What Is Affective Psychosis?

Someone suffering affective psychosis might develop a flat affect.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 02 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Affective psychosis is a psychological disorder where people experience a loss of contact with reality and experience mood disturbances as a result. “Affect” in the psychological sense refers to a person's emotional state, and in people with affective psychosis, mood disorders can develop. Bipolar disorder is one example of a psychiatric condition where affective psychosis can be observed. This term is used to refer to cases where the psychosis manifests primarily in the form of emotion and mood changes.

People who experience this condition may have disordered thoughts and an inability to fully connect with the world around them because of their loss of contact with reality. They can experience paranoia and delusions, such as becoming convinced that people are out to get them. They may develop a flat affect, where they seem unemotional and nonresponsive, or they can experience wild mood swings. Mania and depression can both be seen, with patients in a highly agitated state or a deeply unhappy one, and the time between mood changes can be very short.

Inappropriate emotional responses are sometimes seen in patients with this psychiatric problem. Patients may burst out in laughter at odd times or experience other emotional extremes. A lack of connection with the surrounding environment can distance the patient from people, as well, especially when affective psychosis comes with delusions about the people in the patient's life. This may cause patients to act out in a belief that they are defending themselves or others from harm.

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Treatment of affective psychosis requires determining the underlying cause. While it can be associated with mental illness, it can also be caused by brain injuries, medications, or issues like severe emotional trauma. The patient may be interviewed by mental health professionals, as well as being given a full medical screen to check for other causes. Once the underlying issue has been determined, it is possible to provide the patient with appropriate medications, including mood stabilizing medications and therapy.

When affective psychosis is severe, mood stabilizers may be tried immediately to see if it is possible to improve the patient's emotions as quickly as possible. Patients at risk of suicide or harming others may be hospitalized for monitoring as they undergo the diagnosis and treatment process. These cases are unusual and relatively rare; in most cases, people can receive outpatient evaluation while their affective psychosis is analyzed to determine what is causing it and to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

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Discuss this Article

burcidi
Post 1

I'm reading a novel right now where the main character suffers from affective psychosis.

He has the delusion that he is having an affair with a married woman. He believes that she loves him and is planning to leave her husband for him. In reality, he met this woman only once and she has no idea about his feelings for her.

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