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Psychotic Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition

A diagnosis of Psychotic Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition is given when psychotic symptoms occur alongside a transient or chronic illness, which may range from a migraine headache to a stroke or traumatic brain injury. People who are genetically disposed or otherwise at high risk of developing a psychotic disorder are more likely to experience a co-occurrence of psychosis in the midst of another medical event.

This diagnosis is not given when symptoms are a result of drug use or drug withdrawal; the DSM-5 classifies this as substance-induced psychotic disorder. The diagnosis is also not given if psychosis occurs only during the course of delirium.

Symptoms

According to the DSM-5, symptoms of Psychotic Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition include:

  • Hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that don't exist).
  • Delusions
  • Disorganized speech and thought patterns.
  • Symptoms of another medical condition that excludes the diagnosis of another schizophrenia spectrum disorder

Symptoms may be temporary and brief or long-term in nature and persist long after the associated medical condition has been resolved.

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Causes

Psychotic Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition arises due to changes in brain function associated with the primary medical condition. This condition may include brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease, Huntington’s disease, central nervous system infections, cerebrovascular disease, auditory or visual nerve damage, multiple sclerosis, stroke or a migraine headache.

Approximately 7 percent of people with epilepsy have experienced psychotic episodes. This type of psychosis may occur as a single incident or may come and go, depending on the course of the medical condition.

Medical researchers speculate that some patients with Psychotic Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition have underlying inflammatory or autoimmune disorders that play a role in both the medical condition and the related psychosis. These disorders may also work in tandem with a genetic predisposition to both the medical condition and the associated psychosis.

Treatment

Treatment for psychotic episodes of this nature is based on treatment for the triggering condition. 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 and further treatment is required if residual symptoms affect daily activities and social relationships.

Antipsychotic medications may be prescribed to help control delusions and hallucinations and prevent reoccurrence of symptoms.

References
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Diosrders, Fifth Edition
Merck Manual
Nemade R and Dombeck M. Gulf Bend Center. Schizophrenia/Symptoms of Psychotic Disorder Due to Another Condition. 
Fujii DE and Ahmed I. Psychotic disorder caused by traumatic brain injury. Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 2014;37(1):113-124.
Clancy MJ, Clarke MC, Connor DJ, Cannon M, Cotter DR. The prevalence of psychosis in epilepsy; a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatry. March 13, 2014;14:75.  
Bergink V, Gibney SM, Drexhage HA. Autoimmunity, inflammation and psychosis: A search for peripheral markers. Biological Psychiatry. February 15, 2014;75(4):324-331.
Last updated: 06/02/2017