Psychotic disorders

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    Last updated: July 2022

     

    Psychoses are characterised by delusions (the patient is convinced of things that are not real and not accounted for by the person’s cultural background), or hallucinations (the patient hears voices that do not exist) and behavioural symptoms (e.g. strange behaviour, agitation, mutism, opposition, fleeing). 

     

    Management includes psychosocial support and antipsychotic medication.
    Treatment efficacy and prognosis depend largely on the quality of the therapeutic relationship established with the patient and their family.
    Keeping the patient at home with outpatient follow-up is preferred if there is no risk of self-harm or harm to others, and if the family is capable of managing the disorder.

     

    Interpretation of psychotic symptoms vary according to the cultural context a Citation a. Hence the importance of working with an “informant” (in the anthropological sense of the word) when dealing with unfamiliar cultural contexts. . For example, psychotic disorders may be attributed to charms or to ancestor intervention. Therapeutic approach should take those beliefs into account. Patients are usually already under “traditional” treatments, this should not be seen as an obstacle to conventional medical treatment.

     

    Footnotes
    • (a)Hence the importance of working with an “informant” (in the anthropological sense of the word) when dealing with unfamiliar cultural contexts.