Teen Delusional Psychotic Disorder Treatment

Teens who struggle with delusional psychotic disorder suffer from an illness that manifests as a single, inescapable misconception. The delusion they struggle with is so severe they feel as though they have to model their lives around it. This often leads to dangerous behavior. Teens who are delusional psychotic become so focused on their delusion they lack the ability to function or handle everyday life.

What Does Teen Delusional Psychotic Disorder Look Like?

  • Teens struggling with teen delusional psychotic disorder often report seeing people that don’t exist, smelling odors not present, or hearing voices speaking to them or within the ambient environment.
  • Most diagnosed teens have just one delusion at a time. Rarely, some many experience multiple delusions.
  • Teens with delusional psychotic disorder often appear to be living in their own world — an altered reality of sorts. They may believe they are more gifted than they are or that someone they don’t even know is deeply in love with them.

Signs of Teen Delusional Psychotic Disorder

Anger and irritability

Anger and irritability

Rapid behavioral changes

Rapid behavioral changes

Hallucinations or delusions

Hallucinations or delusions

Mood swings and shifts

Mood swings and shifts

Paranoia and anxiety

Paranoia and anxiety

Social awkwardness

Social awkwardness

Different Types of Delusional Psychotic Disorder

Grandiose Delusions: Teens with the grandiose form of delusional psychotic disorder believe they have special skills or abilities. They may think they are intelligent, or they may falsely believe they have superhero strength.

Erotomanic Delusions: Teens experiencing erotomania believe celebrities know who they are, and are paying particular attention to everything they do. They may claim a celebrity is in love with them or dating them.

Persecutory Delusions: Teens with persecutory delusions are overly cautious because they believe they or someone they care about is about to fall into harm’s way. They may go to great lengths to avoid the perceived source of harm.

Jealous Delusions: Jealous delusions lead teens to believe significant others are having an affair. This leads to unbridled jealousy and can cause them to lash out in frightening ways — including, in some cases, violence.

Somatic Delusions: Teens who suffer from somatic delusions believe they have a physical illness. There is often no proof such a medical diagnosis exists, even though physical symptoms can manifest. Somatic seizures are one example of this kind of delusion.

Mixed Delusions: Teens with the most severe forms of delusional psychotic disorder may rarely struggle with multiple subtypes. Subtypes may be directly related (such as having erotomanic delusions about a celebrity they think is about to come to great harm), or they may be completely different and unconnected.

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Teen Delusional Psychotic Disorder Treatment | Paradigm San Francisco

What Causes Delusional Psychotic Disorder?

Genetics: Researchers don’t yet understand why this happens, but some delusional disorders seem to be connected to ery specific changes in brain structure. One theory suggests that these differences are genetic in nature, meaning that teens may be more likely to become delusional if there is a family history of delusions from parents, grandparents, or siblings. However, it is critical to note that a genetic tie does not imply a guarantee. It simply represents a small increase in risk.

Environmental Factors: Trauma, social isolation, and physical isolation can trigger new or even first-time delusions, as can losing a sense (e.g., hearing or sight) or experiencing a major cultural shift. Being unable to understand language or culture can lead to fears that morph into a psychotic disorder. These environmental factors are more likely to impact someone who already has a genetic risk for developing teen delusional psychotic disorder.

Severe Stress: Stress doesn’t guarantee a person will have a psychotic episode, but it can trigger flares in sensitive patients. Teens who have a genetic risk are more likely to have their first delusional episode after a stress trigger.


of the US population has a delusional disorder, making this condition very rare.


of people who have a psychotic break go on to be diagnosed with a persistent delusional disorder.


of patients enjoy long-term recovery with just antipsychotics and therapy.

How Can I Help with Teen Delusional Psychotic Disorder?

Learn About Your Teen’s Disorder: Don’t deny your teen’s problem; it will only break whatever trust bond you have. Similarly, don’t challenge your teen when they tell you about their delusions, even if they‘re describing things that aren‘t real. They are very real to your teen, and it is more productive and safer to let them know you understand while having a non-judgemental conversation that encourages them to explain the details. Working through the details together may guide them out of their episode, letting them re-center their thoughts or even bring them back to reality. Even if you fail to convince them, it’s important they know you’re there to support and help them. Remind your teen you love them often, no matter how strange their mannerisms or claims become. Don’t ignore their delusions and don’t become defensive, either; just ask questions so they understand you care. Talk to your teen’s mental health professionals regularly and take their advice often.

Self-Care Matters for Parents: It’s very stressful to care for a teen with a chronic mental health disorder —. especially a delusional disorder. Keeping your teen in check takes time and energy and there will be setbacks in treatment. Your ability to deal with this process calmly hinges on your own ability to find outlets and sources of comfort that allow you to vent your frustrations. Find your own ways to practice self-love and self-care. After all, you matter, too!

Talk to a Professional: Treatment can be remarkably helpful for delusional teens and their families. Most teens require ongoing care. Treatment protocols may include ongoing medications, psychiatrists, and talk therapists, as well as specialists to address any biological or genetic element. Treating teen delusional psychotic disorder isn’t easy; it often takes time for therapists to better understand your child’s psychosis and create a plan. Seek treatment as soon as possible.

What Types of Teen Delusional Psychotic Disorder Treatment Are Available?

The most effective treatment protocols for teen delusional psychotic disorder are medication and therapy. Teens who believe in their delusions are often resistant to treatment, so it may take time to guide your teen back to reality. Some individuals stop having delusions altogether after a few months of teen delusional psychotic disorder treatment; others learn to recognize them and work around them.

Talk Therapy

It is important for teens struggling with a delusional psychotic disorder to understand that what they are experiencing isn‘t real. However, the process for achieving this goal isn’t as simple as just letting them know; it needs to be handled sensitively so as to avoid driving them further into their delusions. Paradigm‘s therapists work closely with each teen to help them come to this realization on their own terms, in their own time. Talk therapy offers a chance for objective views and discussion, letting teens separate themselves from their delusions. The goal is to empower teens to develop stronger reality boundaries that help them to recognize when delusions are impacting their ability to cope.


Teens with delusional psychotic disorder are commonly prescribed antipsychotic medications. These drugs help reduce delusions and may make it easier for them to manage dangerous side effects and stress levels associated with their delusions. Teens who use medication sleep better, feel less anxious, and experience less depression on a daily basis.

There are several classifications of antipsychotic medications. Categories include conventional antipsychotics, traditional antipsychotics, and newer forms of atypical medications. Doctors may recommend pairing these with antidepressants, benzodiazepines, or even certain anti-seizure drugs that show a remarkable ability to reduce delusional thoughts.

Alternative Treatments

Teens undergoing talk therapy often find family therapy helpful. This step is important because it helps the family better understand the teen’s condition so they can work toward creating a more supportive home environment. Other adjunctive therapies include sports, art, aromatherapy, meditation, and a wide variety of relaxation techniques.

Teen Delusional Psychotic Disorder Treatment at Paradigm San Francisco

Paradigm San Francisco is nestled into the heart of nature by the San Rafael Bay. We keep treatment groups small to ensure every guest receives individualized treatment at the level he or she needs it most. Residential programs take teens out of the home, which can be uncomfortable at first; however, it also provides a fresh start while keeping teens safe. Most teens progress well.

Focused Treatment

Treating teen delusional psychotic disorder requires a complex treatment plan. The staff at Paradigm San Francisco will work closely with your teen to gain a strong understanding of their thought patterns and beliefs. Then, we use this information to craft a teen delusional psychotic disorder treatment plan empowering realization and a re-centering on reality. Discovering that the reality you thought was real is actually false can be intensely stressful and upsetting; just imagine if you woke up tomorrow and found out your strongest beliefs were false. One of our biggest goals is to help teens cope with these feelings while they learn how to become capable of identifying irrational thoughts.

Family Involvement

Teens with delusional disorders need family support. It is important for family members to understand that ignoring or attacking delusions can make them worse. Teens who are challenged may develop new delusions of paranoia or even come to believe family members want to harm them, and thus, are lying to them about the delusions. Paradigm works closely with families to teach everyone how to communicate with the delusional teen during psychotic episodes.

“ This is a top-notch organization with extremely talented therapists, clean and safe
facilities and a staff that genuinely cares about its patients. Our teenaged son was quite honestly a lost cause - or so we thought. He had a dual-diagnosis and was suffering from depression, bi polar disorder and was self medicating with marijuana and pain pills. Now, as a direct result of the people at Paradigm, he is doing so very well. He is clean and sober and is an active participant in his life! “

– Brian T.

Frequently Asked Questions about Teen Delusional Psychotic Disorder

I’m a parent. I’m worried my teen may be experiencing delusional psychotic disorder. What do I do?

Please know you do not have to handle your teen’s disorder alone. Teen delusional psychotic disorder comes with alarming symptoms that are at times extremely alarming. Your first step is to make an appointment with your doctor or pharmacist for initial evaluation and diagnosis. Until you get help, do your best to be supportive, but make sure you are taking care of yourself, too. Find your own healthy methods of coping with stress and frustration.

My teen refuses to be treated. What do I do?

This is really common! A lot of teens refuse teen delusional psychotic disorder treatment. They truly believe their delusions are real and fear the “help” being offered. It’s important you never challenge your teen’s beliefs; instead, talk through them and always remember that they are very real to your teen. It’s okay to offer objective reactions and even to say you don‘t understand — it’s not okay to call your teen a liar or demand they stop talking about them. The more your teen trusts you, the easier it will be for them to question their own version of reality. If you think you need more help, talk to your teen’s healthcare professional. An intervention may be needed.

Talk to your teen’s healthcare professional about your teen’s disorder. They’ll help you find ways to coax your teen into therapy or, in severe cases, they will help you stage an intervention.

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