Scientists believe that approximately 1% of the US population suffers from a psychotic disorder. There are several different types of psychotic disorders and all of them can range in severity from mild to severe.

My Experience As A Psychiatrist Treating Schizophrenia, Psychosis, & Other Psychotic Disorders

I specialize in treating patients who were suffering from mild to severe psychotic disorders including schizophrenia and psychosis. As an expert in treating psychotic disorders in the Boston area, I know I can help you or your loved one. Please contact me today via telephone on (617) 932-1548 or email

Types of Psychotic Disorders

Most patients suffering from psychotic disorders experience mild or moderate symptoms. Patients suffering from other mental health illnesses can sometimes experience mild or moderate psychoses. For these reasons, it can be difficult for clinicians to initially diagnose a psychotic disorder or the type of psychotic disorder.

The primary psychotic disorders include: brief psychotic disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, psychotic disorder not otherwise specified, and delusional disorder. Psychotic episodes are also seen in major depression with psychotic features and bipolar disorder with psychotic features.

Symptoms of Psychotic Disorders

Scientists classify the symptoms of psychotic disorders into: positive symptoms, negative symptoms and cognitive symptoms. Positive symptoms include behaviors patients with psychotic disorders have but are not found in other people. Negative symptoms are much harder to differentiate than positive symptoms and include activities or abilities that people without psychotic disorders have but are missing in patients with psychotic disorders.

Cognitive disorders can be subtle and hard to detect but include impairments of normal, functioning abilities.

Examples of positive symptoms for psychotic disorders include: hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorders. Hallucinations can be voices that patients hear that no one else hears, or things that a patient sees, smells or feels that others nearby do not.

Delusions are defined as false beliefs that are not part of the person’s normal environment and do not change. A typical delusion involves a paranoid feeling that other people are trying to harm the patient, even if it can be proven that no threat exists.

Thought disorders often involve “disorganized thinking.” Family members and close friends or associates usually report this symptom as they find that the person is having trouble connecting their thoughts to activities. This can affect the person’s ability to undertake and complete common tasks.

Negative symptoms can include the loss of pleasure in daily activities that the person used to enjoy. Sometimes, the person withdraws from speaking some or completely, even when speaking would be required in social interactions.

Causes and Treatments

Psychotic disorders can have many causes. Stress is a known contributor to psychotic disorders, as are traumatic events. Psychotic disorders or episodes can also be caused, at least in part by other medical conditions (including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, stroke, malignancies, and infectious diseases such as malaria, endocrine diseases and autoimmune diseases.)

Some recreational and prescription drugs can contribute to, or cause, psychotic disorders or episodes. Recreational drugs that can contribute to psychotic disorders include LSD, cannabis, and methamphetamines.

Treating psychotic disorders is dependent on the proper diagnosis of the possible causes or contributing factors for the condition. For example, if a drug is contributing to the psychotic episodes, removal of the drug is paramount.

If another medical condition is contributing to the psychotic episodes, treatment of the primary medical condition is important. In these cases, removing the drug and treating the underlying condition may reduce or eliminate the spychotic episodes.

Scientific understanding of the causes of psychotic disorders has advanced in recent years. In particular, science has advanced our understanding of the roles stress and psychologically traumatic events play in the development of psychotic disorders. As our understanding of psychotic disorders has advanced, our understanding and development of the best, most effective treatments of these disorders has also advanced.

There have been some important advances in anti-psychotic medicines in recent years that can be helpful to patients suffering from a psychotic disorder. There is also new evidence that different kinds of therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy and family therapy, can be effective in helping to manage symptoms for patients.

If you think that you, someone you care about or someone near you may be suffering from a psychotic disorder, please contact me by email or call (617) 932-1548. You may also book an appointment with Dr. Brendel online with ZocDoc.

Here is an article in Ravishly entitled “Navigating The Delusions Of A Loved One” which features an interview with Dr. David Brendel, MD about dealing with a loved one suffering from delusions.