By Dr. Ashish Sakpal, Psychiatry
Delusions are non bizarre and false beliefs that a person may hold. Common types of delusions include delusion of grandeur, delusion of control, delusion of persecution, etc. Delusions are usually symptoms of a specific underlying disorder and are rather common in schizophrenia. Delusional disorder is a separate condition where an individual holds one or more delusions, either bizarre or non-bizarre, which have been persistent for over a month.
Types of Delusional Disorder include:
- Erotomania: Includes delusions about somebody being in love with them.
- Grandiose: Delusion of believing in the fact that they are well-known personalities. For example, Hitler or Jesus.
- Jealousy: Believing his/her romantic partner is cheating on them.
- Persecutory: Believing everybody is out to get them.
- Somatic: Believing they have a physical symptom of some disease.
- Mixed: Having two or more delusions.
Delusional disorder being classified as a psychotic disorder does not exactly have a specific cause. Delusions may result from genetic, biological or environmental factors. Drug or alcohol abuse may act as triggers to the genetic predisposition of the individual.
Symptoms of delusional disorder include having persistent bizarre or non-bizarre delusions for at least a month which are not accompanied by any symptom of schizophrenia. These delusions may not hamper the regular life of the individual.
Much like other psychotic disorders, delusional disorders are treated by anti-psychotics. The individual is also engaged in therapy along with the medical treatment. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (a conversation centric therapy which focuses on the fact that thoughts and beliefs influence actions of any individual) is generally used to help individuals identify the abnormal thoughts and understand their false nature.
Delusional disorders are definitely maladaptive in nature but can be easily treated through proper drug intake and continuous therapy.