is also a form of behavior present in patients who suffer from illnesses that fall in the spectrum of schizophrenia and other mental disorders.

Catatonia is a state in which the patient is mostly unresponsive even though they are otherwise awake.

This wakeful unresponsiveness is known as being in a state of catatonia or becoming catatonic.

Diagnosis and Prognosis

There is no sure-fire way to check for Brief Psychological Disorder as no cut and dry test exist for it like an MRI, XRAY, etc.

If someone is concerned that they might have the illness or have reason to suspect that they might develop the illness later in life, they can take written tests either online or at mental health institutions, which can indicate if a visit to a mental health professional under current circumstances is required or not.

Some examples of good risk tests are the Yale PRIMES, The Youth Psychosis at risk test, The Schizophrenia Test, etc.

To diagnose or be able to prognosis Brief psychotic disorder, professionals will conduct an interview discussing the patient’s self and family medical history in order to find concerned factors within that information.

Psychiatrists and psychologists will first rule out any other possible illnesses such as clinical depression, chronic anxiety, generalized anxiety, and other psychological disorders in the schizophrenia spectrum of psychological disorders.

In particular cases a mental health professional, aiding you, may feel as if a certain number of symptoms of Brief psychotic disorder are present, though he may still feel that the patient does not qualify for the diagnosis as this mental health illness can also occur next to, be related to and or intertwined with some other fatal, hindering or life-threatening illnesses.

A very common example is delirium, which is a state of hysteric confusion caused by a mental or psychological condition.

The professional will always do his or her best to ensure that the patient isn’t suffering from pre existing medical conditions, which may have had the potential to cause the onset of symptoms appearing to be similar to the mental health illness in question in our article.

Being diagnosed with this kind of mental illness is quite a life-changing so professionals want to often rule out any other, lighter noted possibility before assigning this diagnosis.

Treatment, Medication, Help

Since brief psychological disorder remains present or effective for no more than a month and at best a few days, medication plays a big role in alleviating the pain induced by the mental fatigue, stress and overall sense of danger being caused by a warped sense of reality that patients experience while their symptoms are peeking.

Drugs available for help include atypical drugs commonly used and prescribed to patients to improve quality of life, whereas typical or first-generation drugs have heavier consequences and are only prescribed in cases where their pros outweigh their cons.

Some common Typical (strong, fast, more side effects) Atypical (relatively mild, slow, fewer side effects) Antipsychotic medications are:

  1. Risperidone (Risperdal)
  2. Olanzapine
  3. Quetiapine
  4. Ziprasidone
  5. Aripiprazole
  6. Paliperidone
  7. Asenapine
  8. Iloperidone
  9. Lurasidone
  10. Clozapine
  11. Chlorpromazine
  12. Haloperidol
  13. Fluphenazine
  14. Thiothixene
  15. Trifluoperazine
  16. Perphenazine
  17. Thioridazine

These older first-generation typical antipsychotic medications are known as neuroleptics because while they are adept at treating the positive symptoms of schizophrenia such as hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia, they are known not to be as effective against the negatives effects of schizophrenia an example being catatonia.

  • Mental Health: Personalities: Personality Disorders, Mental Disorders & Psychotic Disorders
  • Psychotic Disorders: A Practical Guide (Practical Guides in Psychiatry)
  • Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders: Dsm-5(r) Selections
  • Dealing With Psychotic Disorders (Dealing With Mental Disorders)
  • Neuroimaging of Schizophrenia and Other Primary Psychotic Disorders: Achievements and Perspectives


Depression can be closely following when dealing with psychotic disorders, so these medications are often paired with mild antidepressants, which have less frequently occurring side effects, such as fluoxetine, Paroxetine, and Paxil, etc.

Other than medication, the most effective treatment for the symptoms of Brief Psychotic disorder has been observed to be Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

This form of therapy involves a mental health professional or specialist who will talk to the patient and instruct them on what activities to perform to be able to control better, process, assess, etc your thought patterns with.

Often the patient will be made to journal their thoughts delusions and beliefs and will discuss them with the professional who will help the patient understand their feelings and why their brains make them think that way and how to better or prevent those thoughts from occurring.

Overall the patient over time develops the ability to be able to control their thoughts and better manage the tricks that their brains play on them.

You can also read and learn whether Xanax and paroxetine are the same?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Is Brief Psychotic Disorder Curable?

Generally, any mental illness has no absolute cure though most can be either suppressed, prevented, or overcome with the help of the proper treatment and medication.

People who experience Brief Psychotic disorder do not occur again after the first attack, but in some cases, it may grow into other more dangerous, life-threatening mental disorders if left unchecked.

It can be prevented, suppressed or be overcome with the use of the correct medication such as typical and atypical antipsychotics and CBT therapy under the supervision of a specialist mental health professional,

Q2. What is the average age of onset for a brief psychotic reaction?

It occurs in two to four in every one hundred thousand people.

In most cases, women are affected more than men and the average age of onset is between thirty to fifty years of age with an average attack lasting anywhere from seventeen to thirty days. 

Q3. What causes temporary psychosis?

It can be a variety of reasons.

The current model says that multiple genes are responsible for this as well as environmental, genetic, biological, and psychological factors. 

Q4. What are the early warning signs of psychosis?

Some common early warning signs include a worrisome drop in grades or job performance, trouble thinking clearly or concentrating, suspiciousness or uneasiness with others, a decline in self-care and personal hygiene, spending a lot more time alone than usual, Strong inappropriate emotions or having no feelings at all.

Q5. How can you tell if someone is psychotic?

The patient will have difficulty concentrating, will often be in a depressed mood, sleeping too much or not enough, anxiety, suspiciousness, withdrawal from family and friends are also common identifiers of someone who is psychotic.

These symptoms by themselves do not guarantee a diagnosis, but if more than just some occur at once and are more intense than what an average person would experience, a professional may make the diagnosis of psychosis.

Q6. Can psychosis come on suddenly?

Psychosis cannot really start suddenly.

It usually follows a pattern wherein the patient’s understanding and perception of the world gradually change into something that can eventually be categorized as delusional or psychotic.

If the common warning signs are not identified and the patient does not get help in time, they may risk developing and or triggering a psychological disorder much worse than the psychosis itself.


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