Psychotic Disorders

The major symptom of these disorders is psychosis, or delusions and hallucinations. Delusions are false beliefs that significantly hinder a person’s ability to function. For example, believing that people are trying to hurt you when there is no evidence of this, or believing that you are somebody else, such as Jesus Christ or Cleopatra. Hallucinations are false perceptions. They can be visual (seeing things that aren’t there), auditory (hearing), olfactory (smelling), tactile (feeling sensations on your skin that aren’t really there, such as the feeling of bugs crawling on you), or taste. This is an other area within the mental health presentations where the insight into one’s own difficulties might be compromised. This therefore necessitates more intense support from friends, family and professional support people. Despite the frequent initial resistance the person feels more at ease and safer when they receive the proper care and support. These are specialised areas of assessment and treatment. Information on these disorders is available and referrals can be organised to a specialist team of professionals.

Schizophrenia

Symptoms of Schizophrenia typically begin between adolescence and early adulthood for males and a few years later for females, and usually as a result of a stressful period (such as beginning college or starting a first full time job). Initial symptoms may include delusions and hallucinations, disorganized behaviour and/or speech. As the disorder progresses symptoms such as flattening or inappropriate affect may develop. Again, specialised assessment is recommended and necessary. Treatment suggestions most often include medication.