My article on Bipolar and Psychotic Disorder published at the Royal Society for Public Health blog:
Just like physical illness, mental illness has many different symptoms. Proper diagnosis requires a qualified professional who will analyze all aspects of the symptoms to determine the most suitable course of treatment.
Mental illness requires a thorough investigative process for proper diagnosis. Bipolar and psychotic disorders cannot be self-diagnosed, as many of the symptoms occur in other mental health problems. However, there are some common indicators of psychotic and bipolar Disorder that should prompt a person to seek professional help.
Key Indicators of a Psychotic Disorder
- Hallucinations: The most well known symptom of a psychotic disorder is hallucinations.Hallucinations are perceptions in the absence of real-world stimuli. The brain will evoke a physical sensation of something that does not exist. Those suffering from Psychotic Disorder may hear voices, see visions, smell odours or experience unusual tastes in the mouth. In some cases, they may even feel the physical sensation of being touched.Because the brain is interpreting internal thoughts as physical reality, the person suffering hallucinations cannot distinguish what is real from what is imagined. They may not even be aware of the hallucination.
- Delusions: Similar to a hallucination, a delusion infiltrates a person’s way of thinking, rather than their physical perception. While a delusion may have some grains of truth, the person may have thoughts or ideas that have expanded into something that cannot possibly be real. As with hallucinations, the person is likely unaware they are experiencing delusions. They will convey peculiar, bizarre and eccentric ideas with absolute sincerity and a sense of unfounded logic.
- Unusual Speech and Behaviour: A psychotic disorder usually causes changes in a person’s speech patterns, such as rambling or incoherency. It may be difficult for the person to stay on track when trying to relate an idea or thought. Behavioural changes are also noticeable, such as a disregard for appearance or hygiene. It will be difficult, if not impossible for the person to engage in social functions, go to work, or handle routine daily tasks.
- Lack of Emotion: The person is noticeably detached from others emotionally. They appear cold and uncaring to others, and have difficulty maintaining relationships. Lacking empathy and understanding in their responses and interactions, they are emotionally isolated.