Psychosis is a serious mental disorder that profoundly alters an individual’s mental capacity and causes him to lose touch with reality. It can occur at any age, although it is quite rare in children and adolescents under 15 years of age. Psychosis brings with its serious complications, including self-harm and suicide, alcohol and drug abuse.
What are the symptoms of psychosis?
The subject with psychosis experiences illusions (he is convinced of false things) and hallucinations, which can affect the five senses. The psychotic may be confused, speak rapidly, and suddenly change the subject. It often happens that you lose track of your thoughts and stop without completing your speech or action. Furthermore, the subject is unable to become aware of his own abnormal attitudes and disorders. Other symptoms include difficulty concentrating, anxiety and agitation, social withdrawal, sleep disturbances, and a bad mood.
What are the causes of psychosis?
The causes of psychosis are multiple. Psychotic disorder, in fact, can stem from:
- A psychiatric illness, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or severe depression.
- A physical disease, for example, neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lewy body dementia, etc.), brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, stroke, neurodevelopmental disorders, chromosomal abnormalities, endocrine disorders (hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, adrenal insufficiency, Cushing’s syndrome, etc.), infectious diseases (AIDS, Lyme disease, malaria, syphilis, etc.), sleep disorders, autoimmune diseases (lupus, Hashimoto’s encephalopathy, etc.), nutritional deficiencies, innate metabolic defects and acquired metabolic diseases (hypocalcemia and hypercalcemia, hyponatremia and hypernatremia, etc.).
- Abuse of psychoactive substances, such as alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, LSD, amphetamines, etc.
- A head injury during childhood.
Other forms of psychosis, on the other hand, can be triggered by various reasons, such as menstrual psychosis, postpartum psychosis, occupational psychosis, shared psychosis (when you have a close relationship with a psychotic individual), etc. Heritability also has a significant influence on the development of psychosis.
Can it be prevented?
Although it is almost impossible to prevent psychosis, people at risk can undergo cognitive-behavioral therapies to prevent the development of the disease. In the presence of suspicious symptoms and attitudes, it is possible to undergo additional examinations.
What does the treatment consist of?
Treatment consists of the administration of antipsychotic drugs, causal therapy (treatment of the causes that generate psychosis), and psychotherapy. The most widely practiced techniques are cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps the psychotic to recognize and master problem behaviors) and family therapy. The patient can also find valid help in support groups, in which people with similar disorders participate.
Brief Strategic Therapy: a technique to treat phobias
A phobia is a fear of situations or things that are not dangerous. People who suffer from this problem recognize their way of acting as irrational, unreasonable, and exaggerated, but despite this, they avoid or try to avoid facing these situations or stimuli, which this causes a great interference in their daily life.
Being afraid is a natural human reaction, a way of protecting oneself from the environment. However, if the fear runs out of control, it is limited, blocked or its real function is canceled and it becomes a dysfunctional fear: panic attack and phobias.
The obstacle is not fear itself, but how that fear is managed. Faced with a problem, we feel fear and if the chosen solution is wrong, that is what will make the fear continue permanently and, therefore, turn into panic or phobia.
All these anxiety disorders have certain physiological symptoms in common, such as:
- Excessive sweating
- Feeling of suffocation
- Feeling of imminent death that occurs in panic attacks.
How does Brief Strategic Therapy help to treat phobias?
Brief Strategic Therapy is a very effective therapy for such limiting problems as phobias. This therapy focuses on the physiological problems of the pathology to direct psychotherapy.
The goals of therapy are:
- Find out how the problem works.
- Analyze the logical solutions that the person puts into practice and that contribute even more to the persistence of the problem.
- Provide different solutions to the patient in the form of tasks to get him to unlock.
How does Brief Strategic Therapy work?
Following the objectives mentioned in the previous section, strategic brief therapy provides the patient with a small initial change by providing solutions in the form of tasks, since these allow the patient to realize their ability to positively face the feared situation, achieving major changes and thus eliminating the anxiety disorder.
The technique used for phobias is called: the worst fantasy. It consists of prescribing the patient to set half an hour on his agenda every day and to recall his worst fantasy, the most negative thoughts. During that half-hour, in a room isolated from noise, the patient has to let himself be carried away by emotions; if you want to scream, cry, etc. Thus, by inducing the person to reenact their most terrible fears, they usually relax. The best way to solve a fear is to provoke it. Little by little the specialist will increase the time to recall the fear, causing a greater confrontation that translates into courage and courage in the patient.