Prognosis and Treatment of Brief Psychotic Disorder

A noticeable break from reality best characterizes what people affected by brief psychotic disorder experience. For some people, psychological problems from the past can set the stage for a brief psychotic break to occur. For others, traumatic events cause this mental state to take shape.

While only appearing for a short time, the symptoms associated with brief psychotic disorder can be harrowing, dangerous and even life threatening. The prognosis for this condition can vary depending on a person’s overall psychological condition, though in most cases, the condition subsides over time.

Treatment for brief psychotic disorder will likely require medication therapy as well as psychotherapy. In spite of the condition’s brief duration, it’s imperative a person receive immediate treatment help to prevent symptoms from growing worse.

Brief Psychotic Disorder


With the right treatment brief psychotic episodes can be minimized.

According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, people affected by brief psychotic disorder display psychotic-like behaviors, such as delusions and hallucinations. Traumatic events, such as the loss of a loved one or being assaulted usually trigger this type of condition.

In most cases, brief psychotic episodes affect people between the ages of 20 and 50 years old, with women affected more often than men. People who’ve suffered from a personality disorder in the past have an especially high risk of developing this condition.

A brief psychotic episode must last for longer than a day, but no longer than a month with no alcohol or drug influences present.

Types of Brief Psychotic Disorder

Brief psychotic episodes can develop in response to:

Episodes that develop with no known cause commonly occur in people with a history of psychological problems.

Symptoms of the disorder remain pretty much the same regardless of the cause. Symptoms commonly experienced during a brief psychotic episode include:

  • Incoherent speech and language patterns
  • Memory problems
  • Disoriented and confused
  • Tactile, visual and/or auditory hallucinations
  • Delusional belief systems

People experiencing these symptoms may or may not be aware that they’re acting strangely.

Possible Complications

The prognosis for brief psychotic disorder can vary depending on whether complications arise along the way. For some people, a brief psychotic episode may mark the onset of a more serious and long-term psychotic condition, such as schizophrenia, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

The symptoms commonly associated with psychotic episodes cause considerable disruption in a person’s everyday life. Violent behavior displays and even suicidal-type behaviors are also possible.

Overall, those affected return to normal function within a month’s time, though repeat episodes may occur in the future in the face of another stressful event.


The severity of symptoms a person experiences for the most part determines what course of treatment is warranted. A brief psychotic disorder can drive a person to harm self or others, in which case hospitalization should be seriously considered.

At the very least, most people require a combination of medication and psychotherapy treatments. Treatment medications commonly prescribed include:

  • Antipsychotics – Stelazine, Prolixin, Thorazine, Mellaril
  • Tranquilizer agents – Valium, Ativan

Through psychotherapy treatment, a person learns how to identify and better cope with the stressor that triggered the psychotic break.


I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOWI NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOW888-647-0051Response time about 1 min | Response rate 100%
Who Answers?

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: ARK Behavioral Health, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.