Delusions are unusual ideas about the world that a person sticks to despite solid evidence that they are misled. Several mental health conditions share delusion as a symptom, including psychotic and mood disorders. Finding treatment for delusions is essential because they can be harmful to the person experiencing them and those they interact with.
False & Irrational Beliefs Define Delusions
Delusions are fixed ideas about the nature of and the relationships between people, places, things, events, and personal experiences. They are false and irrational beliefs that conflict with reality and are not experienced by others.
Trying to confront a person who is proposing a particular delusion with honest evidence will not matter. This person will still hold tight to their ideas despite presenting a compelling case.
Delusions Can Be Organized by Theme
Specific themes mark various types of delusions. These themes help practitioners diagnose the condition a client has. Some common examples are as follows:
- Grandiose delusions: clients see themselves as highly talented, famous, wealthy, or powerful.
- Paranoid delusions: the client believes others mistreat them or brutally threaten their well-being.
- Somatic delusions: the client thinks something is wrong with a part of their body or has a medical illness.
- Reference delusions: the client believes they are the target for other people’s thoughts or actions, even if they do not know these people.
- Bizarre delusions: the client believes in something physically impossible.
- Jealous delusions: the client believes a loved one is unfaithful or disloyal but under circumstances that do not make sense.
- Misidentification syndrome: the client thinks an imposter has replaced someone in their circle.
Not all delusions fall into one of these categories. Some people have misconceptions that are mixed.
Various Health Conditions Share This Symptom
A person can have delusions due to various mental or neurological conditions such as:
- psychotic disorders:
- schizoaffective disorder
- delusional (paranoia) disorder
- schizophreniform disorder
- post-partum psychosis
- mood disorders:
- personality disorders
- brain abnormalities
- dementia/Parkinson’s disease
Traumatic experiences and stress can also induce delusional states, such as brief psychotic disorder, lasting up to one month. Isolation and limited interaction with the outside world is another risk factor. This psychotic illness has been observed to develop in partners living under these circumstances. Substances like psychedelics and PCP can cause a person to enter into a psychotic state that includes delusions.
Delusions Can Be Tricky to Spot
Although delusions are often attributed to a mental or neurological condition, this is not always the case. Illusions can also be tricky to define clearly.
For instance, some individuals have unusual ideas about the world around them. These ideas may be informed by spiritual, religious, or cultural beliefs and practices. Other social influences and extreme life experiences may have led people to uniquely perceive the world. This may be odd to others who have never been exposed to these ideas, but does that mean the person is having delusions?
There may be times when the line is hard to draw. The general rule of thumb is that if these beliefs significantly disrupt daily life or become seriously distressing and harmful, this may indicate a mental illness or some other health problem. This question is best left to professionals to answer.
Delusions Can Be Disruptive & Harmful
Delusions can be disruptive and harmful to the individual experiencing them. Because the individual believes their ideas to be real, they may act out in dangerous ways to respond to their reality. It can be challenging for loved ones to learn how to interact with someone who thinks and behaves abnormally. Coping can be stressful and affect the mental health of the family as well.
It is essential to remember that these individuals are experiencing things that they feel are real. Arguing with them can exacerbate the situation. Showing them love and encouraging them to talk to someone is more helpful.
How Treatment Can Help Your Loved One
The first step to helping someone who may struggle with delusions is to get them to a doctor. The doctor might have some ideas on how to help because the individual may not believe they have a problem.
The doctor will review their medical history and consider a physical condition such as a brain injury. If that is ruled out, the individual will likely be referred to a mental health specialist to be evaluated for a mental health disorder.
Medications & Therapy to Manage Delusions
Depending on the severity of their diagnosis, the individual may require temporary hospitalization to stabilize. There are different options for long-term treatment, including medications like antipsychotic medicines, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy addresses harmful thoughts and behaviors by learning to identify and modify them effectively. Getting the family involved through family therapy can help loved ones learn more about the individual’s problems, how to help them, and how they can cope.
Some individuals struggling with a mental health disorder experience delusions. Delusions lead a person to believe things that are not rooted in truth and reality. Treatments are available to address delusions and the underlying disorder that is causing this symptom. Avalon Malibu is a California state-licensed residential treatment facility for addiction and mental health. We are dedicated to helping adults heal from psychiatric and mental health issues like those involving delusions. Our clients can choose from various treatment options such as experiential methodologies, expressive arts, and research-based psychotherapies. At Avalon Malibu, we believe happiness is a choice. We encourage our clients to choose gratefulness over regret, and embrace their symptoms as a doorway to freedom. The process of healing is challenging and requires effort. We believe our clients have the ability, with a little help, to peel away the fears and negativity that obscure their potential for a healthy, fulfilling life. Call us today: (844) 857-5992