SINOUÉ Sinoué logo

Psychotic episodes

Understanding what are psychotic disorders and psychotic episodes, and how to deal with them. 

Definition of psychotic episodes

Psychotic disorders designate an association of delusional elements, hallucinatory phenomena and great psychic disorganization. Psychotic episodes can be found in other psychiatric disorders.
Psychotic episodes are most often characterized by:

  • a breakdown in functioning (drop in school performance, social isolation, change in behaviour)

  • strange, bizarre behaviour, or inexplicable words

  • a sense of danger to people and to the environment

  • a change in sensory perceptions

  • difficulty to organize thoughts or to be understood by others

The causes of psychotic episodes

Although the exact cause of psychosis is not known, it is found to be caused by an abnormality in the brain. The chemical neurotransmission system involving serotonin and dopamine is particularly concerned.
Psychosis can be found in several disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, dementia (Alzheimer and other degenerative disorders of the brain).
Psychotic episodes may also be linked to heavy drug or alcohol use, as well as adverse reactions to this use, or a family history of psychosis.

Psychotic episodes - the public concerned

Young men aged 15 to 30 and women aged 18 to 35 are the visibly most at risk population for psychotic episodes. It is estimated that 4 to 5% of young people will experience a psychotic episode during their lifetime.
The psychosis associated with schizophrenia tends to affect men more often than women.

How to treat psychosomatic episodes?

A psychotic episode can be treated and it is possible to cure it completely. There is a very wide variety of situations: care, to be effective, must be adapted to each person’s needs.
Care would be aimed at controlling symptoms, especially when they are very invasive: it may then be necessary to initiate drug treatment.