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Psychiatr Clin North Am. 1998 Dec;21(4):895-904.

Atypical psychosis.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, USA. michael.smith@hsc.utah.edu


When one considers the 100 billion or so neurons that constitute the central nervous system, along with the thousands (average of 10,000) of synaptic connections for each neuron, in addition to the growing list of neurotransmitter agents and our growing awareness of the complexity of the glial "support" structures, it is quite remarkable that serious malfunctions in this extremely complex system do not occur more often. Psychosis, in its various forms, is one manifestation of disturbed functioning. It is hoped that practitioners recognize psychosis as a complex symptom of a complex organ system. Patients who present with psychosis ought to receive a thorough evaluation to ensure an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Failure to accurately determine the cause of a patient's psychosis likely leads to the wrong treatment. Patients who fail to respond as expected should be considered for a thorough reassessment in order to ensure an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Psychosis is a symptom that is not at all unique to a specific diagnosis. As discussed previously, many pathologic states may result in psychosis, and the presentation of the psychotic symptoms may be further influenced by cultural, social, and psychological factors.

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