Teen Psychotic Disorder / Schizophrenia
Teen Psychotic Disorder is a mental condition where a teen faces difficulty in discriminating between reality and imagination. In this mental state, the brain directs confusing signals and messages. These signals can distort any of the five senses, mainly vision and hearing, creating hallucinations and misconceptions. Generally, young adults are the group that experience their first episode of psychosis. These experiences can be terrifying and may influence the person to hurt themselves or others. Psychosis is not a common disease. It affects three out of every 100 people. This mental illness mainly affects teens but is not limited to this age group. Schizophrenia, schizophrenia-like disorders, delusional disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder are the most severe psychosis disorders.
Schizophrenia can be a severe and long-lasting disease. It occurs when areas of the brain fail to synchronize and regulate thoughts, observations, and behavior.
Only one percent of the world population is diagnosed with schizophrenia. In the USA, 3.2 million people have this severe psychosis disorder. Research indicates that women have the tendency to experience more obsessed misconceptions and hallucinations; however, men may experience more disordered and negative symptoms.
Causes of Teen Psychosis Disorder or Schizophrenia
The exact cause of the teen psychosis disorder is unclear. Each case is different. There are a few diseases that can trigger psychosis. Others causes may include – lack of sleep, various environmental influences, trauma and drug use. Ailments that can trigger teen psychosis disorder such as schizophrenia include; stroke, dementia and alzheimer’s, as well as brain illnesses such as, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, several chromosome related syndromes, brain cysts and tumors, certain types of epilepsy, syphilis, HIV and other brain infections.
Psychosis can be triggered by mixing alcohol and illicit drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, or using hallucinogenic drugs such LSD that create a temporary hallucination.
Certain prescribed drugs like steroids and stimulants can also cause psychosis.
Lack of sleep, particularly during the teenage formative years, can cause symptoms of psychosis and/or psychotic episodes.
Symptoms of Teen Psychosis Disorder
A teen with psychosis disorder will suffer from delusions and hallucinations. The distorted brain messages may affect any one of the five senses or all five of them. The following are the most common symptoms:
- Seeing things that do not exist in reality.
- Hearing voices
- Smelling unusual smells
- Feeling irritating or itchy skin sensations
- Tasting unusual tastes and/or believing that food is contaminated or poisoned
- Distorted speech
Other numerous symptoms that a teen can experience, in the early stages of psychosis, include – difficulty concentrating, anxiety, disheartened mood, sleeping less or too much, unusual thoughts and beliefs, feelings of suspicion, and withdrawal from close relationships.
In the later stages, the symptoms visible include – delusions, hallucinations, distorted messages, deep depression, confusing manner of speaking, switching topics rapidly, often being confused about obvious known matters, poor hygiene, strange behavior, extremely slow movement in day-to-day work, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety.
Delusions and Hallucinations
The delusion is a made-up belief that the teen adheres to, that is usually in reality very far from the actual truth. There are three types of delusions: Paranoia, grandiose and somatic. With paranoia, the teen feels that he or she is being monitored. In the case of a grandiose delusion, the teen may feel that he or she is very important. Finally in the case of a somatic delusion, the teen has unusual beliefs about his/her bodily functions.
Hallucinations are physical perceptions that are not real. It is like seeing, hearing, feeling, or smelling imaginary things. People who experience hallucinations will hear people talking to them or see events occurring, when in fact they are on their own.
The treatment for teen psychotic disorder differs according to the nature of the ailment and the severity of the specific symptoms. Generally, professional doctors and clinical psychologists prescribe a course of talk therapy and medication at the same time to cure the teen completely. Talk therapy for the teen includes personal sessions, family sessions, and group sessions. The reason for the talk therapy is to identify the root of the psychotic trigger/s and address the possibly dangerous hallucinations. At Hillcrest Adolescent Treatment Center (Hillcrest), experienced doctors and clinical psychologists are dedicated to evaluate the state of the teen as well as what he or she is experiencing. According to that assessment, an individualized treatment plan is constructed. Hillcrest provides a safe oasis-like green environment with advanced tools and continuous support to maximize the road to recovery and sustain long-term healing.