13.5.1 Signs and symptoms of acute organic psychoses
Acute organic psychoses are characterised by sudden onset, usually over hours or days, where the person appears disoriented and struggles to make sense of their surroundings, and may exhibit ‘clouded’ thinking and distorted awareness, a fluctuating level of consciousness and poor memory recall. These symptoms can impact on the person’s relationships with others, increasing their social isolation and reducing the support they might receive from their community. People with acute organic psychosis may be alert and responsive to your questions, but may rapidly become drowsy and inattentive. Alternatively, they may fail to comprehend the questions put to them and appear disoriented and confused.
Diseases causing fever (such as chest infection or infection of the brain), head injury, fits, the excessive use of alcohol or other drugs, diabetes and high blood pressure can all be causes of acute organic psychosis. These conditions are usually reversible and short-lived, and can be cured by appropriate treatment.