The delusional disorder is a disease characterized by the presence of delusional beliefs, which bear no relation to reality. However, people who suffer from this disorder are fully convinced of them, which sometimes leads to risky situations and behaviors.
There are those who confuse delusional disorder and paranoia . Well, in the case of delirium, the idea in which the person who suffers it believes is deeply ingrained within them, so that they firmly believe in it without any doubt. However, in the case of paranoia, the idea has not reached that point of belief.
What is delusional disorder?
Delusional disorder is known as a psychotic illness that, as its name suggests, is characterized by the presence of one or more delusional ideas . For it to be considered a disorder as such, experts point out that these delusions must occur for a minimum period of one month and, in addition, not occur due to the consumption of certain substances.
Thus, those with delusional disorder strongly believe things that are not really true . In some cases the delusions may be harmless, such as that he is an excellent actor and that he has been awarded an Oscar. However, in other cases, those who suffer from this disease may become obsessed with the fact that they are being persecuted by people who want to harm them.
What is a person suffering from delusions like?
There are a number of characteristics that define people who suffer from this mental illness.
First of all, it is important to note that they are people who hold a certain idea or belief very persistently . They do it to such an extent that it can negatively influence their daily life, and even lead to risky situations and behaviors.
Generally, the work and social relationships of those who suffer from this disorder are not affected, as long as the delusions are not related to any of these areas. However, as the disease progresses and people become more and more convinced of their ideas, their mood is increasingly irritable and they show increasing hostility towards their environment.
In very few cases they speak openly about their delusion. They are very reserved people in public .
Throughout history there have been numerous studies about what the specific causes of delusional disorder are. It is a rare mental illness whose causes are not entirely clear today.
Some experts handle that delusions arise in response to a situation of extreme stress or a traumatic story . The genetics also has a role as those with a history of schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders are more likely to suffer from this disorder.
Symptoms of delusional disorder
In a high percentage of cases, this disorder begins in early adulthood. In general, it occurs in those people who have suffered a personality disorder before.
One of the first symptoms to appear is distrust of others , and especially of those you love most, such as family and friends. Those who suffer from this disorder feel a great suspicion towards the motivations and behaviors of others.
It is also common for people with delusional disorder to interpret threatening meanings in totally harmless situations . In these cases, violent attitudes can occur.
In many cases the behavior is not obviously abnormal. And it is that in many cases people with delusional disorder show correct functionality in the social and work environment. However, when your delusions interfere in any of these areas, problems can arise. For example, if a person suffers from a jealousy-type disorder, there may be a real risk of physical aggression.
Types of delusional disorder
The different types of delusional disorder are classified according to the content of the idea.
- Persecutory: it is the one that is repeated most frequently. Those who suffer from what is known as a persecution idea have the firm conviction that they are victims of a plot by a higher power, who is in charge of spying on them and persecuting them. A situation that can lead to risky behaviors, both with themselves and with others.
- Great: In this case, people with delusional disorder think they are important for whatever reason. In general, they consider themselves successful people, with great economic power and who are of great importance to the rest of the world.
- Jealous: delusional disorder can appear in the form of jealousy in those who have a partner. In this case, they are convinced that their partner is unfaithful to them.
- Erotomaniac: one of the delusions that is less common, but that occurs in some cases. Those who suffer from it believe that another person is in love with them, so they begin to establish contact with her, and even send her gifts or letters to show their love.
- Somatic: somatic ideas are those that affect the senses. One of the thoughts that is repeated most often among those who suffer from this disease is that a certain area of their body gives off an unpleasant odor.
As we have pointed out, the behavior of people with delusional disorder does not necessarily have to interfere with their daily lives. In those cases in which the delusions are linked to some area of their daily routine, the people around them can detect that something strange is happening.
Well, in that case it is best to go to the doctor to make a proper diagnosis and establish the most appropriate treatment for it.
First, rule out all situations that can cause delusions, such as substance abuse. From there, it establishes the patient’s medical history based on their symptoms. In addition, you must assess other aspects such as the level of danger or the risk that the person acts based on their delusions .
Depending on the result, the doctor may recommend a consultation with a psychiatrist who specializes in these types of disorders.
Treatment of delusional disorder
The treatment of those who suffer from this mental illness is complicated since they are fully convinced that their ideas are real and, therefore, they refuse to accept any kind of help.
Therefore, a good relationship must be established between the doctor and the patient in the first place . In this way, it is much easier to start with the treatment itself.
The main objective of the treatment is to divert the attention of the patient, so that he is able to put aside his delusions and build others more adjusted to reality . However, it is a difficult objective to achieve and that in a large number of cases is only achieved in the medium and long term.
Sometimes antipsychotic drugs are effective in alleviating the symptoms of this disorder.
Regarding the hospitalization of the patient, it is only recommended in those cases in which it is considered that it poses a danger both to himself and to others.
With proper treatment, the vast majority of people with delusional disorder improve in the medium and long term. In many cases, therapy must continue for the rest of their lives to prevent them from slipping back into their delusions.
Complications of delusional disorder
If this type of disorder is not treated properly, a number of complications can arise, some of them serious.
One of the most common recurrences is depression. It develops as a consequence of the difficulties that arise as a result of delusions.
In addition, acting on delusions can lead to violent behavior and actions , thus giving rise to legal problems.
Of course, social isolation is another consequence of delusional disorder. Those who suffer from this disease isolate themselves more and more from their environment, thus giving rise to risky situations.
How to deal with a person with delusional disorder?
When a person suffers from a certain mental illness, in this case delusional disorder, in many cases their family and friends do not know how to deal with it. Below we indicate a series of guidelines to assess.
- Do not try to convince the person otherwise: who suffers from this disorder firmly believes in their ideas, so trying to convince them that they are wrong is the wrong attitude. And it is that in this way the person may feel attacked, so that he will choose to move away and reinforce his belief.
- Do not play the game: in no case should you let him understand that his idea is wrong, but neither do you play the game. Feeding that belief only serves to make you more firmly believe that you are justified.
- Identify delirium: as we have pointed out, there are different types of delirium, so it is advisable to know how to identify which of them it is.
- Get help: Of course, it is essential to try to get professional help. A good way to convince him is to explain that the doctor will help him with the distress he is experiencing.
Delusional disorder is a mental illness characterized by the appearance of false ideas , known as delusions, which are very persistent. They usually last a long time, and sometimes the person can even live with them for the rest of their life.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.