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Delusions

Delusions are firmly held beliefs that do not correspond to a person's reality, cannot be reasoned with, and are out of keeping either in form or intensity with the kinds of beliefs that would be shared by most other members of the person's cultural group.  Delusions are a form of psychosis.

    Bizarre delusions are beliefs that are totally implausible and outlandish. Examples would include believing that one's internal organs have been replaced by recording devices, or that one's actions are being remote-controlled by aliens.

    Nonbizarre delusions involve scenarios that could conceivably happen in real life, such as being conspired against, having a serious illness, or one's partner being unfaithful. But the point is that these beliefs will be delusional for a given person when they are clearly untrue, there is no evidence to back them up, and yet the person is not even willing to consider that they may be mistaken.

Some common types of delusions include:

    Paranoid (ie. persecutory) delusions:  In this type of delusion, individuals are convinced that they are being shunned, pursued, menaced, targeted, conspired against, or that their safety is being threatened by others.  This may range from vague ideas that others are gossiping about them, following them or staring at them in menacing ways, to elaborate theories of being the target of malicious conspiracies involving mafia or government agencies, or that cameras and other recording devices have been installed in their homes to spy on them.

    Grandiose delusions:  Here, individuals falsely believe that they are endowed with 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, that they have a special mission from God, or that they are in fact a famous person or a deity. These delusions can often make use of religious themes, but in these cases the belief must go way beyond what is normally accepted within the person's particular religion.  Grandiose delusions are one of the more common forms of psychosis in a Manic Episodes, though they can occur in other conditions as well.

    Nihilistic delusions: This involves the fixed belief that oneself, other people or the entire world do not exist, are dead and destroyed, or are coming to an end.  A similar delusion, sometimes called a delusion of poverty, involves the false belief that one has been or will be bereft of all material possessions.  Nihilistic delusions are different than paranoid delusions, for here one does not see oneself as being intentionally targeted or pursued by others. These sorts of delusions tend to be a common form of psychosis related to Major Depressive Episodes, though they can occur in other conditions as well.

    Somatic delusions:   These involve the fixed belief that there is some very significant problem or derangement with one's body or health. This can include beliefs that one is suffering from some disease or infection, that certain body parts are disturbingly ugly or misshapen, or that foul smells are being emitted from one's body. More bizarre forms of somatic delusions can include the the idea that vital organs have been removed or replaced, or that foreign objects or organisms are existing inside one's body.

    Erotomanic delusions: 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.

    Delusions of reference:  This type of delusion involves individuals believing that publicly disseminated information, like things said on television, radio or billboards, or lyrics in popular songs, are in fact messages meant specifically for them.  

    Thought broadcasting:  Here, individuals believe that their thoughts can be heard or read by other people.

    Delusions of control:  These involve the belief that one's thoughts or actions are being controlled by an external source.

 

Overview

Hallucinations