What Is a Delusion?
Delusions is defined as fixed, false beliefs that conflict with reality. Despite contrary evidence, a person in a delusional state can’t let go of their delusions. The term delusion has been derived from the Latin word “deludere” which means to deceive or trick. Often what one imagines and what really happens are very different; people suffering from delusions don’t make any distinction between what they imagine and what actually occurs.
The great irony of delusions is that despite the fact they’re often fueled by a deep desire to change reality, in practice they cause people’s beliefs about themselves and others to become more fixed.
Delusions are strange things-they can be an empowering force for some but lead them down a dangerous path at times when it comes with such firm conviction or lack thereof.
Features of Delusions
Delusions are defined as fixed, false beliefs that conflict with reality. Despite contrary evidence, a person in a delusional state can’t let go of their delusions. The term delusion has been derived from the Latin word “deludere” which means to deceive or trick. Often what one imagines and what really happens are very different; people suffering from delusions don’t make any distinction between what they imagine and what actually occurs.
According to what delusions mean, they are only considered if a person is completely convinced about what they believe in. If it’s seen that his or her belief doesn’t affect their daily life and what they do, then it wouldn’t be considered as a delusion.
Example of what is not considered as a delusion:
A mother believing her son to be the best football player in the world isn’t considered a delusion. Suppose if she claims that her son has been selected by Manchester United Football Club and he needs to leave for England immediately, then it would definitely be considered a delusion. Her perception of what really happened will have no impact on what she believes and what society thinks.
It might also happen that delusions may come and go periodically; varied factors can trigger or prevent one from deliberating about something. If we observe people who are suffering from acute mental disorders, they usually face paranoia or anxiety which leads them towards developing delusional beliefs that someone is out to harm them. The severity of the disorder can be measured by how long a person holds their delusional beliefs.
The delusions of a person are usually seen when there’s a history of mental illness in that family. People who suffer from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder usually experience delusions. Schizophrenia is an acute mental disorder which causes hallucinations or disturbed thoughts, often triggers paranoia and persecution complexes (the belief that someone is out to harm them/hurt you). A person with paranoid schizophrenia may see people plotting against him/her; he/she might also believe what others say about him/her isn’t true (delusions of reference).
There are three main categories of delusions: paranoid, grandiose, circumscribed. Delusional disorders are uncommon in comparison; they are usually seen in the elderly population. Since delusions can be set off by other factors like stress, substance usage…etc., it’s hard to say what triggers them and what doesn’t.
Grandiose delusions: someone who holds this kind of delusion might believe he is famous or an important person; he may even claim to possess supernatural powers. People with grandiose delusions often feel superior than others, what makes them a greater threat to society as well.
Delusions of persecution are more like what psychotic patients go through; they think someone is following them, that people talk about them behind their back…etc. They also might believe that others are trying to harm them or intentionally plot against them for no obvious reason.
Delusions of guilt are what most depressed people go through; they feel guilty about what has happened and what will happen, which makes them not take any positive steps in life. They think what is happening with them is what they deserve, or maybe what others want to do to get even for a certain event that occurred in the past…etc.
Psychotic disorders can be prevented from occurring if great attention is paid at an early stage. People suffering from severe depression might have something wrong with their brain so treating that disorder first could also help prevent other psychotic disorders later on.
Stress and substance usage can also trigger delusions; this actually happens quite frequently as well, especially among young adults who use alcohol or drugs excessively often
Symptoms of a Delusion A delusion is an unshakable belief in something untrue, or not true in the way the person experiencing it believes. Some common types of delusions include: * Delusions of grandeur-A person feels that they are a significant political figure, celebrity, or have some sort of special powers. * Grandiose delusions-They can be religious in nature (e.g., Jesus has chosen them to carry out some religious mission) and may feel like they have been put on earth for a divine purpose. * Symptomatic delusions-The most common type is when one feels that people around him/her are conspiring against them; what used to be considered as paranoid delusions are now classified symptomatically as delusional disorder if they are relatively brief and not extremely elaborate. These symptoms may manifest as what psychiatry calls bizarre delusions, which involve situations that could never occur in real life (e.g., nonexistent people plotting against the patient). Often what one imagines and what really happens are very different; people suffering from delusions don’t make any distinction between what they imagine and what actually occurs.
Though there are various types of delusions, what they all have in common is that the person experiences them as totally real at the time. A delusion of this type has a mood component attached to it. Delusions can be seen both in schizophrenia and mood disorders with psychotic features such as bipolar disorder.
Delusions are an extremely strange phenomenon because what you imagine or what happens are what matter most to a delusional individual; despite contrary evidence, a person suffering from delusions can’t let go off his/her thoughts. When one’s idea about reality contradicts what is real, one might end up living within their own constructed world-an illusionary reality from which it is often very difficult to escape. Delusions are what we all experience when we are asleep and dreaming. We don’t find it weird because what happens in dreams aren’t real-you may have dreamed about being chased by a monster, but when you wake up, the first thing you do is realize that what happened wasn’t real. But what if one of your delusions was what made you feel like what was happening to you was reality?
What causes someone to have delusions? Delusions are caused due to an interruption in normal brain functioning. Delusions usually take place during periods of mental distress or instability in an individual’s life; what differs from person to person is how these states will result in delusional thinking. Delusiones can also be brought on by certain physical conditions, drug use, or severe trauma. People experiencing delusions are usually in a heightened affective state-emotionally charged and emotionally sensitive (e.g., what they say really hurts what you’re feeling).
Types of Delusions
There are many types of delusions that an individual might suffer from like: persecutory type (a person thinks that he or she is being attacked), jealous (someone believes that his/her partner is cheating on them), erotomanic (someone believes that another person is in love with them), somatic (a person has a false belief about what’s wrong with his/her body) and grandiose (a person thinks that he or she is very important).
Erotomanic delusions are characterized by a person who believes that someone else has love or other strong feelings for them. The person could also think that he or she and the admirer will be together someday, even though there’s no evidence what so ever. Actually, this is what happened to me with my boyfriend(boyfriend at the time). I started becoming suspicious of him because he was always on his phone. So I had to go through his old messages in order to see what he was hiding from me. Until one day I found proof of our breakup in a text message sent from him to another girl. But what terrified me more than anything was what the girl replied back: saying “Yes! We should definitely meet.” And what’s even worse, they both knew what I looked like. I was so scared because what if someone saw them together? The girl would obviously have to lie about who she is seeing. What made it worse for me was that he didn’t reply back after what the girl said. So what I did next was go through his contact history on his phone and see what her number was and texting “I found out what you two were doing.” Like 2 weeks later they broke up but when we started dating again my delusions came back more intense than ever
One type of delusion is a grandiose delusion. This involves an unrealistic belief in one’s own abilities, power and knowledge. For example, the person may believe that they have supernatural powers or are famous when they are not known by anyone else. Likewise, they may think that they know what other people are thinking, or what God or religious figures want from them. Although many religious leaders may be considered delusional due to their beliefs (for instance if they claim to be God), what sets apart someone who has delusions from someone who is merely spiritual is how forcefully the individual adheres to their ideas despite evidence to the contrary. It is also important for professionals working with this population to make a distinction between what a follower believes about a religious figure and what a delusional person believes about themselves.
Individuals suffering from persecutory delusions believe they are being spied on, drugged, followed or slandered. An example is someone who thinks their boss has been adding a substance to the water cooler that makes people work harder and believes this will be disadvantageous for them in the workplace because it would mean an unfair advantage over other employees.
With this type of delusion, individuals might believe their partners are unfaithful. For instance, someone with this type of delusion might see the man in line at a grocery store as being an accomplice to some kind of love affair between themselves and their partner.
People suffering from jealous delusions believe they have been cheated on or that their partner is having an affair. An example is someone who thinks their partner has been having an affair with a co-worker at the office and they want to confront them about it.
Somatic delusions are the type of delusion most people think of when they hear that a person is delusional. A somatic delusion involves bodily sensations or functions, such as believing that there’s something foreign involved in your stomach or being convinced that your body is infested with bugs.
If you’re experiencing this kind of delusion, it may be possible for someone else to observe what you believe is happening; however, if the belief doesn’t involve what other people see, what you feel inside your body isn’t what really happened in reality (for example, hearing voices isn’t uncommon among those with schizophrenia). The lesson from this? If what you perceive is out of touch with what others tell you about yourself and what others observe firsthand regarding your behavior, what you believe just might be out of touch with what’s real.
The most common types of somatic delusions are:
– Delusions of alien control: A person holds the belief that they have been taken over by aliens, or an evil force, and are being controlled in some way. This is one of the rarest forms of delusion. In fact, a recent study on 1,092 people conducted in California concluded that 0.9% believed they had been taken over by aliens. Of this number, only 0.4% refused treatment for schizophrenia (a diagnosis which itself carries its own stigma). What makes these beliefs “delusional” is not that individuals experience sensations that occur as a result of their alien abduction; but rather what distinguishes these cases from other forms of schizophrenia is the belief that what most people would call a “kidnapping” is occurring.
– Delusions of being under surveillance: A person believes that they are being watched at all times (not just when they’re awake) by some sort of monitoring device or mechanical apparatus, such as cameras, microphones, GPS devices, etc. The explanation for why this happens varies from individual to individual. For example, the person may believe that it’s happening because he or she did something wrong and is being punished somehow; or maybe their behavior was misinterpreted by someone else so the government now has them under surveillance; or maybe there’s a conspiracy centered around them and everyone in their life is involved keeping tabs on what they’re doing. One of the most famous examples of this type of delusion is John Nash, a mathematician who was portrayed by Russell Crowe in the movie A Beautiful Mind. In addition to being a brilliant mathematician, he believed that there was an organization known as The Black Suits that were monitoring what he thought and what he did (even when he woke and slept).
– Delusions of guilt or sin: A person holds the belief that something bad has happened in their life; however what makes these beliefs “delusional” is not what happened to them, but how they explain what they experienced. For example, someone may believe that because they prayed for someone else’s death, what happened was actually their fault (they murdered them, even though what happened may have been a horrific accident). Or maybe someone believes that an illness is punishment for what he or she did to others in the past (this one’s often linked with paranoia and depression, according to recent studies).
– Delusions of grandeur: A person holds the belief that they’re wealthy, powerful, famous or otherwise superior to others around them. Some people hold this delusion because they possess certain talents or skills that make it seem like they are more important than what others think; while other people believe it because their delusions center on what they have accomplished or what power they believe God gave them. What distinguishes these beliefs from those held by politically powerful people who genuinely do feel superior is how the former feels threatened if anyone around them starts to overshadow what they envision about their importance.
– Delusions of infidelity: A person holds the belief that their partner (or spouse, depending on what type of relationship they’re in) has been unfaithful, or is having affairs with other people. This is perhaps the most common form of delusion among men and women experiencing symptoms related to schizophrenia and/or bipolar disease . For some reason this delusion specifically seems to plague married couples more than unmarried ones. The irony here is that reality tells us that committing adultery is a choice made by an individual; but deluded individuals feel as if they have no control over what’s happening and what others are doing behind closed doors .
Delusion vs. Belief
While delusions are often thought of as beliefs, what distinguishes one from the other is what a person can and cannot do. When somebody experiences what a delusion feels like, they believe what they’re experiencing to be true; but don’t have full control over what’s happening around them. This means that in cases where the belief/s associated with what a person thinks or feels conflicts with reality (for example, if one believes he’s married to an alien), he or she will act on the delusion by making choices strictly based on what they think happened – not reality.
The act of choosing against what you know to be true is what gives meaning to what we call “sanity.” The ability to choose between options A and B despite any emotional conflict that may exist within us is what makes us human. And what separates normal people from those who are delusional is what we do when presented with two options: reality and what we feel/believe to be true in spite of what’s actually happening.
– When a person experiences delusions, he or she doesn’t have full control over what they think and what they’re doing; but because they don’t know that what they believe isn’t real, it becomes a struggle for them as well . But here’s the problem (at least from my perspective): If you can’t choose what you want to do, how are you supposed to overcome what may seem like impossible odds? Shouldn’t there be something out there that somebody should be able to depend on? Something real?
Consequences of what happens when what’s real and what isn’t conflict with one another
Unable to distinguish what I’m thinking in my head from what may actually be happening, I experience a sensation that’s almost indescribable. It seems as if all the muscles in my body are tightening at once – including the muscles around my stomach area (the pain there is especially hard to put into words), and for some reason this leads me to start crying uncontrollably . These episodes usually happen when I feel like what I think doesn’t matter and those around me won’t take what I say seriously. Often times they result from situations where someone else holds what used to be “my” beliefs according to what he or she thinks happened
Mixed or Unspecified
One of the more interesting mental health disorders is an unspecified delusion. This disorder can be diagnosed when delusions don’t fit into one category and are not driven by a single theme or belief system, such as for example religious beliefs. Doctors may describe this condition as “unspecified” if it isn’t clear what type of delusional thought pattern they fall under or whether any specific diagnosis fits them at all.
One subtype of delusional disorder is paranoid. A person with paranoid delusion believes that other people or institutions are plotting against them (e.g., the belief that others want to hurt you). They become excessively suspicious and feel that others are “keeping things from” them, reading their mind, or trying to poison them. These delusions may encompass what psychologists call a grandiose self, in which the individual has inflated views of his or her importance or power.
– Paranoid schizophrenia is an example of delusional disorder with paranoia as the predominant feature
– The main goal for the therapist when working with these individuals is to reduce any sources of stress with the patient, and try to temporarily reduce their symptoms to a more tolerable level
– In order for this to happen, therapists must create what is called a “rapport” with these patients. A rapport is built through therapist credibility, relaxation techniques (to reduce anxiety), questioning techniques, and interaction between the therapist an patient
Hallucinations are sensory experiences that occur in the absence of real external stimuli. They can be simple sensations such as seeing flashing lights of different colors. Simple hallucinations are less common than complex ones. Complex hallucinations may involve hearing voices or seeing people who are not there (called auditory or visual hallucinations). However they may also have tactile, gustatory (taste), or olfactory (smell) hallucinations.
A person may hear what they consider to be an outside voice, or voices that seem to be coming from inside their body. They may feel like someone is touching them in a way that feels scary and painful (called tactile hallucinations). Some people believe that what they are eating or drinking has no taste, or smell, even though what they are consuming does have a distinctive flavor.
– These symptoms can occur with manic-depressive illness, schizophrenia, and severe anxiety disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder
Delusion is defined as fixed false belief associated with dysfunction of reasoning process despite evidence to contrary exists. Delusions fall into three categories: bizarre delusion which are usually psychotic, nonbizarre delusion which is considered to be irrational and what people would consider “normal” thinking, and delusional disorder (which fall in between those two categories)
– Delusional disorders are diagnosed by the presence of delusions that lead to impairment. Although a person’s thoughts or actions must become impaired for an individual to receive this diagnosis, there is no requirement for the symptoms to interfere with functioning at school or work or with social activities. Some people may have difficulty completing tasks at work if their delusions make it difficult for them to concentrate.
Researchers are not exactly sure what causes delusional states. It appears a variety of factors, such as genetics and mental health play into the onset of delusions in some people, but there is still much to learn about this fascinating phenomenon.
For years, scientists have been trying to figure out what causes a person’s delusions. They haven’t discovered the cause yet and there are many things that may contribute to it; genetic factors/biological factors, psychological issues or environmental circumstances such as drug use of abuse can all lead someone into delusional state.
It is scientifically proven that an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain can increase one’s likelihood of developing delusions. In other words, it has been concluded by scientists and researchers alike that there are many factors to consider when examining why some people suffer from schizophrenia as opposed to others who do not live with this mental disorder.
An abnormal functioning in a person’s brain could be what leads them down a path towards delusion-inducing madness like schizophrenia or depression; however, sometimes these anomalies may occur within different parts of the persons’ mind which would also lead them into making less sense than they usually should on their own accord without any outside interference such as drugs, alcohol abuse etc.
Sometimes, when two people live together and interact for a long period of time without much outside contact, they start to share false beliefs that conflict with reality.
When someone is experiencing delusions, their doctor tackles diagnosing the problem in three steps: a medical history, a physical examination, and lab work.
The rewrite improves the text by explaining what diagnostics are done to rule out other causes of delusion and making sure important information (such as “a physical exam”) are not missed
Referral to a psychiatrist for evaluation is necessary when there are no medical causes behind symptoms and the individual has delusions.
It’s important for anyone experiencing delusions to seek professional help. This can be especially challenging, however, since people experiencing delusions often don’t think of their beliefs as a problem because, by definition, the person experiencing delusions believes their experience to be fact. Consequently, it is often concerned loved ones who must bring the issue to the attention of a healthcare professional.
Managing our surroundings to suit delusions is the most effective treatment. For example, when somebody believes they are being followed in public, it’s best for them to be accompanied by a friend or family member at all times.