SCHIZOPHRENIA AND OTHER PSYCHOTIC DISORDERS
Symptoms of these conditions are variable and include changes in a person's perception, thinking, behaviour and emotion.
The term "psychosis" broadly refers to when a person loses contact with reality. Symptoms of psychosis include delusions (false, unshakeable beliefs), hallucinations (perception-like experiences occurring without an external stimulus), disorganised thinking (as inferred from an individual's speech), severely disorganised or abnormal behaviour and negative symptoms (including reductions in emotional expression, speech fluency and spontaneity of verbal expression). Psychosis may also be caused by certain medical conditions, medications and substances of abuse, and these potential causes should be investigated in any person that develops psychotic symptoms for the first time.
These conditions include brief psychotic disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and delusional disorder.
A brief psychotic disorder involves the sudden onset of psychotic symptoms, which lasts for at least one day but less than a month. It is relatively uncommon and is usually brought on by stressful situations. It may have a postpartum onset if it arises within four weeks after childbirth. This is frequently referred to as "postpartum psychosis".
Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. The expression of symptoms varies across individuals and over time. The impact of the condition is severe and long-lasting for individuals, families and caregivers.