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Symptoms of Brief Psychotic Disorder

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

Brief Psychotic Disorder

Individuals with brief psychotic disorder experience delusions, hallucinations, and/or disorganized speech and behavior that lasts for at least one day. However, these symptoms remit within one month, and their behavior returns to normal. If the observed psychotic symptoms can be reasonably thought to have been due to a pre-existing mental illness diagnosis (such as mood disorder, schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder), by a substance abuse condition, or by a pre-existing medical diagnosis (such as head trauma, or systemic illness), the diagnosis of Brief Psychotic Disorder is not made.

The following diagnostic criteria must be met before a diagnosis of Brief Psychotic Disorder is warranted, according to the DSM-IV-TR:

A) Presence of one (or more) of the following symptoms:

1. delusions
2. hallucinations
3. disorganized speech (e.g., frequent derailment of thought or incoherence)
4. grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior

B) Duration of an episode of the disturbance is at least 1 day but less than 1 month, with eventual full return to premorbid level of functioning

C) The disturbance is not better accounted for by a Mood Disorder With Psychotic Features, Schizoaffective Disorder, or Schizophrenia and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.