logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
Natural Living
Folklore and Mythology
Baptist
Florida
Cosmetics
Distance Learning
Reading


dailyclick
All times in EST

Full Schedule
g
g Mental Health Site

BellaOnline's Mental Health Editor

g

Psychosis and Schizophrenia

Guest Author - Kevin Thompson

We all receive information about the world through our senses, in a manner that seems unremarkable. Our common sensory experiences enable us to build models of reality that are similar, and this shared understanding helps us to live and work together in a reasonably smooth fashion.

These models are not completely consistent with each other, of course, or we would not have different beliefs. We also wouldn't make the common mistake that just because we believe something, everyone else should believe it, too! However, these differences are the result of different priorities and thought processes, not disagreement about the reality we perceive through our senses.

Yet not everyone shares this consensus. Some people perceive a reality that is both quite different from the norm, and has elements that are clearly wrong. They suffer from a set of symptoms called "psychosis."

The most dramatic symptoms of psychosis are hallucinations (false perceptions), and delusions (false beliefs).

- Hallucinations are sensory perceptions that do not originate in physical reality. Because these are perceived as coming from the senses, it can be difficult for the person to tell that they are not real. Hallucinations can take the form of false images, sounds (often voices), physical touch, or even smell and taste.

- Delusions are powerful beliefs that are clearly wrong and impervious to evidence. Delusions are often paranoid in nature, with individuals believing, for example, that secret government agencies are spying on them, or trying to control their minds.

Hallucinations and delusions are the primary symptoms of psychosis. They are often accompanied by an inability to recognize that anything is wrong. This lack of insight, which is called "anosognosia," makes treatment very difficult.

People who are in the grips of a severe psychotic episode seem "crazy" to onlookers, but their behavior makes perfect sense from the right perspective: the psychotic person is responding rationally to experiences that the rest of us do not share.

Psychotic episodes can arise from many different reasons. Many illegal drugs and prescription medications (such as cocaine and amphetamines), taken at a large enough dose, can cause psychotic symptoms. Psychotic episodes can also occur during severe manic episodes, for people who have bipolar disorder. However, the illness most associated with psychosis is schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a very serious illness. While it includes psychosis as the most obvious set of symptoms, this illness often causes severe suppression of the normal range of emotions as well. The blunted emotions can rob the ill person of all joy in life, and produce a strange, almost emotionless style of behavior ("flattened affect") that is very disturbing to others.

Treatment for schizophrenia is less advanced, and less satisfactory, than for depression and bipolar disorder. The newest generation of "atypical" antipsychotic medications does a better job in treating schizophrenia than the older "typical" antipsychotics, but is far from ideal. On the positive side, these medications frequently help with both psychosis and blunted emotions. On the negative side, they seldom do a perfect job of either, and the side effects can be severe. Side effects include diabetes, permanent movement disorders (such as Tardive Dyskinesia), Parkinsonism, serious weight gain, depression, and sexual dysfunction.

Treatment for psychosis arising from bipolar disorder tends to be more successful, partly because the psychosis is more episodic than for schizophrenia, and partly because there are fewer to treat. Atypical antipsychotics are used in this case as well, so while the treatment may work, the side effects remain as significant problems.

The bad news is that much remains to be done in understanding and treating psychosis, in all the cases where it arises. The good news is that the last few decades have seen much progress, and more will come.

----------------------------
About the Author
Kevin Thompson, Ph.D. is the author of Medicines for Mental Health: The Ultimate Guide to Psychiatric Medication. You can find information about treatments for depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and sexual problems on his Web site at www.MentalMeds.org.
www.MentalMeds.org
This site needs an editor - click to learn more!

Add Psychosis+and+Schizophrenia to Twitter Add Psychosis+and+Schizophrenia to Facebook Add Psychosis+and+Schizophrenia to MySpace Add Psychosis+and+Schizophrenia to Del.icio.us Digg Psychosis+and+Schizophrenia Add Psychosis+and+Schizophrenia to Yahoo My Web Add Psychosis+and+Schizophrenia to Google Bookmarks Add Psychosis+and+Schizophrenia to Stumbleupon Add Psychosis+and+Schizophrenia to Reddit




RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map


For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Mental Health Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2015 by Kevin Thompson. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Kevin Thompson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

g


g features
Why Is Saying 'No' So Difficult?

Dealing With Discomfort In The Mind

Why Are We So Reluctant To Change

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2016 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor