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What is Shared Psychotic Disorder?

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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Shared psychotic disorder is the clinical name for a condition where two people share the same exact psychotic symptoms. This usually happens because one person has managed to convince a relative or romantic partner to believe in his psychotic delusion. One patient is usually well-known for having problems with some kind of psychotic disease, while the other patient is actually normal, at least in relative terms.

There are many different kinds of psychotic disorder, but schizophrenia is generally the most well-known. With this disorder, individuals may see or hear things that aren't really there. In other cases, people will simply have ideas in their heads that are obviously based in wild fantasy, and they are usually unwilling or unable to change their minds about these ideas. One of the patients typically suffers from a more well-established psychotic issue that may be based on a physical or chemical problem in the brain, while the other is simply being convinced to believe the same things.

One of the key factors that usually causes shared psychotic disorder is the element of isolation. When this disorder appears, it generally involves two people who have very little meaningful contact with the outside world. This isolation can also help create an overall distrust of outsiders, which sometimes aids the psychotic individual's efforts to impose his beliefs on the other person.

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Another common factor that is usually seen in relation to shared psychotic disorder is an element of dominance. The person suffering with an actual form of clinical psychosis usually has a lot of control in the relationship with the person who shares his delusions. Secondary sufferers will also usually have difficulty in being assertive, and they may have various mental problems that make it easier for someone to influence them.

The dynamics that lead to shared psychotic disorder tend to pop up most often in family environments. For example, an overbearing parent may impose a psychotic delusion on a child or spouse. This psychosis usually also has an element of paranoia, which leads the group to seek an isolated lifestyle, and this helps create the right environment for a shared psychosis to happen.

Treatment for shared psychotic disorder is generally fairly straightforward. The doctor will normally try to separate the two people for a while and may give one or both anti-psychotic drugs. In many cases, the main person suffering from a delusion will take drug treatments, but the secondary individual can usually recover simply by being separated from the person who's been casting an influence.

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