Psychotic disorders include severe mental disorders which are characterized by extreme impairment of a person's ability to think clearly, respond emotionally, communicate effectively, understand reality, and behave appropriately. Psychotic symptoms can be seen in teenagers with a number of serious mental illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder (manic-depression), schizophrenia, and with some forms of alcohol and drug abuse. Psychotic symptoms interfere with a person’s daily functioning and can be quite debilitating. Psychotic symptoms include delusions and hallucinations.

Delusion: A false, fixed, odd, or unusual belief firmly held by the patient. The belief is not ordinarily accepted by other members of the person’s culture or subculture. There are delusions of paranoia (others are plotting against them), grandiose delusions (exaggerated ideas of one's importance or identity), and somatic delusions (a healthy person believing that he/she has a terminal illness).

Hallucination: A sensory perception (seeing, hearing, feeling, and smelling) in the absence of an outside stimulus. For example, with auditory hallucinations, the person hears voices when there is no one talking.

For additional information see the following Facts for Families:
#49 - Schizophrenia in Children