Delusional Disorder

Delusional Disorder

Delusional Disorder

Delusional disorder is a mental health condition characterized by the presence of delusions —fixed false beliefs held with absolute certainty, despite strong evidence to the contrary. These delusions are usually inconsistent with a person’s cultural rules.

Prevalence

Delusional disorder tends to develop in mid to later life and is more common in women than it is in men.

Schizophrenia vs Delusional Disorder

Unlike schizophrenia, mood symptoms in delusional disorder tend to be brief or absent, and hallucinations are not usually present. If they are, they are often minimal.

Symptoms of Delusional Disorder:

Delusions can be bizarre or non-bizarre in content. Non-bizarre delusions are beliefs that involve situations that could occur in real life, such as being harmed, poisoned, deceived, or conspired against.

Diagnosis of Delusional Disorder:

There are seven subtypes of delusional disorder based on the content of the delusions:

  • Erotomanic type (erotomania): A delusion that another person, often a prominent figure, is infatuated with the individual. The individual may breach the law as s/he obsessively tries to make contact with the desired person.
  • Grandiose type (megalomania): A delusion of inflated worth, power, knowledge, or identity; or believes him or herself to be a famous person, claiming the actual person is an impostor or an impersonator.
  • Jealous type: A delusion that the individual’s sexual partner is unfaithful when it is untrue. The patient may follow the partner and check text messages, emails, phone calls, etc. in an attempt to find “evidence” of the infidelity.
  • Persecutory type: A delusion that the person, or someone the person is close to, is being viciously treated in some way. The patient may believe that s/he has been drugged, spied upon, harmed, harassed, and so on, and may seek “justice” by making reports, taking action, or even acting violently.
  • Somatic type: Delusions that the person has some physical defect or general medical condition.
  • Mixed type: Delusions with characteristics of more than one of the above types but with no one theme predominating the others.
  • Unspecified type: Delusions that cannot be clearly determined or characterized in any of the categories above.

Causes of Delusional Disorder:

The exact cause of delusional disorder remains unknown; however, genetic and environmental factors have both been implicated.

Immigration (generally because immigrants are persecuted), being married, being employed, low economic and social position in society, celibacy among men, and widowhood among women are all factors which may increase the risk of developing this condition.

Types of Delusional Disorder:

Apart from their delusion(s), people with delusional disorder don’t usually experience any impairment in functioning; in fact, they can often be high functioning, and their behavior does not necessarily seem odd or unusual. However, the preoccupation with delusional beliefs can be disruptive to their overall lives.

Treatment of Delusional Disorder:

Treatment for delusional disorder includes medication — antipsychotics — and psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

Delusional disorder can be very difficult to treat, in part because people with this condition often have poor insight and do not recognize that a psychiatric problem exists.

Symptoms of Delusional Disorder:

Delusions can be bizarre or non-bizarre in content. Non-bizarre delusions are beliefs that involve situations that could occur in real life, such as being harmed, poisoned, deceived, or conspired against.

Diagnosis of Delusional Disorder:

There are seven subtypes of delusional disorder based on the content of the delusions:

  • Erotomanic type (erotomania): A delusion that another person, often a prominent figure, is infatuated with the individual. The individual may breach the law as s/he obsessively tries to make contact with the desired person.
  • Grandiose type (megalomania): A delusion of inflated worth, power, knowledge, or identity; or believes him or herself to be a famous person, claiming the actual person is an impostor or an impersonator.
  • Jealous type: A delusion that the individual’s sexual partner is unfaithful when it is untrue. The patient may follow the partner and check text messages, emails, phone calls, etc. in an attempt to find “evidence” of the infidelity.
  • Persecutory type: A delusion that the person, or someone the person is close to, is being viciously treated in some way. The patient may believe that s/he has been drugged, spied upon, harmed, harassed, and so on, and may seek “justice” by making reports, taking action, or even acting violently.
  • Somatic type: Delusions that the person has some physical defect or general medical condition.
  • Mixed type: Delusions with characteristics of more than one of the above types but with no one theme predominating the others.
  • Unspecified type: Delusions that cannot be clearly determined or characterized in any of the categories above.

Causes of Delusional Disorder:

The exact cause of delusional disorder remains unknown; however, genetic and environmental factors have both been implicated.

Immigration (generally because immigrants are persecuted), being married, being employed, low economic and social position in society, celibacy among men, and widowhood among women are all factors which may increase the risk of developing this condition.

Types of Delusional Disorder:

Apart from their delusion(s), people with delusional disorder don’t usually experience any impairment in functioning; in fact, they can often be high functioning, and their behavior does not necessarily seem odd or unusual. However, the preoccupation with delusional beliefs can be disruptive to their overall lives.

Treatment of Delusional Disorder:

Treatment for delusional disorder includes medication — antipsychotics — and psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

Delusional disorder can be very difficult to treat, in part because people with this condition often have poor insight and do not recognize that a psychiatric problem exists.