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Symptoms and Definition of Delusional Disorder

Delusional Disorder is characterized by having nonbizarre delusions that last for at least one month.

People with Delusional Disorder can also experience hallucinations. However, auditory or visual hallucination, if they occur, should not be prominent. Tactile or olfactory hallucinations, if they occur, should be related to the delusional theme (eg. believing that one emits a foul odor and thinking that one smells it, or believing that one is infested with insects and thinking that one feels this).

A diagnosis of Delusional Disorder should not be made if:

  • Schizophrenia would be the more appropriate diagnosis. This would be the case when the individual has:
  • A Mood Disorder would be the more appropriate diagnosis. Although some people with Delusional Disorder can at the same time have episodes of a Mood Disorder, these episodes should be brief relative to the duration of the delusional periods.
  • The delusions are the direct result of a general medical condition or the use of a substance.

There are different types of Delusional Disorder based on the principal theme of the delusions:

Persecutory Type: The person falsely believes that he or she is in danger by being targeted in some way by others. This can include beliefs of being conspired against, cheated in some systematic way, spied on or followed, intentionally blocked from realizing one's long-term goals, or being poisoned or drugged.

Somatic Type: The person falsely believes that there is some very significant problem with their body or their health. This can include beliefs that they are suffering from some disease or infection, that certain body parts are disturbingly ugly or misshapen, or that they are emitting foul smells from their body.

Erotomanic Type: The person falsely believes that somebody else, usually of a higher social status (including a celebrity, or a superior at work), is in love with him or her.

Grandiose Type: The person falsely believes that they have some great and special talent, power, knowledge, or special relationship with another powerful figure. Examples of this include the belief that they made some incredibly important discovery, that they are an advisor to a world leader, or that they have a special mission from God.

Jealous Type: The person falsely believes that their romantic partner or spouse has been unfaithful.

Mixed Type: This is when more than one of the above themes are present, without any one of them predominating.


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