Brief Reactive Psychosis
An uncommon acute mental disorder precipitated by an event that causes intense psychological stress.
Episodes that are classified as brief reactive psychoses may last more than two hours but less than one month. Typical triggering events can be the death of a spouse or other loved one, combat trauma, financial disaster, or any other major event involving psychosocial stress. Brief reactive psychosis has a sudden onset, typically in late adolescence and early adulthood, and is characterized by delusions, hallucinations, incoherent speech, disorganized or catatonic behavior, and possibly aggressive or suicidal impulses. Although episodes of brief reactive psychosis occur in a short period of time, the degree of cognitive impairment during these episodes may be very severe, and often individuals with this condition must be prevented from acting in dangerously inappropriate or self-destructive ways. Complete recovery usually follows, however, and the patient is restored to his or her prior level of functioning.