Psychotic Disorder Cause, Symptoms & Signs

Erlanger Behavioral Health Hospital offers high-quality services and support for adults and senior adults who are struggling with psychotic disorders. Located in Chattanooga, TN, Erlanger is a leading provider of psychotic disorder treatment.

Understanding Psychotic Disorders

Learn about psychotic disorders

Psychotic disorders are severe mental illnesses that disrupt a person’s ability to function in significant ways. The delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech and thinking, and diminished physical health that often accompany these disorders can all make it impossible to live safely and independently.

Learning more about psychotic disorders is an important first step towards recovery. If you or someone you care about is battling symptoms of a psychotic disorder, understanding the signs, symptoms, and effects will help you make the most informed decision when it comes to seeking a quality psychotic disorder treatment program.

According to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the following are among the more prevalent psychotic disorders:

  • Delusional disorder – Diagnosed when a person maintains fixed beliefs that can be proven as false with evidence
  • Schizophrenia – Diagnosed when there is a presence of psychotic symptoms (e.g., hallucinations or delusions) that last for at least one month but remain ongoing for at least six months
  • Schizoaffective disorder – Diagnosed when an individual experiences episodes of psychosis and drastic mood disturbances that can resemble bipolar disorder
  • Brief psychotic disorder – Diagnosed when a person experiences a short period of psychotic behavior, often in response to a very stressful event, such as a death in the family


Statistics about psychotic disorders

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) shares the following statistics about psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia:

  • Estimates of the prevalence of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders in the U.S. range between 0.25% and 0.64%.
  • Schizophrenia is one of the top 15 leading causes of disability worldwide.
  • The estimated average potential life lost for individuals with schizophrenia in the U.S. is 28.5 years.
  • Approximately half of individuals with schizophrenia have co-occurring mental or behavioral health disorders.

Causes & Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for psychotic disorders

While there is no one factor that can predict the onset of a psychotic disorder, there are some environmental and genetic influences that might increase your risk for developing this type of mental health concern, including:

  • Personal history of other psychotic disorders or other forms of mental illness
  • Family history of other psychotic disorders or other forms of mental illness
  • Exposure to certain types of illicit drugs
  • Living in an urban environment
  • Suffering from acute or chronic trauma
  • Certain forms of brain abnormalities during development

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of psychotic disorders

Each person will have their own unique experience of a psychotic disorder, and treatment must be modified to suit their needs in order for lasting healing to occur. However, there are some common signs and symptoms that often accompany psychotic disorders, including the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Flat affect, or decreased facial expression
  • Poor hygiene
  • Alogia, or weak/poor speech
  • Inability to complete the tasks of daily living

Physical symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep problems
  • Dizziness
  • Catatonia

Mental symptoms:

  • Poor articulation of thoughts and ideas
  • Problems with focus or concentration
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Anhedonia, or the inability to experience joy or pleasure
  • Avolition, or decreased motivation for carrying out important tasks
  • Memory difficulties
  • Hindered executive functioning
  • Paranoia


Effects of psychotic disorders

Because of the severe nature of the symptoms that accompany psychotic disorders, professional help is necessary to manage these conditions. Without getting comprehensive residential treatment, individuals who suffer from psychotic disorders may experience the following damaging effects:

  • Difficulty forming relationships with others
  • Severe emotional and behavioral disturbances
  • Difficulties with language
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicide attempts
  • Inability to acquire or maintain gainful employment
  • Financial strain
  • Social isolation
  • Worsening of psychotic symptoms
  • Development of additional mental illnesses
  • Homelessness
  • Substance abuse, addiction, or chemical dependency

If you or someone you care about has already begun experiencing any of these effects, know that there is hope for recovery. A quality psychotic disorder treatment center can offer you the stabilization services you need to get your symptoms under control so that you can engage in other levels of care. By receiving treatment at a comprehensive residential program, you can begin the journey to sustained recovery from your psychotic disorder.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Common co-occurring disorders among people who have psychotic disorders

Often, individuals who are suffering from a psychotic disorder are also diagnosed with an additional co-occurring condition. If you are also struggling with one of the following mental illnesses, you’ll need to seek a treatment center that is equipped to offer the comprehensive care you need to get all of your symptoms under control.

  • Tobacco use disorder and other substance use disorders
  • Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Other psychotic disorders
  • Depressive disorders
Marks of Quality Care
  • The Joint Commission (JCAHO) Gold Seal of Approval