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Acute and Transient

Psychotic Disorders
Presented By : Dr. Karrar
Moderator : Dr. M. Amir


In late 19th century, Kraepelin divided functional psychosis

into manicdepressive psychosis and dementia praecox.

However after Kraepelins dichotomous classification of

functional psychosis, many authors kept on showing their
dissatisfaction with such a classification and kept on
describing an acute psychotic illness which was different
from manic-depressive psychosis and dementia praecox.

There were several reports, from several different parts of

the world, of occurrence of certain psychotic states other
than schizophrenia and MDP described by different names.
: Bouffee Delirante
: Motility Psychosis
Cycloid Psychosis
Reactive Psychosis
Scandinavia : Psychogenic psychosis
Schizophreniform Psychosis

America : Remitting Schizophrenia

Good Prognosis Schizophrenia
Hysterical Psychosis
Acute Schizoaffective Psychosis
Japan : Atypical Psychosis
Africa : Acute Primitive Psychosis
Acute Paranoid Psychosis
Transient Psychosis
West Indies : Acute Psychotic Reaction
India : Acute Psychoses of Uncertain Origin
Hysterical Psychosis
Acute Psychosis without Antecedent Stress
Acute Schizophrenic Episode

Amentiaa psychotic disorder with remitting course and

favorable outcome, originally described by Theodor
Meynert (1833 to 1898).

A psychotic illness with acute onset characterized by

confusion and perplexity; agitation; rapidly changing, vivid
hallucinations and delusions; anxiety; and apprehension.

An association with physical illness and exhaustion was

noted in some patients. Full recovery occurs in a few weeks
or months

Cycloid psychosis
A psychotic disorder with acute onset and good prognosis
but frequent recurrences, characterized by confusion,
mood-incongruent delusions, hallucinations, overwhelming
anxiety, deep feelings of happiness or ecstasy, motility
disturbances of akinetic or hyperkinetic type, a particular
concern with death, mood swings, and rapid change in
symptoms within an episode.
Two variants : confusional - contrasting phases of confused
excitement and stupor
: motility psychosis - contrasting phases
of hyperkinesis and akinesis.

A third variant, anxiety-elation psychosis, was introduced

by Karl Leonhard (19041988).

The diagnosis of cycloid psychosis is still used by German,

Scandinavian, and other European psychiatrists and was
influential for the formulation of acute and transient
psychotic disorders in ICD-10.

Bouffe dlirante
A psychotic disorder with acute onset without previous
psychiatric history. The episode remits completely with no
residual symptoms.

The episodes are characterized by delusions, hallucinations,

depersonalization and derealization, confusion, mood
change, and changing symptoms during the course of

Episodes are not due to organic or substance use.

The diagnosis is still used by French-speaking clinicians in

Europe, West Africa, and the Caribbean.

The concept of bouffe dlirante was influential in

formulation of the ICD-10 acute and transient psychotic

Due to its common occurrence in Africa and the Caribbean,

it is also categorized as a culture-bound syndrome in the

Psychogenic or reactive psychosis

A psychotic disorder with acute onset after external stress.

Compared with schizophrenia, the onset is more likely to be

acute and later in life. Premorbid adjustment tends to be
better than in schizophrenia. Prognosis is better than

There are more affective and confusional symptoms and

fewer bizarre symptoms, and there is less family history of

Diagnoses of psychogenic or reactive psychoses were

popular among Scandinavian psychiatrists.

The reactive or psychogenic psychosis was especially

influential in the formulation of the third edition of the DSM
(DSM-III) brief reactive psychosis diagnosis, which, in DSMIV and DSM-IV-TR, was replaced by brief psychotic disorder.

The change was partly motivated by the observation that

many cases of brief psychosis are not precipitated by a
marked stressor and, hence, are not reactive.

Nonetheless, the DSM-IV and DSM-IV-TR distinguish

between brief psychotic disorder with and without marked
stressors and indicate that brief psychotic disorder with
marked stressor is equivalent to the brief reactive

Schizophreniform psychosis or disorder

Gabriel Langfeldt (19371966)

A condition with sudden onset after an identifiable

precipitating factor and good outcome in an individual with
well-adjusted premorbid personality.

The patients often present disturbance of mood and clouding

of consciousness.

The term, but not the concept, was adopted by the DSM-III as
a nonaffective psychotic syndrome with schizophrenic
symptoms but a duration of less than 6 mos.

The concept of schizophreniform in the latter sense was

perpetuated in the later editions of the DSM.


Ladislas von Meduna (18961964) in 1939

A syndrome characterized by acute onset of confusion,

nightmare or dream-like quality of all perceptions, extreme
fear and anxiety, delusions, and visual hallucinations.

The prognosis is generally good with full recovery.

Meduna proposed an endocrinological explanation for the


Hysterical psychosis

Marc Hollander and Steven Hirsch in 1964.

A psychotic episode with sudden and dramatic onset

related to a profoundly upsetting event in the context of a
hysterical personality.

depersonalization, and disorganized behavior.

The episode seldom lasts longer than 13 wks.



Common features of these historical entities were:

acute or sudden onset
unstable, variable, fluid and florid symptomatology
volatile polymorphic content
fear or prominent affective symptoms
association with a clear precipitant
good premorbid adjustment
rapid and complete recovery
These syndromes did not fit into descriptions of affective or
schizophrenic disorders.

Historical development of the terminology of acute and transient

psychotic disorders


ATP is a new entrant to psychiatric nosology and ICD-10

concept of ATP has limited validity.

ATP came to be recognized as a disorder in ICD-10 in 1992.

The confirmatory evidence for the validity of ATP came

from the international initiatives in the form of WHO multicentered collaborative studies IPSS(International Pilot-study
of schizophrenia), DOSMeD (Determinants of Outcome of
Severe Mental Health Disorders) and CAP(Cross-cultural
study of Acute Psychosis)

IPSS (International Pilot-study of

schizophrenia (1968- 1970):

This was a nine-country study on schizophrenia

(i) Whether schizophrenia existed in different parts of the world?
(ii) What were the common/differing clinical presentations?
(iii) What was the course and outcome among different cultures?

This study yielded certain findings that were important for

discussion on ATP:
(i) That a substantial proportion (26%) of schizophrenic subjects
had good outcome in the form of only one episode; and
(ii) That patients from developing countries had better outcome.

DOSMeD (Determinants of Outcome of Severe Mental

Health Disorders) (1978-1980):

WHO-led and -funded study done in 10 countries including

both the developing and developed countries.

Salient findings relevant to the discussion on ATP were:

There were a group of patients who had non-affective
psychosis and which remitted completely. These were
called as non-affective, acute, remitting psychosis (NARP).
Incidence of such NARP cases was 10 times higher in the
developing countries in the DOSMeD data.
These patients from developing countries exhibited a
benign course at 2 years follow-up.



CAP (Cross-cultural study of Acute Psychosis) (19801982):

This study was an off-shoot of DOSMeD study done in 14

centers and 7 countries.

Main objectives of this study were to know if there are:

(i) Acute psychotic states that can be defined, which are
descriptively different from schizophrenia and MDP? And
(ii) How are acute psychoses related to psychological and
physical stress?

1004 were included and data was analyzed.

Main findings showed that:


41.2% patients showed schizophrenic symptoms, whereas

20% showed affective symptoms and 35.3% exhibited
other psychoses.


41.7% showed stress close to onset.


There was marked prevalence of patients from below

average socio-economic status.


2/3 patients remained well with no relapse at 1 year.

e) Outcome in patients of acute psychosis with

schizophrenic symptom was similar to those with only
affective symptoms.

Taken together, the findings of these three major WHO

studies provided strong evidence in favour of occurrence of
acute onset psychotic disorders that were different from
both schizophrenia as well as MDP and formed the basis for
the ICD-10 category ATP (F23).

Sources of uncertainty in the nomenclature and nosology of

ATP lied in the issue of the relationship of ATPs with
schizophrenia and manic-depressive psychosis.


Quest to separate ATP from schizophrenia and MDP was
complicated as there were questions about the biological
distinctiveness of schizophrenias and MDP.

While the relationship of ATP to schizophrenia or MDP was

under question, the relationship between schizophrenia and
affective disorders, the two major psychotic conditions,
itself has been a matter of debate. It is becoming
increasingly clear that we cannot distinguish satisfactorily
between these two illnesses.

Rudin E. To inheritance and Neuentslehung of Dementia Praecox. Berlin:

Springer; 1916.
Powell A, Thomson N, Hall DJ, Wilson L. Parent-child concordance with respect
to sex and diagnosis in schizophrenia and manic-depressive psychosis. Br J
psychiatry 1973;123:653-8.
Abrams R, Taylor MA. The genetics of schizophrenia: A reassessment using
modern research criteria. Am J Psychiatry 1983;140:171-5.

Several studies on schizophreniform disorder, which is a

prototypical syndrome of ATP, have yielded varying results.
It has been considered to be closely related to affective
illness in some studies and to Schizophrenias in other group
of studies.
Fogelson DL, Cohen BM, Pope HG Jr. A study of DSM III schizophreniforM disorder.
Am J Psychiatry 1982;139:1281-5.
Taylor MA. Schizo-affective and allied disorders. In: Post RM, Ballenger JC,
editors. The Neurobiology of Manic-Depressive Illness. Williams and Wilkins:
Baltimore; 1984.

According to some family genetics study ATP is genetically

distinct from MDP and that there is genetic overlap
between ATP and schizophrenia and schizophrenic
Makanjuola RO, Adedapo SA. The DSM-III concepts of schizophrenic disorders and
schizophreniform disorder. Br J Psychiatry 1987;151:611-8.
Coryell W, Tsuang MT. DSM-III schizohreniform disorder:comparison with schizophrenia and
affective disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1982;39:66-9.
Beiser M, Fleming JAE, Iacono WG, Lin T. Redefi ning the diagnosis of schizophreniform
disorder. Am J Psychiatry 1988;145:695-700.
Das SK, Malhotra S, Basu D. Family study of acute and transient psychoticdisorders:

Some studies also suggested that there is poor link

between shizophrenia and ATP.
Chavan BS & Kulhara P. A clinical study of reactive psychosis. Acta psychiatrica
Scand-inavica, 1988; 78: 712-715.

ATPD differs significantly from BSAD on various relevant

levels, such as gender (more female), age at onset (older),
development of the full symptomatology (more rapid),
duration of the symptomatology (shorter), acuteness of
onset (more acute), preceding stressful life-events (more
frequent) and longterm prognosis (better). It is concluded
that ATPD and BSAD are different nosological entities.

The relation of acute and transient psychotic disorder

(ICD-10 F23) to bipolar schizoaffective disorder, Journal of Psychiatric Research 36 (2002) 1651


ATPD do not have a designated place in the DSM.

Many of the cases of ICD-10 acute and transient psychotic

disorder would be categorized as schizophreniform disorder, brief
psychotic disorder, or psychotic disorder not otherwise specified
(NOS) in DSM.

Brief psychotic disorder (BPD), which is characterized by

presence of psychotic symptoms for less than 1 month duration,
is equivalent to the ICD-10 ATPD of less than one month duration.

Schizophreniform disorder, which requires minimum of 1 month

for active symptoms to appear after the first noticeable change
in behavior or functioning and allows a duration limit for the
symptoms to a maximum of 6 months.

psychotic disorder NOS includes presentations of psychotic

symptoms for which there is inadequate information to
make a specific diagnosis or symptoms that do not meet
full criteria for a specific psychotic disorder.

DSM-III and DSM-III-R had a diagnosis of the brief reactive

psychosis diagnosis, defined as a psychotic episode lasting
less than 1 month that was preceded by a marked stressor


Acute and transient psychotic

industrialized settings.





Incidence was ten times higher in developing countries,

compared with industrialized countries

Two times higher in women, compared with men.

The annual incidence rates per 10,000 were 0.49 in men

and 0.88 in women in developing countries and 0.04 in men
and 0.10 in women in industrialized countries.

Age of onset is in the early to mid-20s in the developing

countries and in the mid-20s to mid-30s in industrialized
CTP 9 edition,

Susser E, Varma VK, Malhotra S, Conover S, Amador XF. Delineation of acute and
transient psychotic disorders in a developing country setting. BrJ Psychiatry
Susser E, Fennig S, Jandorf L, Amador X, Bromet E. Epidemiology, diagnosis and course

The most common specific disorder in the group of ICD-10

is acute polymorphic psychotic disorder without symptoms
of schizophrenia(2/3 -1/2 cases).

ATP cases are reported to be more frequently belonging to

lower socio-economic status and rural areas.

Stress preceding the onset was seen in about 60% of ATP

patients and stress was more common among female.

History of non-specific, short-lasting fever.

A summer peak
Susser E, Varma VK, Malhotra S, Conover S, Amador XF. Delineation of acute and
transient psychotic disorders in a developing country setting. BrJ Psychiatry
Susser E, Fennig S, Jandorf L, Amador X, Bromet E. Epidemiology, diagnosis and course
brief psychoses.
Am Misra
J Psychiatry
1995b;152:17438. PJ. Onset of acute psychotic
S, Varma VK,
AK, Das
S, Wig NN, Santosh
states in India: A study of sociodemographic, seasonal and biological factors. Acta

Little is known about the etiology of acute and transient

psychotic disorders.

Higher risk of acute transient psychotic disorders and a lower

risk of schizophrenia and mood disorders in the first-degree
relatives of probands, compared with schizophrenia probands.

It is hypothesized that ATP may be an environmentally induced

psychotic condition superimposed upon an underlying
vulnerability to psychosis.

Early-life brain insult may lead more often to schizophrenia

and later-life insult may lead to ATP. The severity of brain insult
where ATP may be associated with less severe brain insult.




Acute and transient psychotic disorders are characterized

by three typical features
suddenness of onset (within 2 weeks or less)
presence of typical syndromes with polymorphic (changing
and variable) or schizophrenic symptoms
presence of associated acute stress (stressful events such
as bereavement, job loss, psychological trauma, etc.).
The onset of the disorder is manifested by an obvious
change to an abnormal psychotic state. This is considered
to be abrupt when it occurs within 48 h or less. Abrupt
onset often indicates a better outcome. Full recovery occurs
within 3 months and often in a shorter time (a few days or

The general (G) criteria

G1 There is acute onset of delusions, hallucinations,
incomprehensible or incoherent speech, or any combination
of these. The time interval between the first appearance of
any psychotic symptoms and the presentation of the fully
developed disorder should not exceed 2 weeks.
G2 If transient states of perplexity, misidentification, or
impairment of attention and concentration are present,
they do not fulfil the criteria for organically caused clouding
of consciousness as specified for F05, criterion A.
G3 The disorder does not satisfy the symptomatic criteria for
manic episode (F30), depressive episode (F32), or recurrent
depressive disorder (F33).

G4 There is insufficient evidence of recent psychoactive

substance use to satisfy the criteria for intoxication (F1x.0),
harmful use (F1x.1), dependence (F1x.2), or withdrawal
states (F1x.3 and F1x.4). The continued moderate and
largely unchanged use of alcohol or drugs in the amounts
or with the frequency to which the individual is accustomed
does not necessarily exclude the use of F23; this must be
decided by clinical judgement and the requirements of the
research project in question.
G5 There must be no organic mental disorder (F00F09) or
serious metabolic disturbances affecting the central
nervous system (this does not include childbirth). (This is
the most commonly used exclusion clause.)

A fifth character should be used to specify whether the

acute onset of the disorder is associated with acute stress
(occurring 2 weeks or less before evidence of first psychotic
F23.x0 without associated acute stress
F23.x1 with associated acute stress.
The change of the disorder from a non-psychotic to a
clearly psychotic state is further specified as either abrupt
(onset within 48 h) or acute (onset in more than 48 h but
less than 2 weeks).
Six categories of acute psychoses are presented in ICD-10

F23.0 Acute polymorphic psychotic disorder without

symptoms of schizophrenia
A. The general criteria for acute and transient psychotic
disorders (F23) must be met.
B. The symptomatology is rapidly changing in both type and
intensity from day to day or within the same day.
C. The presence of any type of either hallucinations or
delusions, for at least several hours, at any time since the
onset of the disorder.

D. Symptoms from at least two of the following categories,

occurring at the same time:
(1) Emotional turmoil, characterized by intense feelings of
happiness or ecstasy, or
overwhelming anxiety or
marked irritability;
(2) Perplexity, or misidentification of people or places;
(3) Increased or decreased motility, to a marked degree.
E. Any of the symptoms listed in Schizophrenia F20, G1.1
and G1.2 that are present, are only present for a minority of
the time since the onset, i.e. criterion B of F23.1 is not
F . The total duration of the disorder does not exceed three

F23.1 Acute polymorphic psychotic disorder with

symptoms of schizophrenia
A. Criteria A, B, C, and D of acute polymorphic psychotic
disorder (F23.0) must be met.
B. Some of the symptoms specified for schizophrenia (F20.0 F20.3) must have been present for the majority of the time
since the onset of the disorder, but not necessarily meeting
these criteria completely, i.e. at least any one of the
symptoms in F20, G1.1a to G1.2g.
C. The symptoms of schizophrenia in B above do not persist
for more than one month.

F23.2 Acute schizophrenia-like psychotic disorder

A. The general criteria for acute and transient psychotic
disorders (F23) must be met.
B. The criteria for schizophrenia (F20.0 - F20.3) are met, with
exception of the duration criterium.
C. The disorder does not meet the criteria B, C and D for
acute polymorphic psychotic disorder (F23.0).
D. The total duration of the disorder does not exceed one

psychotic disorder
A. The general criteria for acute and transient psychotic
disorders (F23) must be met.
Relatively stable delusions and/or hallucinations are
present, but they do not fulfil the symptomatic criteria for
schizophrenia (F20.0 - F20.3).
The disorder does not meet the criteria for acute
polymorphic psychotic disorder (F23.0).
D. The total duration of the disorder does not exceed three

F23.8 Other acute and transient psychotic disorders

Any other acute psychotic disorders that are
unclassifiable under any other category in F23 (such as
acute psychotic states in which definite delusions or
hallucinations occur but persist for only small proportions of
the time) should be coded here. States of undifferentiated
excitement should also be coded here if more detailed
information about the patient's mental state is not
available, provided that there is no evidence of an organic
F23.9 Acute and transient psychotic disorder,


Other forms of acute psychoses have been observed in

both traditional and developing countries, with high
prevalence in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Mezzisch and Lin have suggested that the whole group of

culture-bound syndromes should be classified as acute and
transient psychotic disorders, although this is justified only
for a very few such as amok (dissociative episode with
persecutory ideas and aggressive behaviour from
Malaysia), shin-byung (Korean dissociation and possession),
and spell (trance state in southern United States).



There are no laboratory tests for acute and transient psychotic

disorders or brief psychotic disorder.

Auditory evoked potential studies in patients with cycloid

psychosis recorded P300 peaks over the left hemisphere,
similar to normal controls. In contrast, in patients with residual
schizophrenia, P300 peaks are located over the right
hemisphere. A higher P300 amplitude, compared with normal
controls, was noted in the cycloid psychosis patients,
suggesting a higher level of arousal.

Increased hemispheric blood flow during the psychotic episode

with return to normal after remission. There was a direct
relationship between the severity of symptoms and arousal,
and the degree of increase in blood flow, on the other.

Studies of schizophrenia have consistently shown evidence

of enlarged ventricles and dilated cerebral fissures, patients
with cycloid psychosis show little or no evidence of such

Hypothalamic-pituitary axis abnormalities in subsets of

female patients with recurrent atypical psychoses who are
more likely to experience episodes at the time of
menstruation and parturition


persistent delusional disorder: acute polymorphic psychotic

disorder without symptoms of schizophrenia is changed to a
diagnosis of persistent delusional disorder or other nonorganic
psychotic disorder if the illness lasts more than 3 months.

Schizophrenia: acute polymorphic psychotic disorder with

symptoms of schizophrenia is changed to ICD-10 schizophrenia
if the episode lasts more than 1 month.

mood disorders: Presence of a full mood syndrome that meets

the ICD-10 criteria for a manic or a depressive episode excludes
diagnosis of acute and transient psychotic disorders

Delirium: acute and transient psychotic disorders may be

associated with confusion and perplexity, making it difficult to
distinguish these disorders froms.

Drug or alcohol intoxication or withdrawal:

temporal relationship between the onset of psychosis and
the substance use may be helpful in differentiating a
substance-induced psychotic episode from a nonsubstance-induced one. Symptoms that persist for many
days after all traces of the substance are eliminated from
blood and urine support diagnoses of acute and transient
psychotic disorders or brief psychotic disorder.
Psychotic disorder due to medical illness:
psychotic episodes have been reported in a number of
medical conditions, including head trauma, cerebral anoxia,
epilepsy, and endocrinological disorders such as hyper- or


Acute and transient psychotic disorders, by definition, have a

favorable early coursefull remission within 1 to 3 months.
CTP 9th edition

Duration of episode among non-affective acute psychoses had

a bimodal distribution with a point of rarity between the
cluster of symptoms where 80% patients had a duration less
than 28 weeks and 20% had a duration of more than 1 year.
Susser E, Varma VK, Malhotra S, Conover S, Amador XF. Delineation of acute and transient
psychotic disorders in a developing country setting. BrJ Psychiatry 1995a;167:216-9.
Susser E, Fennig S, Jandorf L, Amador X, Bromet E. Epidemiology,diagnosis and course of
brief psychoses. Am J Psychiatry 1995b;152:1743-8.

acute remitting psychosis had a modal distribution of 2-4

months which is larger than 1-3 months given in ICD-10 for
Mojtabai R, Varma VK, Susser E. Duration of remitting psychoses with acute onset:
Implications for ICD-10. Br J Psychiatry 2000;176:576-80.

Findings of these studies provide data for typical duration of

ATP episodes which is upto 28 weeks and that is definitely
longer than was recognized in the ICD-10.

In a short-term (5 years) follow-up study of ICD-10 ATP

cases, it was found that majority (75%) had good outcome
in the form of complete recovery and no residual symptoms.

Female gender, presence of stress at onset and absence of

schizophrenic symptoms predicted good outcome.

In a long-term 20-year follow-up study of WHO CAP study up

to 82% patients had an excellent outcome with no relapse
and no residual symptoms.
Rozario A, Malhotra S, Basu D. Acute and Transient Psychotic disorders: A followup study. Unpublished MD thesis: PGIMER, Chandigarh; 1999.
Malhotra S. Twenty year follow up of WHO CAP study cohort. Unpublished 2000

In a one-year follow-up study of ATPD revealed a diagnostic

change in about half (48%) of the patients, most often to
either schizophrenia (15%) or affective disorder (28%).
Jorgensen P, Bennedsen B, Christensen J, et al. Acute and transient
psychotic disorder: A one-year follow up study. Acta Psychiatrica
Scandinavica, 1997;96: 150-154.

diagnostic change was seen from ATP to schizophrenia in

15% and from ATP to affective disorder in 28% cases.
Jorgensen A. Long term course of acute reactive paranoid psychosis. ActaPsychiatr
Scand 1995;71:30-7.

Diagnosis was stable in 87% cases

Jorgensen P, Bennedsen B, Christensen J, Hyllested A. Acute and transient
psychotic disorder: A one-year follow up study. Acta Psychiatr Scand

Only a minority of first-hospitalized patients with ATPD

develop a severe social impairment after three to seven

Patients with a severe social impairment at follow-up were

characterized by higher means in the total score of the
negative syndrome and the depressive syndrome at
discharge from the first hospitalization. Therefore,
persisting negative and/or depressive symptoms in
patients with ATPD may predict an unfavorable outcome in
of and
a chronic
outcome of first-admitted
patients with
acute and transient psychotic disorders (ICD-10:F
Focus on relapses and social adjustment; Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci (2003) 253 : 209215

recurrence rate was found to be of 46.6% on 8-year followup study, and 35% on 5-year follow-up study.
Rozario A, Malhotra S, Basu D. Acute and Transient Psychotic disorders: A
follow-up study. Unpublished MD thesis: PGIMER, Chandigarh; 1999.
Malhotra S, Gupta N, Gill S. Recurrence in acute and transient psychosis:
Paper presented at the 13th World Congress of Psychiatry. Cairo,
Egypt;2005 Sept. 10-15

Recurrence in the DOSMeD cohort of ATP cases was 22% at

5 years and 11.76% at 12-year follow-up.
Susser E, Fennig S, Jandorf L, Amador X, Bromet E. Epidemiology, diagnosis
and course of brief psychoses. Am J Psychiatry 1995b;152:1743-8.
Mojtabai R, Varma VK, Susser E. Duration of remitting psychoses with acute
onset: Implications for ICD-10. Br J Psychiatry 2000;176:576-80.

International follow-up studies have shown that cultural

factors can influence the course and prognosis of acute
psychotic disorders.

In 1979, the World Health Organization compared the

course of schizophrenia (295), psychotic depression, mania,
and other psychoses in different cultures, using the ICD-9
criteria for the diagnoses. The outcome for the
schizophrenic group was better in emerging countries than
in the industrialized world


Short-term treatment
Acute psychotic syndromes require early hospitalization in
either an inpatient psychiatric unit or a crisis centre. They
are psychiatric emergencies.
The decision to admit to hospital is taken in order to make a
careful clinical evaluation, to separate the patient from his
or her environment, to provide a reassuring setting, and to
prevent any suicidal or aggressive tendencies.

Antipsychotic drugs are prescribed. Some clinicians wait for

a day or two before starting neuroleptic therapy in order to
eliminate an organic cause and prescribe benzodiazepines
antipsychotic treatment starts immediately.

The choice of antipsychotic drug depends on the clinician's

experience and the clinical features.

In cases of major anxiety or agitated behaviour, sedative

neuroleptics such as chlorpromazine, loxapine, or
levomepromazine are chosen, or zuclopenthixol acetate is
used as a short-acting depot antipsychotic.

Parenteral administration may be required if the patient

refuses oral medication, or if a rapid effect is required
because the patient is seriously uncooperative or is too
dangerously disturbed.

Predominance of delusions and hallucinations indicates a

high-potency antipsychotic agent as haloperidol or

In patients experiencing first-episode psychosis, olanzapine

had a risk-benefit profile significantly superior to that of
Olanzapine Versus Haloperidol Treatment in First-Episode Psychosis(Am J
Psychiatry 1999; 156:7987)

Benzodiazepines may be given to potentiate the action of

the neuroleptics.

psychotherapy (realityadaptivesupportive) are indicated
depending on the state of the patient and his environment,
with individual, family or rehabilitation care.

Continuation treatment
The effectiveness of psychopharmacotherapy is usually
manifested in the first 6 weeks, with improved sleep,
regression of agitation, recovery from anxiety and delusion,
and finally disappearance of the psychotic features.

When there is no recovery or improvement either another

antipsychotic drug should be used or the dosage of the first

Worsening of the symptoms, serious side-effects, or a poor

response to pharmacotherapy are the main indications for
electroconvulsive therapy.

If mood disorders or cyclic episodes occur, treatment with

antidepressants, mood stabilizers (lithium or valproate), or
an anticonvulsant drug (carbamazepine) may be indicated.

Care must be taken to distinguish between a postneuroleptic depression and the development of a
(schizo)affective disorder.

Prevention of recurrence
The possibility that psychotic symptoms may re-emerge
has to be borne in mind during the first 2 years of followup. Low-dosage pharmacotherapy must be maintained for 1
or 2 years after recovery. During this long-term follow-up,
periodic assessment and effective clinical care with social
and psychological therapy are essential.
New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry

Most guidelines recommended antipsychotic maintenance

treatment to be continued for at least 1 year.
Gaebel W, Weinmann S, Sartorius N, Rutz W, McIntyre JS. Schizophrenia practice
guidelines: international survey and comparison. Br J Psychiatry.


ICD-11 is currently scheduled for presentation to the World

Health Assembly, WHOs governing body, in 2015.

The Working Group on the Classification of Psychotic

Disorders (WGPD) is recommending that the diagnostic
focus be on its sudden onset, brief duration, and high
variability/fluctuation of psychotic and affective symptoms
(ie, polymorphic clinical presentation).

The WGPD is recommending that the subcategory F23.0

(Acute polymorphic psychotic disorder without symptoms of
schizophrenia) be retained as the clinical guideline for
ATPD, and the delusional subtype (F23.3) be incorporated
into the revised category Delusional disorder.

The WGPD is recommending that the present ICD-10

categories F 23.1 (Acute polymorphic psychotic disorder
with symptoms of schizophrenia) and F 23.2 (Acute
schizophrenia-like psychotic disorder) be collapsed into
Unspecified primary psychotic disorders if duration of
disorder is less than 4 weeks.

If duration is more than 4 weeks, schizophrenia should be


ATPD in ICD-11 as in ICD-10 allows up to 3 months of

symptom duration.


ATP is a descriptively valid entity on the basis of onset,

duration, course and outcome. ATP presents with cross
sectionally prominent psychotic, affective, confusional

Diagnostic criteria particularly duration of episode given in

ICD-10 is short and needs to be changed to 6 months at

There is suggestive evidence of genetic distinctiveness of


Schizophrenia symptoms in ATP and in schizophrenia

appear to have shared genetic liability.

Environmental factors such as fever, childbirth, seasonality,

low SES, stress, rural living, seem to be involved in
triggering ATP.

Course and outcome of ATP is different from that of

schizophrenia or of affective disorder.

Except for recurrent course, there seems to be minimal

overlap of ATP with affective disorder.


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Thank you