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Psychotic Disorders

Credo Reference: Psychology

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Credo Reference helps you start your psychology research with reference materials on personal, interpersonal, and social psychology.


Disclaimer: This informational guide discusses topics such as Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder: please exercise caution.

Each resource gives insight into the science behind psychosis, tips and tricks for how to minimize it's impact on your day, and inspiring stories from those who struggle with psychosis related conditions. Keep in mind that all experiences are unique, and the information included does not reflect everyone's lived reality.

Psychotic Disorders Research Starter

Psychotic disorders are a group of mental illnesses that share psychosis as one of their clinical features. Psychosis involves a gross impairment in one’s sense of reality, as evidenced by symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, thought disorder, and bizarre behavior. These psychotic symptoms may be a primary component of the illness, or they may be secondary to a mental or physical condition.

Psychotic symptoms can appear at any point during the life course, though they are difficult to diagnose in preverbal children (prior to age five or six). Psychotic disorders can appear for the first time in individuals of any age, including those over sixty-five.

Ongoing research efforts to clarify the cognitive and physiological mechanisms associated with different psychotic illness will hopefully aid in future diagnosis. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5 (5th ed., 2013), published by the American Psychiatric Association, psychotic symptoms are a central feature of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Schizophrenia, which is often a severe and debilitating mental illness, is found in approximately 1 percent of the general population and affects more than 2.5 million Americans. Onset of the disorder is most likely to occur between the ages of fifteen and thirty-five; the average age of onset is eighteen for men and twenty-five for women. Schizophrenia can occur in childhood, although this is rare, and can also have a late onset after the age of forty-five. Rates of schizophrenia do not vary substantially in terms of gender, race, or ethnicity, but the disorder is more prevalent in urban than in rural areas.

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