Psychotic Disorders

Also known as: mental disorders, delusions, hallucinations.

What are psychotic disorders in children and teens?

Severe mental problems that interfere with a child or adolescent’s ability to think clearly, respond emotionally, communicate normally, have unusual perceptions (hallucinations), have delusions (a false, fixed, odd belief), understand reality and behave appropriately, are known as psychotic disorders.

Psychotic symptoms are seen in children and adolescents with schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder and some forms of alcohol and drug abuse.

What causes psychotic disorders?

Often, psychotic disorders are the result of a complex web of underlying genetic, hereditary, psychological, and environmental factors. Sometimes it’s secondary to an underlying medical condition like a brain tumor, brain infection, blood salt imbalance (and other metabolic disorders), seizure disorder and many others.

What are psychotic disorder care options?

Most youth will need multiple interventions to manage symptoms, comprehensive community programs, medications, psychotherapy, family support, vocational and rehabilitation assistance, specialized educational programs, inpatient and/or residential treatment.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 11/19/2019 4:12:15 PM

Psychiatry for Children

The Pediatric Psychiatry team at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital uses a multidisciplinary and family centered treatment approach for a variety of behavioral disorders and conditions.

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Weekly Support Programs

​F.O.C.U.S. Program

8 week program. This group therapy program is designed for children ages 7 to 17 with behaviorial issues, including but not limited to ADHD. The weekly sessions teach innovative techniques to assist children with managing feelings, developing organization skills, maximizing their concentration abilities and socialization skills. Learn more.

Social Skills Group

8 week program. Children and teens ages 7 to 17 are invited to join this small discussion group to learn how to make, cultivate and maintain friendships. Participants will learn basic conversational skills, and discuss the use of appropriate humor, how to electronically connect with others, and how to manage disagreements. Learn more.

Calm Kids

8 week program. Calm Kids is a weekly group therapy course designed to teach children strategies on how to take control over anxiety symptoms. Children will learn how to cope with fears and worries, identify anxiety triggers, how to relax the mind and body and maximize their self-confidence. Learn more.

Pain Management Group

8 week program. This program is specifically designed to empower children ages 7-18 through complex sensory experiences. Each session is created to teach participants evidenced-based techniques to better manage pain and improve overall quality of life. Learn more.

Teen Sleep Group

8 week program. This program is designed for teens ages 13-16 experiencing difficulties related to sleep, including daytime sleepiness, trouble waking in the morning, difficulty falling asleep and waking in the middle of the night. The goal of this group is to give teens the tools and strategies they need in order to get more sleep and better quality sleep. Learn more.

Learn more about

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is an uncommon but severe, serious and disabling chronic psychiatric disorder where children and young adults interpret reality abnormally, have strange thinking/feelings and unusual behavior and emotions. Learn more

Bipolar Disorder

Please see Mood and Anxiety Disorders for further information.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

After a threatened or actual catastrophic incident children and adolescents may experience ongoing difficulties and symptoms which are called post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Learn more

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is a form of therapy and counseling that is conducted by a mental health professional, for example a psychologist, a licensed mental health counselor, social worker or a psychiatrist. Learn more

Family Therapy

Family and group therapy are both forms of psychological counseling that involve multiple participants and can take many forms. Families can all go to therapy together to improve communication and address conflicts. Learn more

Psychiatric Evaluation

A psychiatric evaluation is an evaluation process with a mental health professional, designed to diagnose and treat (using both medications and other therapies), emotional, behavioral or developmental conditions or disorders. Learn more