What is Delusional Disorder?

We have all had dreams of being famous or rich or successful, but when you maintain that belief even if the reality is different, it is different from just daydreaming. A serious condition called delusional disorder causes some people to have bizarre behavior and manners that it interferes with their daily function and relationships.

Types of Delusional Disorders

Delusion means belief in something that is not based on reality, although they are not almost always unreal. This means that their beliefs involve real life things and situations but are exaggerated or mistakenly perceived. Doctors classify delusional disorder as a type of psychotic disorder. A person with this condition can still function and socialize normally.

There are different types of delusional disorders based on the theme of their delusion such as grandiose, persecutory, somatic, erotomanic, jealous, or a combination of those types. Grandiose means that a person has a over-inflated sense of his/her identity. Persecutory is the belief that they are being spied on, mistreated, or in danger.

Somatic means that they believe they have a medical problem or defect. Erotomanic delusion is the belief that someone is in love with them. Jealous on the other hand is the belief that their partner is being unfaithful to them. There are some delusions which do not fall under any of those categories and are labeled as unspecified.

Symptoms and Causes

Most delusions, regardless of the type, involve non-bizarre delusions. This means that although the person might have weird beliefs, it is still based or grounded on reality. It is weird, but not definitely out there. The person will also exhibit an irritable or angry mood and sometimes hallucinations that are related to their delusion.

They are different from people with, say other psychotic disorders, because they can still function. The only problem is that their delusion disrupts their normal lives. If you know a loved one who has been showing those symptoms for at least a month, you need to seek help.

Delusional disorder is quite rare. Delusion in most cases, might be a symptom of another disorder, and not a disorder itself, but it can happen. For it to be classified as such, it must not also be caused by substances or medication. So, what causes it? There are many factors researchers are investigating, but the strongest evidence points to history of trauma, extreme stress, and genetics.

Treatment of Delusional Disorder

Because the person does not see the problems with their delusions, they will not be able to seek help by themselves. If there are other coexisting conditions, those should also be identified. Only then can treatment be created. It usually involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication. There is not standard treatment for everyone because it will be based on the needs of the individual. Hospitalization is not required in most cases unless the person is causing harm to him/herself or others.