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Types of Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders aren’t just one condition but a broad category that encompasses various mental health conditions. These disorders can cause people to have trouble distinguishing between reality and fantasy, resulting in unusual thoughts and behaviors. While psychotic disorders can be challenging to live with, they are treatable. Understanding the different types of psychotic disorders and their associated symptoms is an important part of seeking treatment.

Columbia Associates specializes in treating a wide range of mental health conditions, including psychotic disorder treatment. If you’re ready to get help, call 703.682.8208 today.

What Are Psychotic Disorders?

Psychotic disorders are a collection of mental health conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, perception, and behavior. Individuals with these disorders often experience trouble discerning what’s real from what’s imagined. This difficulty can manifest in various ways, such as hallucinations, delusions, or disorganized speech and behavior. Hallucinations involve seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t there. Delusions, on the other hand, are strong, unfounded beliefs that are held despite contradictory evidence. Disorganized speech or behavior is characterized by a rapid, unfocused way of talking or moving that makes it hard for others to understand or keep up.

Each type of psychotic disorder has a unique set of symptoms and effects, but they all share the common thread of causing significant distress and difficulty in functioning day-to-day. It’s important to remember that, like all mental health conditions, psychotic disorders are not the result of personal weakness or a character flaw—they are serious conditions that require medical attention.

Types of Psychotic Disorders

There are several types of psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, delusional disorder, brief psychotic disorder, and shared psychotic disorder. While these conditions share some similarities, they also have distinct differences.


This is perhaps the most well-known type of psychotic disorder. Schizophrenia is a chronic condition that typically first appears in early adulthood and can last throughout a person’s life. It is characterized by disorganized thoughts, hallucinations, delusions, and difficulty functioning in daily life.

Schizoaffective Disorder

This disorder has symptoms similar to schizophrenia, including delusions and hallucinations. However, it also involves symptoms of a mood disorder, such as depression or mania.

Delusional Disorder

People with this disorder have strong delusions that are often focused on one particular theme, such as persecution or grandeur. They may not experience other psychotic symptoms and can otherwise function relatively normally in their daily lives.

Brief Psychotic Disorder

As the name suggests, this disorder is characterized by a sudden onset of psychotic symptoms that last for a short period, typically less than a month. It may be triggered by a stressful event or trauma.

Shared Psychotic Disorder

This rare disorder involves an individual developing delusions as a result of being in close contact with someone who already has delusional beliefs. The person’s thoughts and behaviors can become increasingly aligned with the delusions of the other person, leading to significant distress and dysfunction.

Signs of Psychotic Disorders

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may be an indication of a psychotic disorder:

  • Delusions – Strong beliefs that are not based in reality
  • Hallucinations – Seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not real
  • Disorganized speech and behavior – Difficulty communicating clearly or engaging in coherent activities
  • Difficulty functioning in daily life – Struggling to complete basic tasks or maintain relationships and employment

If you’re struggling with any type of psychotic disorder, getting the right treatment is crucial. Reaching out to a professional can help you find the support and resources you need to manage your symptoms and improve your overall well-being.

Reach Out to Columbia Associates for Help

Call 703.682.8208 today to get in touch with Columbia Associates. If you’re ready to take the next step in your mental health journey, click here to reach out to our team of empathetic, mental health care experts! For existing clients, please click here and find your office location to contact your office directly.