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What Are the Different Types of Psychotic Mood Disorders?

Helen Akers
Updated May 17, 2024
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Psychotic mood disorders affect the way a person interprets reality. Some of the major types of psychosis include schizophrenia, delusional disorder, schizoaffective disorder, psychotic depression and substance-induced psychosis. Symptoms of psychotic mood disorders include visual and auditory hallucinations, flat emotional responses, delusions and paranoia. Depending upon the severity and type of mood disorder, the symptoms may last anywhere from one month to several years.

Schizophrenia is one of the most widely recognized psychotic mood disorders. The disease is characterized by hallucinations, which may include hearing voices that aren't really there. Individuals who develop schizophrenia may experience delusions, such as the idea they are being stalked or that they are on some sort of special mission to save the planet. Paranoia may be present in addition to marked changes in behavior that negatively affect work and school performance.

All types of psychotic mood disorders adversely affect social relationships. Since the majority of them involve some sort of delusional thinking, those with psychosis may feel that others are out to get them or that significant others are having a romantic affair. Individuals with a mood disorder may become emotionally unexpressive and even cold.

People who suffer from some form of psychosis might become disinterested in basic tasks, such as personal hygiene, eating or getting out of the house. Schizoaffective disorder is characterized by a combination of depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. Those with this disease experience both sets of symptoms associated with clinical depression, bipolar disorder and hallucinogenic thought patterns.

Closely related to schizoaffective disorder is psychotic depression. This is one of the types of psychotic mood disorders that stems from severe emotional negativity. The depression becomes so extreme that it induces delusional thinking and hallucinations. Those afflicted with the disorder may start to believe that they have a severe medical disease, such as cancer.

Substance-induced psychosis is a mood disorder that is brought on by withdrawal symptoms from toxic substances, such as drugs and alcohol. The hallucinations and delusions are usually temporary and subside once the individual recovers from substance abuse. Extremely high levels of stress are also thought to bring on spontaneous bouts of psychosis that subside once the stressor is removed from the patient's life.

Delusional behavior can be classified into several subcategories or types. The term grandiose delusions is used to refer to the idea that someone believes he has special powers. In somatic delusional thinking, an individual believes he is afflicted with a severe medical condition or has a severe physical deformity. Jealous delusions in contrast are characterized by thinking that loved ones are cheating or are accomplishing something that the individual feels he should be.

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Helen Akers
By Helen Akers
Helen Akers, a talented writer with a passion for making a difference, brings a unique perspective to her work. With a background in creative writing, she crafts compelling stories and content to inspire and challenge readers, showcasing her commitment to qualitative impact and service to others.
Discussion Comments
By Lostnfound — On Aug 13, 2014

@Grivusangel -- That is sad. Poor woman. I'm not sure how much can be done for some people who have a mood disorder. Medication just doesn't work for some people, or they have to try so many different combinations of medications at different dosages, until they hit the right one. And even then, it might work for a while and then stop working.

There's so much about the brain's structure and chemistry that we just don't understand, which makes it difficult to treat mental illness, since we don't know if the illness stems from a structural problem within the brain, or a chemical imbalance -- or both. Clearly, a lot more research is needed to help people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness.

By Grivusangel — On Aug 12, 2014

I'm not sure exactly how to characterize this behavior, but I work for a newspaper and this lady came in and wanted to talk to a reporter. She was visibly upset and said men had been coming into her house at night and beating her with laser beams.

We called an ambulance for her and got hold of her son, who said she was paranoid schizophrenic and had these delusions all the time because she wouldn't take her meds.

She was clearly frightened and I felt sorry for her. It must be awful to live with a disorder like that. It was sad.

Helen Akers
Helen Akers
Helen Akers, a talented writer with a passion for making a difference, brings a unique perspective to her work. With a...
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