Psychotic Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition

Definition

A diagnosis of Psychotic Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition is given when psychotic symptoms are caused by a medical issue, such as a stroke or migraine headache, that occurs at the same time. This diagnosis is not given when symptoms are a result of drug use, drug withdrawal, another psychological disorder, or if they occur only during the course of delirium caused by a medical condition.

Symptoms

The key symptoms of a Psychotic Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition are similar to those of any psychotic episode, and include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech and thought patterns, and/or abnormal physical behavior, such as pacing back and forth or walking in circles. The severity of symptoms varies from person to person, and even within the same person from time to time during different stages of illness. Symptoms may be temporary and brief or long-term in nature. 

Causes

The cause of Psychotic Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition is thought to be a change in brain function that sometimes occurs with brain tumors, epilepsy, autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease, Huntington’s disease, central nervous system infections, cerebrovascular disease, auditory or visual nerve damage, multiple sclerosis, stroke, migraine, and other medical issues. For example, studies have found that over all, approximately 7 percent of people with epilepsy have experienced psychotic episodes. 

Treatments

Most often, treating the primary medical condition results in a remission of psychotic symptoms, but sometimes psychosis continues long after the medical issue has been resolved. Antipsychotic medications are prescribed to help control delusions and hallucinations and prevent reoccurrence of symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapists, family therapists and other mental health professionals can help those with the disorder and their families to better understand the condition and learn coping strategies and problem-solving skills.

References

Merck Manual. Psychotic Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition. Last reviewed July 2016. Accessed June 1, 2017.

Nemade R and Dombeck M. Gulf Bend Center. Schizophrenia/Symptoms of Psychotic Disorder Due to Another Condition. Accessed June 1, 2017.

Clancy MJ, Clarke MC, Connor DJ, Cannon M, Cotter DR. The prevalence of psychosis in epilepsy; a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatry. 13 March 2014;14:75.

Last reviewed 06/05/2017