Psychosis is defined as a mental state in which the subject loses contact with reality, altering his optimal ability to interpret the events that happen to him and to make adequate and adapted decisions.
In this way, it is common for the individual to show strange and unusual behavior, altered social interaction, and severely affected general functioning (preventing work, family, or social life).
Symptoms of psychosis
Psychotic patients usually present:
- Sensory-perceptual disturbances (hallucinations): the individual can see, hear, feel or smell things that do not really exist and that are independent of their will. Thus, it is common for the patient to speak alone (soliloquies), as he hears voices and believes he has an interlocutor.
- Thought disorders: delusions (erroneous beliefs irrefutable to logic), incoherent speech, strange ideas, or mental blockage. In this sense, the patient may believe that he is being observed, that people are talking about him, that they are persecuting him, or that they are plotting against him. Thought disturbances can cause problems concentrating or following the thread of the conversation.
- Alterations in behavior and motor skills: agitation or inhibition, disorganization, aggressiveness, mutism, isolation.
- Affectivity disorders: mood swings, irritability, euphoria, depressive symptoms, apathy, difficulty in expressing emotions.
Causes and differential diagnosis of Psychosis
In the first place, the presence of organic pathology as the origin of the picture has to be ruled out. Those psychoses that present with an alteration in the level of consciousness and attention, or that appear abruptly, are suggestive of having a basic medical/somatic cause:
- Intoxication and withdrawal from drugs of abuse (cocaine, phencyclidine, etc.).
- Central Nervous System Infections (encephalitis, meningitis) and some types of epilepsy.
- Brain tumors or cysts. Cerebrovascular accidents.
- Degenerative neurological diseases (Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease, dementias…).
- Vascular disorders (systemic lupus erythematosus).
In psychoses without identifiable organic cause, the bio-psychosocial model is used as an explanatory method for the development of psychotic illness. The individual would present a genetic vulnerability on which precipitating environmental factors act.
Types of Psychosis
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), several types of psychosis are recognized:
- Delusional disorder
- Brief psychotic disorder
- Schizophreniform disorder
- Schizoaffective disorder
Psychotic symptoms can also appear in other mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, major depression, or decompensated personality disorders.
Treatment of Psychosis
The diagnosis and treatment of psychoses must always be medical, treating the underlying disease (if any), and with psychotropic drugs (usual antipsychotics) prescribed by the specialist in Psychiatry, who will advise on the necessary time of treatment and the type of intervention.
Likewise, adequate psychosocial support is essential.
Do you know what options exist to solve depression?
Depression is, according to WHO, the second most disabling disease that affects 1 in 10 Spaniards, preventing them from developing their daily tasks. This disorder is not only a consequence of the current frenetic style of life, but other factors cause it.
How to fix depression
There are different options, but they all require a commitment to work properly.
The first option is to wait and do nothing, since, in some cases, the depression goes away on its own. However, there is a risk that the situation will worsen and turn into chronic depression, which could end with hospital admission or suicide.
The second option is to ask your GP for help, who can prescribe drugs for anxiety and depression. If you see symptoms worsening, you can put the patient on a waiting list for referral to a psychiatrist. However, GPs do not have enough knowledge to treat depression correctly, so there is a risk that the patient will become addicted to drugs or that the depression will become chronic.
On the other hand, there is the option of being cared for by a psychiatrist, an expert mental health professional who can also prescribe medications. The main drawback of this option is that the duration of the consultation is short and it is generally not followed up as often as necessary.
The last option that exists is to be attended by a psychologist to do psychotherapy sessions, without the use of drugs. As in the case of visiting the psychiatrist, the waiting lists to go to the psychologist are also long, but they can visit more frequently.
Other solutions that do not involve waiting 6 months to visit an expert
There are other solutions to not wait so long, but they involve an economic effort. These solutions consist of going to private specialists.
On the one hand, the patient can visit a private psychologist, who normally has a waiting list of less than a month and can visit more frequently until the depression is resolved.
On the other hand, you can visit a private psychiatrist, who will be able to evaluate the case and may indicate a pharmacological treatment or a psychotherapy treatment.
Another option, which is an increasingly common alternative, is to go to a private doctor who is an expert in medicinal plants, such as a physiotherapist. It is a viable alternative in many mental health diseases, but some diseases cannot be treated with plants, so in these cases, it must be complemented with psychotherapy. If the patient chooses this option, it is important to be supervised by a doctor, because otherwise side effects may occur that can endanger the patient’s life.
Which is the best option?
When a person feels bad, the first thing to do is ask friends and family for help.
If the person does not have sufficient financial resources, this action should be complemented with a visit to a family doctor who, although not the best option, is acceptable.
The best option would be to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist who is an expert in depression, with sufficient and up-to-date knowledge.
In no case is it advisable to go to people who offer alternative therapies that have no scientific basis, because it will be a waste of time and money.