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Delusion Treatment

Delusion Treatment at Promises

When an individual starts to believe in things that aren’t really there or happening, and no amount of evidence will change their mind, they may be suffering from delusions. This can be devastating to a spouse/partner and family members and can be extremely disruptive to the individual’s life.

Delusion treatment can be challenging, especially if the delusions have been present for some time, but antipsychotic medications may be helpful in reducing or eliminating symptoms. One-on-one therapy, process groups and educating the family on how best to respond to the client’s mental health issues are part of treatment.

About Delusions

Delusions are false beliefs that a person holds despite evidence to the contrary. Although delusions can occur as part of many different psychotic disorders, when delusions are the primary symptom a diagnosis of delusional disorder is usually made.

The delusions in delusional disorder involve circumstances that could occur, but are unlikely. However, the individual with the delusions is absolutely convinced that the delusions are real.

Delusions may be present in psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, brief psychotic disorder and substance-induced psychotic disorder. They may also be present in individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder with psychotic features, delirium and dementia.

Types of Delusions

Delusions are categorized as bizarre or non-bizarre and either mood-congruent or mood-incongruent.

An example of a bizarre delusion is that aliens have taken control of the neighborhood, whereas a non-bizarre delusion might be that the police have one’s home under constant surveillance.

A mood-congruent delusion has content consistent with either a manic or depressive state, while a mood-incongruent delusion is mood-neutral or has content not consistent with a manic or depressive state.

Delusions are also characterized by themes, including:

  • Delusions of control: a false belief that another person, people or external force controls one’s thoughts, feelings, impulses or behavior
  • Delusional jealousy or delusion of infidelity: a false belief that a spouse or partner is having an affair
  • Delusions of guilt: a false feeling of remorse or sin
  • Delusion of the mind being read
  • Nihilistic delusion: false belief in nonexistence of self, parts, or the world, or that the world is ending
  • Erotomania: delusions that another person is in love with the person struggling with delusions
  • Grandiose delusion: one exaggerates their self-importance or are convinced they possess special powers, talents or abilities
  • Delusions of persecution: false belief of being followed, harassed, cheated, drugged, poisoned, conspired against or attacked
  • Religious delusion: any delusion with spiritual or religious content
  • Delusions of reference: a false belief that others’ remarks, objects or events have personal meaning or significance
  • Somatic delusion or delusions pertaining to bodily function

People with delusions do not generally have hallucinations or a major mood problem. They do not appear odd to other people or display odd emotions, as do those with schizophrenia. Individuals with delusions know their beliefs are unique and generally don’t talk about them. If functioning is impaired, it is usually a direct result of the delusion.

Causes of Delusions

The causes of delusions are unknown, but researchers are investigating a few key areas:

Genetic – Since delusional disorder is more common in families where schizophrenia or delusional disorder is already present, there may be genetic factors involved. Experts believe that, as with other mental health disorders, there is a tendency for it to be passed on from parent to child.

Biological – Certain brain abnormalities might be involved in the development of delusional disorders. In addition, chemical imbalances in neurotransmitters could interfere with the transmission of messages, leading to symptoms.

Environmental/Psychological – Stress could trigger delusions. Alcohol and substance abuse may also contribute to the condition. Isolated populations, such as immigrants and those with poor hearing and/or sight, may be more vulnerable to developing delusions.

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