Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 13

Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering these questions. Write your answers in your Study Diary and discuss them with your Tutor at the next Study Support Meeting. You can check your answers with the Notes on the Self-Assessment Questions at the end of this Module.

SAQ 13.1 (tests Learning Outcomes 13.1 and 13.5)

Which of the following statements is false? In each case say why it is incorrect.

A  Acute psychosis always has an obvious cause.

B  A patient suffering from acute organic psychosis should be kept at home tied up because there is no risk of medical complication.

C  A patient who has recovered from psychosis should be encouraged to fulfil their responsibilities, like working or preparing food.

D  Criticising or embarrassing a person who is suffering from psychosis will help them stop thinking in strange ways.


A is false. Acute psychosis is an illness which may or may not have obvious cause. Commonly, it is associated with exposure to stressful situations.

B is false. Acute organic psychosis is usually caused by physical illness or brain damage. Immediately upon identification, the patient needs to be referred to a health centre or hospital.

C is true. People with psychosis should be encouraged to return to their work and responsibilities because this can help their recovery.

D is false. Treatment of psychosis involves treatment and support. Criticising or embarrassing a person is unlikely to help them and may well increase the distress they are already suffering.

SAQ 13.2 (tests Learning Outcomes 13.2 and 13.3)

Read Case Studies 13.1 and 13.2 again. Is there a difference between these two cases? Explain in what ways they are different.


The case studies of Mr Goitom and Mr Abebe are different from each other in a number of ways. The onset of Mr Goitom’s illness was very sudden and there was a rapid development of his symptoms: increasing aggression, sleeplessness and loud shouting, which are consistent with acute psychosis. In Mr Abebe’s case, the symptoms (being withdrawn, moody and inactive) developed gradually over a longer period and progressed slowly. This is consistent with chronic psychosis.

SAQ 13.3 (test Learning Outcome 13.4)

While doing your routine healthcare activities at a place where malaria is common, a man from the kebele told you that a woman in the neighbourhood appeared very confused following her fever. What do you think is the client’s problem, and how would you handle such a case?


The symptoms in this case are consistent with acute organic psychosis, but it is possible that malaria is the reason for her confusion. She should therefore be referred immediately to the nearest health centre for proper evaluation and treatment.

SAQ 13.4 (tests Learning Outcome 13.5)

A young man, who is an active member of the youth association in your area, comes to you and asks you to help one of his friends who has been behaving strangely, talking senselessly to himself. He has already been prescribed antipsychotic medication but this does not seem to be working. He also chews khat all day, drinks alcohol and smokes many cigarettes. How would you manage this case?


The young man described in this case has already been identified with chronic psychosis and his treatment has been initiated. However, a likely reason for treatment failure and the persistence of his symptoms may be his continued use of substances. There is strong evidence that cigarettes can affect the body’s ability to heal itself, while the heavy use of khat and alcohol are likely to reduce the effectiveness of his antipsychotic medication and aggravate his symptoms. In this situation you should warn the patient (and his family and friends) about the negative effects of khat and alcohol on a person with a psychotic illness. You should also enquire about the details of his treatment: is he taking his medication regularly (adherence to treatment), and has he experienced any adverse effects (suggesting a review of treatment)?

Summary of Study Session 13