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This chapter aims to introduce the different symptoms characteristic of a psychotic episode. The five major categories of symptoms are positive symptoms, negative symptoms, disorganized symptoms, affective symptoms, and cognitive symptoms. Two associated symptom categories associated are abnormal motor behavior and level of insight. Some more frequently occurring themes of delusions include persecutory delusions, erotomanic delusions, grandiose delusions, and somatic delusions. Hallucinations are the perceptual experiences that occur in the absence of an external stimulus. Negative symptoms represent things that have been taken away from an individual’s previous functioning, and reflect absences from the typical experience of most people. Avolition refers to a decrease in self-initiated activities and low motivation. Young adults experiencing psychosis may also experience symptoms of depression. Mania refers to a period of time in which an individual experiences expansive or elevated mood, or irritability, and excessive energy.
This chapter presents some general guidelines and considerations for interacting with a young adult in psychiatric crisis that will help guide our approach. It focuses on the knowledge and the skills that one has acquired to the point and speak more specifically about assessment of safety and intervention strategies to support and assist a young adult experiencing psychosis. It is not uncommon for young adults with psychosis to experience grandiosity, whether as a facet of their delusional system, or as a result of manic mood disturbance. Grandiosity may manifest in a variety of ways. The symptoms of psychosis may lead to a number of unusual behaviors. A relatively common pattern of bizarre behavior involves an element of hypersexuality. There are a variety of reasons that someone might behave in a way that seems unusual, including intoxication from drugs or alcohol, eccentric personality characteristics, or other mental health concerns.