Psychosis is a serious mental illness characterized by a violation of the ability to distinguish between fantasy and reality and to adequately assess what is happening. Furthermore, psychosis is a general term used to describe specific types of serious mental health problems. Any type of psychosis causes great harm to the life of the sick child. Psychosis, as a rule, creates problems with the organization of thinking, the correct use of language, the control of impulses – behavior according to social norms, the expression of feelings, and relationships with other people.
It is difficult to describe “typical” psychotic behavior because it can take a lot of different forms. One of the most obvious signs of psychotic behavior is hallucinations, in which the sick child sees, hears, touches, tastes, And smells what doesn’t exist. Another telltale sign is delusions – a misinterpretation of intentions or the meaning of what really exists. Similar (albeit less revealing) behaviors include coming up with words, laughing at things that are not funny or unpleasant at all, causing intense annoyance or no reason at all.
Hallucinations, delusions, and similar behavior make it possible to clearly distinguish children from psychosis. For example, upon hearing the story of Cinderella, a child who is not suffering from psychosis may dream of becoming a heroine and feel disgusted when he thinks of an evil stepmother. A child with psychosis may believe that she is Cinderella and that the evil stepmother is actually in this room.
Psychosis in Children
Psychosis in children can result from short- or long-term physical conditions, including drug use (for example, when starting or stopping steroid treatment), fever, meningitis, and hormonal imbalances (for example, increased or decreased thyroid function). ) is included. In most cases of psychosis due to temporary physical problems, seizures end when the problems resolve or subside. Sometimes, however, full recovery is not possible until several weeks after the underlying disease has healed, as the patient needs time to recover and adjust to reality.
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Although many types of physical illness can lead to psychosis, psychosis sometimes develops without such illness and is rapid or prolonged, or episodic over months or even years. Experts speculate that such psychoses are caused by biochemical abnormalities that may be present at birth or may be acquired from conditions such as drug or alcohol abuse.
Others seem to be born with constitutional abnormalities so severe that psychosis manifests itself spontaneously in the early stages and the disability persists throughout life. The reason for this is not clear. Experts are convinced that external stressors are never the only factor, and there is no conclusive evidence that they play a role when symptoms appear in childhood. Medical researchers continue to test the theory that genetic factors play a role in the onset of persistent psychosis.
How is psychosis in children diagnosed?
The child may need to be examined repeatedly over weeks or months by various professionals, such as a doctor who specializes in developmental diseases, a child psychiatrist, as well as a neurologist (a specialist in the nervous system), an otolaryngologist. (of a specialist) in diseases of the ear, throat, and nose. ) as well as specialists in speech and language (speech therapist).
Diagnostic procedures include a thorough physical and psychological examination, long-term observation of the child’s behavior, intelligence tests, hearing and speech tests.
The child may be admitted to the hospital for various studies of the central nervous system… If the child with psychosis appears to have an underlying physical health problem, diagnostic procedures may focus on identifying the root cause of the disease.
Treatment and prevention of psychosis in children
Brief episodes of psychosis caused by physical health problems resolve when the underlying illness disappears. However, severely affected children should consult a health care professional. Mental health – a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker dealing with psychotic episodes. Usually, only a few discussions are needed, although some children may need long-term therapy.
Also, a child who is experiencing a mental breakdown due to a stressful situation often requires short-term or long-term psychotherapy. In some cases, such children may be helped by short-term or long-term use of medication that compensates for perceived biochemical abnormalities.
Brief psychotic episodes associated with physical health problems can only be prevented if the causes are treated or prevented.
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Symptoms of Psychosis in Children
Movement disorder: numbness or sub-stupor, which manifests itself in the cold in children with wide eyes, the sore expression on the face, without blinking.
Manifestations of mental behavior are diverse. The most indisputable signs include hallucinations, which are expressed in the ability to see, hear, feel, or touch something that doesn’t actually exist. Another clear sign of mental illness in children is the presence of delirium, which is found in the misinterpretation of the meaning that actually exists. A child subjected to this condition begins to compose meaningless words, laughs at unpleasant things, and experiences undue irritation.
In children, the mental state is manifested in a decrease in clarity of consciousness, difficulty orienting to space, time, and one’s own personality. In sick children, autonomic and somatic disorders are strongly pronounced. Such symptoms of psychosis are considered positive, as they are added to the primary state of the psyche and disappear without a trace after adequate treatment. In some cases, negative disturbances occur that provoke serious social consequences. In infants, there is a negative change of personality and character traits, and often there is also profound destruction of the psyche.
Children with psychosis are characterized by passivity and lethargy. They are practically one-sided. Gradually, their state of emotional lethargy intensifies, the child becomes more and more isolated from others, becomes aggressively irritable, and rude. After a certain time, mental disorders appear, and thought processes are characterized by a lack of purposefulness and meaninglessness.
Often, children may experience reactive psychosis, also known as psychogenic shock. Reactive psychosis is a mental disorder that results from a child suffering severe psychological trauma. This form of the disease is characterized by the presence of three features that distinguish it from other types:
- the disease is always the result of a severe trauma of an emotional nature;
- is reversible (the severity of symptoms weakens over time, that is, the more time has passed since the day of injury, the less pronounced the symptoms);
- Manifestations of psychosis and traumatic experiences depend on the nature of the trauma, in other words, there is a psychologically understandable relationship between them.
Prevention and care
Prevention and care for children with reactive psychosis, first of all, is to eliminate the traumatic factor. Drug therapy is prescribed depending on the severity of symptoms and the characteristics of the state of the psyche. Prevention consists in protecting children from the effects of traumatic situations and incompetent upbringing, in which there is no unnecessary screaming.