Delusional Disorder

By: Savannah Leonard

What is Delusional Disorder?

Delusional disorder is the prescence of non-bizarre delusions. Non-bizarre delusions are beliefs of something occuring which is not out of the realm of possibility. For example a person may believe that their significant other is cheating on them, that someone close to them is about to die, or they are being conspired against. All of these situations could be true or possible, but the person suffering from this disorder knows them not to be. People with delusional disorder often function and socialize normally. Delusional disorder is rather rare and occurs in middle to late life.


Different Types of Delusional Disorder

  • Grandiose Type: delusions of inflated worth, power, knowledge, identity, or special relationship to a deity or famous person.
  • Erotomanic Type: delusions that another person, usually of higher status, is in love with them.
  • Jealous Type: delusions that the person's spouse or sexual partner is unfaitful.
  • Persecutory type: delusions that the person, or someone they are close to is being treated badly.
  • Somatic Type: delusions that the person has some physical defect or something is medically wrong with them.
  • Mixed Type: delusions characteristic of more than one of the above types but no one theme predominates.


Symptoms of Delusional Disorder

Non-bizarre delusions is the most obvious symptom of delusional disorder. Other symptoms that might appear include:

  • An irritable, angry, or low mood
  • Hallucinations that are related to the delusion


Treatment For Delusional Disorder

Treatment for delusional disorder can be challenging, especially if it's long lasting. Anti-psychotic medication can be helpful, but delusions do not get better sometimes with pharmaceutical treatment. Sometimes patients do not want to believe they have a mental illness and may refuse treatment, including psychotherapy which is the most effective treatment. Through psychotherapy the therapist has to form a supportive and trusting bond with the patient. After the bond is formed the therapist reinforces the patient, like positive gains and behaviors the individual makes in his or her life. When the patient starts feeling more secure in their social or occupational world, therapy becomes more productive.This involves challenging the patient's delusional beliefs starting with the smallest and least important items. Therapy ranges from 6 months to a year.