Delusions are a phenomenon that has aroused the interest of psychiatrists and psychologists for decades. After all, we’ve long believed that we tend to rationally analyze the information that comes to us through our senses, and that if we fall for the deception, it will be because our eyes or our ears have betrayed us.
However, the existence of delusions shows that we can interpret things in a deeply wrong way even when our senses provide us with perfectly reliable information.
Strange delusions: alterations in the interpretation of reality
Unlike what happens in hallucinations, in which alterations are perceived in the information perceived by the different senses of the body, in delusions, what is strange and amazing is the way ideas are organizedIn other words, the way reality is interpreted.
To understand this idea, there is nothing better than to see some examples of the most curious and extreme delusions of which there is evidence in pathological cases.
Types of delusions (and their characteristics)
One way to classify delusions is to use the categories of non-pathological delusions and strange delusions.. Below we’ll show a few examples that fall into the second category – delusions that are so bizarre that they run counter to what we know about reality, and that are extremely unbelievable even before their veracity has been tested.
1. Cotard syndrome
People with Cotard Syndrome have one of the strangest delusions known – they think they’re dead, Physically or spiritually. This delirium can take many forms: some people believe that they are literally rotting inside, while others simply believe that the plane of reality they live in is that of the dead.
In general, this type of delirium is accompanied by abulia, that is to say a pathological absence of motivation or initiative. After all, there are few things that can be meaningful to someone who thinks they are dead and who feels they do not belong to “this world”.
- If you want to know more about this syndrome, you can read more about it in this article.
2. Enemy complex
People who manifest the enemy complex have the delusional idea that they are surrounded by enemies who seek an opportunity to harm them physically, psychologically or symbolically. In this way, a good part of the actions of others will be interpreted as acts directed against oneself; scratching your nose may be a sign that another enemy is preparing to attack us, looking in our direction may be part of a spy strategy, etc. It is a belief linked to the mania of persecution.
3. Diffusion of thought
People with this form of delirium believe their thoughts are audible to othersIn other words, they produce sound waves which can be recorded by the ears and by electronic devices as they would with any noise. Of course, this delusional idea produces great frustration and anxiety, as it leads to an increase in “mental policing” and self-censorship even if one does not have full control over what goes through the world. mind.
4. Read the thought
In this kind of strange delirium the person believes that others (or a part of people, whether near or far) can read their minds by a kind of telepathic contact. This belief often results in the emergence of rituals created to avoid this supposed reading of thought: endlessly repeating “protective words”, wrapping them around something, etc.
5. Thought flight
People who express this delirium believe that someone is stealing ideas from them right after their creation. It is a feeling similar to the phenomenon of “having something on the tip of the tongue”, although in this case it is perceived as a process by stages: first this thought is created and then it disappears to go to another. unknown location.
6. Thought insertion
In this delirium is the belief that some of the thoughts circulating in his head have been introduced into his own mind by a foreign entity, In a similar way to that posed in the movie Inception (in Spanish, “Origin”).
7. Capgras syndrome
One of the symptoms of this strange syndrome is the belief that an important person in our lives has been replaced. by another person practically identical to the previous one. Patients with this strange delusion believe that they are the only ones who perform the deception and that the impostor has managed to prevent everyone from performing the substitution.
So, although the person recognizes the other’s factions as objective traits that serve to identify someone’s face, this information does not produce the normal emotional response.
- If you want to know more about Capgras syndrome, you can read this article.
8. Fregoli syndrome
This syndrome is associated with a type of delirium similar to the one above. As in the case of Capgras, here is also a delusional form of false identification: in Fregoli syndrome, the person believes that everyone, or a large part of them, is in fact a single character which constantly changes its appearance. This belief easily leads to other delusions based on the idea that someone is chasing us.
9. Delirium of greatness
People with delusions of grandeur they sincerely believe that they have qualities far above what is expected of a human being: The ability to make everyone happy, to always offer the best conversations in history, etc. Any action they take, whether anecdotal or routine, will be seen by them as a great contribution to the community.
It is important to stress the fact that people with this type of delirium truly believe in their superior abilities and that it is not about portraying the best self-image of others by deliberately exaggerating their positive traits.
10. Redundancy rate
People with this type of paraamnesia believe that one place or landscape has been replaced by another, Or that the same place is in two places at the same time. For example, someone visiting a new building in Madrid may believe that this place is actually the Buenos Aires nursery that they visited during their early years of life.
- An example of this strange delirium that we have in the case explained in this article.
11. Control delusions
Who presents control delirium she believes herself to be some kind of puppet in the hands of a higher force that controls her. This can be expressed by saying that there is someone who has their own body, or that they receive a series of instructions telepathically and have an obligation to follow them.
12. Delirium of the Truman show
In The Truman Show, Jim Carrey plays a man who grew up on a giant TV in the shape of a city, surrounded by cameras and actors playing a role, without him realizing it. This work of fiction inspired brothers Ian and Joel Gold, the first philosopher and second psychiatrist, who in 2008 they used this name to refer to the cases of people who believed they were living in television fiction in which the only real character is them. This delirium is characterized by delusions of grandeur and a mania for persecution.
- American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2002). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR, Barcelona: Masson.
- Valent, C. (2002): Hallucinations and delusions. Madrid: Synthesis.