Delusional disorder (paranoid psychosis): causes, symptoms and treatment

the Delusional disorder, Also known as paranoid psychosis, is a psychotic disorder. This disorder is manifested by the presence of delusional ideas and thoughts, unrelated to reality and without the presence of other basic psychopathology.

    Delusional disorder: what is it?

    But, What are the signs and signs that we can see in a person with delusional disorder? The diagnosis of this disorder must be made by a mental health professional and will be guided by several diagnostic criteria:

    • Delusions should be presented for more than a month
    • The image of delusions must not be the product of the abuse of toxic substances, drugs or other pathologies

    Symptoms and signs

    How do people with delusional disorder behave? The image of paranoid psychosis it is usually manifested by the fact that people who suffer from it are totally convinced of things that are not real. For example, they may think that they are famous athletes or successful singers, and from there, imagine that people are chasing and harassing them in the street, or that they have paranoia thinking that they are there are people who want to hurt them in one way or another.

    This psychiatric condition is generally included in the group of psychopathologies in which a single delusional idea manifests itself, or a series of delusions closely related to each other and which persist over time, being difficult to treat and persistent, in many cases. many cases., Until the end of the affected person’s life.

    What kind of illusions do these people suffer from?

    What exactly is going on in the minds of these people? Delusions can vary greatly from topic to topic. These are usually paranoid thoughts related to delusions of grandeur, hypochondria or persecution and harassment..

    In other cases, the delusional disorder can manifest itself in recurring and unfounded thoughts about the infidelity of the sentimental couple, or by the belief that others think the subject is homosexual, for example.

    the causes

    Delusional disorder can start at any time in life. In cases where delirium refers to deformities of a part of the body, it usually appears in early adulthood.

    The content of delusional thoughts and the age of onset of them can have a fairly direct link with certain experiences and experiences that can affect their psychological stability. It has been described that sometimes paranoid thoughts of persecution are more common among people from historically disadvantaged ethnic minorities. Beyond the behaviors and attitudes related to delusions, these patients generally have no effect on their empathy, their communication skills or in general on any other important aspect.

    Characteristics of paranoid psychosis

    As we mentioned, people with delusional disorder they suffer from recurring and unreal ideas, thoughts and beliefs. However, sometimes these delusions do not directly affect your daily routine.

    • In most cases, work and social life may not be negatively influenced by the psychopathological picture, unless delusions arise in these contexts. However, it should be noted that patients with this disorder often have an irritable and, in some extremes, aggressive mood.
    • As for their manner of being, they tend to be reserved and elusive, and do not speak openly about their assignment.
    • They may present unrelated ideas, but to them all of their thought patterns seem logical and well-founded.

    The most common types of delusions

    Mental health professionals they describe up to four major groups of delusions according to their main characteristics. These are the ones we describe below.

    1. Persecution delusions

    This is the most common type of delirium. The person who suffers from it he lives thinking he is the victim of a conspiracy, And that he is being spied on and followed in the street, constantly.

    2. Illusions of grandeur

    This type of delirium causes the affected person to be convinced that they are someone important, a celebrity. For example, they may think that they have exceptional talent or that in their past they were famous athletes, singers or thinkers.

    3. Somatic delusions

    It’s a group of delusions that they affect the perception of one’s own body. The most common are: the belief that they smell bad, the thought that a part of the body is growing out of control, etc.

    4. Erotomaniac delirium

    This is unrealistic and long-held belief that someone loves them madly. It is more common in women, and they believe they receive letters, hidden messages or signals from their “lover”, who is usually an important person to her (a teacher, a famous footballer, a singer, an actor. ..). They can even get in touch with the human in their mind through calls, messages, gifts, and correspondence.

    5. Jealous type delusions

    They repeatedly think that their romantic partner is with other people. This belief that their partner is unfaithful to them is based on mistaken guesses based on delirium. This can be dangerous because this belief, in some cases, motivates physical aggression.

    Treatments and Therapies

    We have talked about the characteristics of delusional disorder, but: Is it possible for these people to heal, or at least improve their psychological normality?

    There are a number of psychological treatments that help control symptoms, reduce their impact and recurrence, and get the patient to think and structure their perception of reality in a non-pathological way.

    The clinical psychologist can go a long way in helping a person recover from a delusional disorder. Through therapeutic sessions, and gradually, the psychologist can guide the patient to explain his thoughts and his delusions, to explore these contents and these emotions and slowly learn to identify errors in their thought patterns.

    One of the most accepted therapeutic streams is cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses on making changes in delusional beliefs and their psychological, emotional and behavioral effects. It is a good idea to encourage people suffering from this disorder to turn to a trusted psychologist or psychiatrist, who will be able to guide them and guide them to significantly improve their quality of life.

    Bibliographical references:

    • Belloch, A .; Sandín, B. and Ramos, F. (2006). Manual of psychopathology. (2 vol.). Madrid; McGrawHill.
    • López-Ibor Aliño, Juan J. & Valdés Miyar, Manuel (eds.). (2002). DSM-IV-TR. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Revised text. Barcelona: Editorial Masson.
    • Salavert, J. and others. (2003). Delusional disorder. Review aspects of paranoia. Benito Menni mental health care complex in Barcelona. Available at:

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