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Symptoms of Brief Psychotic Disorder

Rashmi Nemade, Ph.D. & Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Brief Psychotic Disorder

People with brief psychotic disorder have delusions, hallucinations, and/or disorganized speech and behavior that lasts for at least one day, but less than one month. After the episode, their behavior returns to normal. These symptoms must not happen only as part of Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder with psychotic features, another psychotic disorder, or autism spectrum disorder.

For a diagnosis to be made, a person must show one of the following:

  • delusions - fixed, mistaken ideas that the person holds. These are often odd or incorrect ideas about themselves and the world around them.
  • hallucinations - sensations that only the person experiences. This can include voices speaking to them that only they can hear.
  • disorganized speech - this can be switching topics frequently while talking, giving answers to questions that weren't asked or not being understandable by others.
  • very disorganized or catatonic behavior - this might be childlike "silliness" or being agitated or irritated without a reason, or showing no reactions to the world around them.

Clinicians can also add a specifier code to this disorder including:

  • With marked stressor - this means that the symptoms are happening in response to an event that would be very stressful for almost anyone in that same situation
  • Without marked stressor - there was no event that would be stressful to anyone in similar circumstances that brought about the symptoms
  • With postpartum onset - the symptoms happen during pregnancy or within 4 weeks after having a child


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