Psychotic behaviors are typically symptoms of the disturbed state of mind of an individual who has lost touch with reality. These behaviors include disorganized speech, aggression, and expressions of unreasonable paranoia and fear. Depending on an individual's circumstances, psychotic behaviors may also include a refusal to bathe, failure to attend school or go to work, and a general decline in his or her ability to manage basic living tasks. Many individuals who experience psychosis also complain of hallucinations and hearing voices.
When a person is said to be psychotic, he or she is typically suffering from a mental illness. In some cases, drug use or withdrawal may also result in psychotic behaviors. Psychosis is a symptom of many different mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Occasionally, individuals who have undergone a significant shock, such as the loss of a loved one, may demonstrate these behaviors for a brief period of time.
Disorganized speech and difficulty with communication are often one of the more obvious psychotic behaviors and a sign to both mental health professionals and loved ones that an individual may be experiencing mental distress. While in psychosis, an individual may jump from subject to subject in conversation and may have difficulty making himself or herself understood to others. As an individual's mental condition deteriorates, so may his or her speech, and he or she may eventually simply speak in nonsensical words and phrases. This phenomenon is often called “word salad” by mental health experts.
Another common indication of psychosis is the inability of the affected individual to properly care for himself even if he has previously been able to live independently. A person may refuse to tend to his personal hygiene and may express no interest in correcting this problem even if friends and family point out that his appearance or body odor is offensive to others. The individual may also refuse to perform basic housekeeping tasks, such as cleaning, taking out the trash, or even preparing food for his own consumption.
Perhaps the most troubling of psychotic behaviors are those that stem from paranoia and delusions about others. An individual experiencing psychosis may believe that caregivers, family members, and friends are out to hurt her and may either become accusatory or violent toward these people. She may even attempt to harm herself. In such cases, it may be necessary to forcibly hospitalize or medicate the individual until her symptoms and behaviors subside.