James talks to Dr Joanne Ferguson about psychosis and how early recognition, assessment and management of such patients ensures the safety of both patient and those around them.
Summary Writer: Linda Wu
Editor: Bruce way
Interviewee: Joanne Ferguson
Joanne Ferguson is a Clinical Associate Lecturer in Psychiatry and Addictions at Croydon Community Health Centre, Concord Clinical School. She is a Specialist Psychiatrist for Drug Health Services at Rozelle and Concord Hospitals.
With Dr Joanne Ferguson, Staff Specialist in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Concord Clinical School and Croydon Community Health Centre, New South Wales, Australia
Patients with psychotic symptoms can present in many ways with a variety of possible underlying aetiologies to consider. Early recognition, assessment and appropriate management of such patients is important to ensure the safety of both the patient and those around them.
Psychosis is difficult to define but is considered to be a constellation of symptoms involving a radical change in functioning and distorted sense of reality. For example, this can include beliefs that are not objectively sustainable in the cultural context, including those of a persecutory or extreme nature, hearing/seeing/smelling things that other people can’t. This can be associated with disordered thinking, poverty of thought and disordered and impulsive behavior. Delusions are culturally abnormal beliefs that are held with an unshakeable conviction and are objectively unsustainable.
You are the evening junior doctor and have been asked by nurses to see Mrs Wells, a 56-year-old lady who they state is growing increasingly agitated. Mrs Wells initially presented with pneumonia 2 days ago and is receiving intravenous antibiotics, on a background of schizophrenia. This evening she is tearful, combative and states the nursing staff are trying to poison her.
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