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What is a Delusion?

What is a Delusion?
Guest Post

What is a Delusion?

Delusion refers to a situation in which a person loses touch with reality and develops beliefs that are contrary to reality. Delusions often occur as a result of neurological or psychiatric problems. delusional disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar It is a typical feature of psychotic diseases such as disorder and paranoia.

In delusional disorder, individuals appear to defend their false beliefs with certainty or conviction. It is noteworthy that these beliefs are not real, and even if they are proven, the person's belief does not change. Additionally, delusions may be irrational, bizarre, or impossible. For example, a person may believe that he or she is being followed or poisoned by someone.

What is Delusional Disorder?

Delusional disorder is a long-known disorder in the field of psychiatry and was formerly called paranoid disorder. It is fundamentally characterized by a belief system that has no reality and contains intense thoughts that can negatively affect the individual's life. This condition is often associated with paranoid thoughts such as being deceived, being followed, or having enemies.

Types of Delusional Disorder

Delusional disorders are divided into different types depending on the theme of the delusion experienced by the person. Each type represents a particular belief in the person's mind, and these beliefs can sometimes be disconnected from reality. Let's learn more about the different types of delusional disorders.

  1. Erotomanic Delusional Disorder: People with erotomanic delusional disorder believe that a famous or important person is in love with them. With this belief, the person may engage in behaviors such as communicating with and following this famous person.
  2. Grandiose Delusional Disorder: People with grandiose delusional disorder view themselves as powerful, valuable, and possessing a high level of knowledge. They believe they have great abilities or an important discovery. These beliefs are often fueled by the judgments of others that do not align with reality.
  3. Jealousy Delusional Disorder: People with this type of delusional disorder believe that their spouse or partner is unfaithful to them. This belief can remain strongly in a person's mind even without logical evidence. This can cause serious problems and insecurities in relationships.
  4. Persecution Delusional Disorder: People with persecutory delusional disorder believe that someone or something else is mistreating them, spying on them, or trying to harm them. These beliefs can cause the person to constantly complain and blame others.
  5. Somatic Delusional Disorder: People with somatic delusional disorder believe that there is a physical problem or medical condition with them. For example, they may think they are experiencing symptoms such as parasites or a bad smell. These individuals may resist receiving treatment and refuse medical help.
  6. Mixed Delusional Disorder: People with mixed delusional disorder have more than one delusional belief. A person may be affected by two or more of the above-mentioned types of delusions. This can lead to a complex and complicated life.

Delusional disorders can negatively affect individuals' quality of life and make daily functions difficult. Therefore, if an individual exhibits delusional symptoms, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are important. Professional support and psychotherapy can help people with such problems and improve their quality of life.

What are the Symptoms of Delusional Disorder?

Delusional disorder is a psychiatric condition in which a person has unrealistic beliefs. The most obvious symptom in this case is that the person believes these delusions are real. However, symptoms may differ in each individual. Here are common symptoms of delusional disorder:

  1. Anxiety or depression: Individuals with delusional disorder may commonly experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. This may occur due to the intensity of unrealistic beliefs and daily difficulties experienced.
  2. Feeling of being abused: When people experience delusional disorder, they may believe that people around them are abusing them. This can create a sense of distrust and constant suspicion in social relationships.
  3. Anger and violent behavior: Anger and violent behavior can frequently be seen in individuals under the influence of delusions. Beliefs that are disconnected from reality can lead to uncontrolled reactions.
  4. Doubt about the loyalty or reliability of friends: People with delusional disorder may be suspicious of the loyalty and reliability of the people around them. This situation may cause fractures and ruptures in social relationships.
  5. Attributing threatening meanings to well-intentioned words or events: Individuals under the influence of delusions may sometimes perceive well-intentioned words or events as threats. This situation may cause the person to misunderstand the people around him and experience distrust.
  6. Constantly holding a grudge: Individuals with delusional disorder may constantly harbor feelings of hatred and hostility due to their unrealistic beliefs. This can lead to tensions and conflicts in social relationships.
  7. Readiness to respond and react to perceived adversity: Individuals experiencing delusional disorder may be constantly ready to respond and react to perceived negativity due to their unrealistic beliefs. This situation can turn into constant stress and anxiety in daily life.

The symptoms of delusional disorder may vary from person to person, and other symptoms such as sleep problems and difficulty concentrating may also occur. It is important for individuals suffering from delusional disorder to consult a specialist for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

What Causes Delusional Disorder?

The influence of genetic factors plays a decisive role in the emergence of delusional disorders. Delusional behavior is more likely to occur, especially in individuals with a family history of psychotic disorders. Genetic components may increase susceptibility to these disorders in individuals.

Biological factors are associated with abnormalities in the brain. Many studies show that imbalances in neurotransmitters contribute to the development of delusional thoughts and behaviors. In particular, abnormalities in the dopamine system can cause delusions.

One of the psychological factors is the traumas experienced. Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop as a result of violent events or traumatic experiences that people have been exposed to and can lead to delusional thoughts. Additionally, delusional disorders may occur in people who are under long-term stress.

The impact of environmental factors cannot be ignored. Factors such as social isolation, insecurity, jealousy, and lack of self-confidence can weaken an individual's connection with reality and contribute to the emergence of delusional thoughts. Delusional disorders are more common in people who have limited or impaired relationships with the outside world.

The causes of delusional disorders are complex and multifactorial. They can occur through a combination of genetic predisposition, biological and chemical imbalances, psychological traumas and environmental factors. Therefore, it is important to consider all these factors affecting the individual and adopt a supportive treatment approach.

Treatment options are available for individuals with delusional disorder, and these treatments often include medication and therapy. Medication can help correct chemical imbalances and relieve symptoms, while therapy can help restructure an individual's perception of reality and develop healthy thoughts and behaviors.

How Is Delusional Disorder Diagnosed?

The specialist doctor focuses on the symptoms and if a physical cause cannot be found, he may refer the person to a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists and psychologists evaluate a person for psychotic disorders using psychotherapy methods. During this process, they may also interview family members and friends about the person's delusions and symptoms, as this information can be important in confirming the diagnosis and creating a treatment plan.

Delusional disorder can sometimes be confused with other mental health problems. For example, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder Disorders such as may also show similar symptoms. Therefore, it is important to consult a specialist for an accurate diagnosis.

To diagnose delusional disorder, specialist doctors act by observing certain criteria. These include belief in one's delusions, social and functional impairment, persistence of symptoms, and other psychotic symptoms.

After a holistic assessment is made to diagnose delusional disorder, an appropriate treatment plan can be created. Treatment may often include psychotherapy, medication, or both. The therapy process aims to support the person in understanding their symptoms, learning coping strategies, and living a healthy life.

How Is Delusional Disorder Treated?

Treatment of delusional disorder may involve a number of different methods. The most effective treatment usually involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Psychotherapy helps a person understand and change their thought patterns, beliefs, and behaviors. This is often accomplished using a form of therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps a person question their delusions and change their irrational thoughts. It also strengthens coping skills by reducing a person's anxiety level.

Medication may be used to control the symptoms of delusional disorder. Antipsychotic medications are a commonly used treatment and can reduce symptoms such as false beliefs, hallucinations, and paranoid thoughts. The use of these drugs should be carried out in consultation with a specialist and under regular monitoring.

However, some people with delusional disorder may be resistant to medication. In this case, alternative treatment methods and supportive treatments can be used. For example, the use of family therapy can provide additional support to treatment by improving and supporting communication between the patient and family. Joining support groups for individuals with delusional disorders can also be helpful in sharing experiences with others and getting support.

Treatment for delusional disorder can take time and differ for each individual. Treatment under the constant guidance and support of a specialist plays an important role in reducing symptoms and in the person's recovery process. Cooperation and patience between the patient and his family are also very important during the treatment process.

Psychotherapy for delusional disorder

Psychotherapy is a method of therapy used to help individuals with delusional disorders. During this treatment process, the psychologist or psychiatrist works with individuals to identify and understand their distressing feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Psychotherapy helps people develop thoughts compatible with reality by questioning false beliefs and delusions in their minds.

The effect of psychotherapy in the treatment of delusional disorder can be evaluated from several aspects. First, the therapy process helps individuals understand their symptoms. Symptoms of delusional disorder include false beliefs, hallucinations, and thought disorders. Psychotherapy allows people to learn what triggers these symptoms and how they can manage them.

Additionally, psychotherapy teaches individuals a variety of strategies. These strategies help individuals cope with their delusions and false beliefs. Techniques used in the therapy process include cognitive restructuring, reality testing, and relaxation exercises. These methods enable individuals to manage their uncontrolled thoughts and become more in tune with the real world.

However, psychotherapy not only treats symptoms but also addresses underlying causes. The causes of delusional disorder can be complex and often arise from a combination of factors. Psychotherapy aims to identify root causes by investigating individuals' past experiences, stressors, and emotional difficulties. In this way, the treatment process becomes more effective and permanent.


Psychologist Eylül SAKA