Understanding the brain, uncovering secrets

If you enjoy thriller series and movies, you’ve likely heard the terms ‘schizophrenia’ and ‘psychotic episodes’ – Dahmer on Netflix is a perfect example of the physical manifestations of these psychotic disorders.

However, anybody suffering from these conditions acts differently – there is no ‘one size fits all’ diagnosis. That’s why neuropsychiatrists are required to identify and provide treatment as well as coping mechanisms for these mental conditions.

Okay, so you’re probably wondering, “But what is it, exactly, and how are certain people susceptible to psychotic disorders?

Let’s take a deep dive into its source – the brain.

Patients with bipolar are typically more inclined to be diagnosed with psychotic disorders. They are all caused mainly by structural brain abnormalities and neurochemical Imbalances.

This is presented in the following ways:

● They seemingly lose touch with reality.

● They are obsessively paranoid about impossible scenarios, such as:

○ Thinking that the TV is sending them secret messages.

○ Believing someone is stalking them or planning to kill them.

○ Experiencing intense hallucinations that they cannot distinguish from reality.

The Role of Neurotransmitters in Psychotic Disorders

Understanding the neurobiology behind these conditions is crucial in unraveling the complexities of the human brain and developing effective treatments for psychotic disorders.

A neurotransmitter is a tiny chemical messenger in the brain and nervous system. It helps different parts of the body communicate with each other.

Imagine your brain wants to tell your hand to move. Neurotransmitters carry this message from your brain to your hand, making it possible for you to move. They are essential for many bodily functions, including mood, sleep, and thinking.

For people suffering from psychotic disorders, neurotransmitters can become imbalanced. This means that the chemical messengers in the brain either send too many or too few signals.

Neurotransmitter Dysregulation

Neurotransmitter dysregulation of dopamine, glutamate, and serotonin are the underlying factors in the development of psychotic disorders.

● Dopamine: Too much dopamine activity can cause hallucinations and delusions in psychotic disorders. Antipsychotic medications often block dopamine receptors to reduce these symptoms.

● Glutamate: Glutamate stimulates brain activity. Problems with its regulation can disrupt thinking and cause negative symptoms like withdrawal and lack of emotion.

● Serotonin: Imbalances in serotonin are linked to both positive symptoms (hallucinations) and negative symptoms (withdrawal) of psychosis. Some antipsychotic drugs target serotonin receptors to help manage these symptoms.

A combination of genetic and environmental factors influences the development of psychotic disorders:

● Genetic Studies: Family, twin, and adoption studies show a strong hereditary component. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identify genetic variations, especially in genes involved in dopamine signaling, linked to increased risk.

● Environmental Influences: Early life experiences and environmental factors greatly impact the risk of developing psychotic disorders. Prenatal stress, infections during pregnancy, and childhood trauma such as abuse or neglect are associated with higher risks.

How To Diagnose and Treat Psychotic Disorders

Diagnosing psychotic disorders is difficult because symptoms like hallucinations and delusions overlap with other mental illnesses.

People describe symptoms differently, and cultural differences affect understanding. Accurate diagnosis needs detailed evaluation and ongoing assessment, making it hard to be precise.


Psychiatrists diagnose psychotic disorders through a comprehensive evaluation that includes a detailed patient history, mental status examination, and use of DSM-5 criteria.

They may also conduct medical tests to rule out other conditions and gather information from family and friends for a broader perspective.

Diagnostic tools like symptom rating scales and functional assessments help quantify symptom severity and understand the impact on daily life.

Treatment Options

Treatment for psychotic disorders primarily involves antipsychotic medications to manage symptoms, psychotherapy to improve coping skills, and supportive services like case management and psychoeducation.

At My Psychiatrist, we provide all of these services.

Understanding psychotic disorders requires unraveling the intricate interplay of genetic, neurochemical, and environmental factors.

With precise diagnosis and personalized treatment plans, individuals can manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for more information on bipolar and psychotic disorders. We are here for you – always.