Long Term Treatment
People with psychotic depression are not always suffering from delusions or hallucinations. These episodes come periodically. In between episodes, psychotic depressives can gain help from cognitive behavior techniques. They can use talk therapy, journaling and talking to family members in order to help them distinguish their delusions from reality.
This takes time, support from family members and therapists. Getting into group therapy may also help the patient hear the stories of others and learn from them. Family members should also be involved in treatment as they may help the patient recognize when a delusional episode is beginning. They also can help a patient stay away from anything that may trigger an episode.
For example, Andrea Yates believed demons inhabited the body of her youngest baby and that her older children would grow up to be demons. She obsessively read the Bible. In her circumstances, getting religious material out of her home may have helped avoid the situation that lead to the murder of her children. She was also diagnosed with post-partum depression and advised not to have any more children.
According to The BeST Center, patients with any sort of delusions need to discover the common theme behind them. When this is identified, the patient can learn how to replace obsessive, negative thoughts, such as devils inhabiting family members, to positive coping strategies such as singing a song, going for a walk or calling a friend. The BeST Center focuses on treating schizophrenia, but psychotic episodes are similar in many types of mental illnesses, including psychotic depression.
In Yates’ case it can never be proven if cognitive behavioral therapy for psychotic depression could have helped her. But it certainly can help people with psychotic episodes by teaching them to know when to call for help.