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Brief Psychotic Disorder


Carol Tamminga

, MD, UT Southwestern Medical Dallas

Last full review/revision May 2020
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Brief psychotic disorder consists of delusions, hallucinations, or other psychotic symptoms for at least 1 day but < 1 month, with eventual return to normal premorbid functioning.

Brief psychotic disorder is uncommon. Preexisting personality disorders Overview of Personality Disorders Personality disorders in general are pervasive, enduring patterns of thinking, perceiving, reacting, and relating that cause significant distress or functional impairment. Personality disorders... read more (eg, paranoid, histrionic, narcissistic, schizotypal, borderline), as well as certain medical conditions (eg, systemic lupus, steroid ingestion), predispose to its development. A major stressor, such as loss of a loved one, may precipitate the disorder.

Patients with the disorder manifest at least one psychotic symptom for < 1 month:

  • Delusions

  • Hallucinations

  • Disorganized speech

  • Grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior

Differentiating between brief psychotic disorder and schizophrenia Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is characterized by psychosis (loss of contact with reality), hallucinations (false perceptions), delusions (false beliefs), disorganized speech and behavior, flattened affect... read more in a patient without any prior psychotic symptoms is based on duration of symptoms; if the duration exceeds 1 month, the patient no longer meets required diagnostic criteria for brief psychotic disorder.

Relapse is common, but patients typically function well between episodes and have few or no symptoms.

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