Shared Psychotic Disorder

We are often very close with the ones we love and are intended to trust them for most extensive purposes. However, if our loved ones are plagued by the delusions of a mental disorder it may be hard for us to not believe them. Shared Psychotic Disorder deals with a close relationship or group that involve members eventually believing in the delusions held by one or more of the members. While the delusions may seem improbable to those outside the group, they are grounded in enough reality to be believable, especially when a deep trust is involved. Shared Psychotic Disorder begins when a person come is in constant close contact with someone who has become mentally ill. The otherwise healthy person will begin to believe in the same delusions that are plaguing the ill person, allowing them to manifest together and immediately halt any signs of progress.

Symptoms of Shared Psychotic Disorder

  • A delusion develops in an individual in the context of a close relationship with another person(s), who has an already-established delusion.
  • The delusion is similar in content to that of the person who already has the established delusion.
  • The disturbance is not better accounted for by another Psychotic Disorder (e.g., Schizophrenia) or a Mood Disorder With Psychotic Features and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.

Treatment of Shared Psychotic Disorder

Treatment methods have proven useful, but are often difficult as the affected person is usually the caregiver of the mentally ill member. However, these disorders can be dealt with, and the couples can be reunited after treatment has been proven successful. There are several types of treatment methods available, as well as several types of therapy that are useful in preventing relapse and aiding in the rebuilding of the family.

Treating shared psychotic disorder usually always involves a separation of those affected so they can begin separate and individualized treatment methods. After the separation period has been instilled and each member has undergone separate therapy methods, family building therapy is usually suggested in order to help rebuild and maintain a healthy relationship between the members. While it may be difficult to diagnose, especially if there is no third party to notice the delusions, refusing to undergo treatment will only allow the disorder to worsen and eventually take control of the patient’s mental state.

Symptoms usually subside within a few weeks, sometimes in both partners unless one has a more serious underlying mental disorder, and then further treatment will often be done together. Psychotherapy methods involve talking through these issues, creating coping methods and finding the initial reasons for the behavior. Family therapy is also suggested, in cases involving family members, in order to reestablish healthy relationships as well as bringing in other members to help navigate through this difficult situation and help prevent similar cases in the future.

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