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What Are the Common Characteristics of Psychotic Patients?

Autumn Rivers
Updated Feb 02, 2024
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There are several types of psychotic disorders, many of which have a few symptoms in common. One of the most widespread traits of psychotic patients tends to be delusions, which are false beliefs the patient vehemently asserts are true despite evidence to the contrary. Hallucinations also are common among psychotic patients, causing them to see, hear or smell things that are not actually present. Other psychotic features include odd behavior, such as loss of interest in regular activities or personal hygiene, usually as a result of confused thinking.

Many psychotic patients insist that certain beliefs are true, even when they receive proof that those beliefs are actually false. Such delusions often make patients appear paranoid, because few other people agree with or even understand their often illogical beliefs. Some delusions may be possible but unlikely, such as a patient's belief that the police have him under surveillance. They also can be impossible, such as the belief that the patient has traveled through time. Some doctors classify primary delusions as those that are sudden and which patients have no reason to believe, while secondary delusions are those rooted in the patient's history or upbringing and often taken from religious or superstitious beliefs.

Another trait of psychotic patients is the tendency to hallucinate, or claim something is present when it is not. Many people think hallucinations are limited to seeing people or hearing voices, but they can take any form involving the five senses. For example, some patients smell so-called phantom scents, taste flavors that are not there, or feel something touching their skin when nothing is present. While many people experiencing hallucinations find them disturbing and also exhibit other types of psychotic behavior, not everyone who hallucinates is bothered by the issue or could be categorized as psychotic. This is because hallucinations also can be caused by drug use, neurological issues and sleep deprivation.

Psychotic patients generally exhibit confused thinking, which may lead to bizarre behavior that does not make sense to others. For instance, patients may stop taking care of their hygiene, leading them to look unclean or become unhealthy. When psychosis comes on suddenly, patients may stop completing normal activities, such as going to work regularly, socializing or enjoying hobbies. They also may have mood swings and a detached attitude that makes them appear cold, gradually pushing others away. Their behavior may even turn dangerous for themselves or others, which is why it is important for psychotic patients to be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible.

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Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By Talentryto — On Feb 07, 2014

Heavanet, one sign of a temporary problem is when symptoms of psychosis occur suddenly and without warning. In such cases, there is likely to be highly treatable, underlying causes. People who have major mental illnesses that lead to being psychotic often have long histories of such conditions.

By Heavanet — On Feb 06, 2014

It's important to remember that symptoms of psychotic thinking may have several root causes, not just a major mental illness. These symptoms may occur because of the inability to manage stress for a long time, some medications, or a psychotic break. It doesn't mean that the patient will not get back to normal with proper treatment.

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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