Delusional Disorder

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

A person with a delusional disorder has beliefs or perceptionsthat he or she thinks are true, but which are illogical or wrong. Thesebeliefs or perceptions often last for at least a month.

There are six types of delusions:

  • Erotomanic type. A person with this type of delusionbelieves that another person, usually of higher status, is in love with himor her. This other person may be a boss or coworker, a celebrity, or a stranger.
  • Grandiose type. A person with this type of delusionbelieves that he or she is much more important, powerful, wealthy, ortalented than he or she really is.
  • Jealous type. A person with this type of delusionbelieves that his or her partner has been unfaithful.
  • Persecutory type. A person with this type of delusionbelieves that he or she is being plotted against, spied on, or harassed byunknown enemies.
  • Somatic type. A person with this type of delusionbelieves he or she is ill or has other types of health problems.
  • Mixed type. A person with this type of delusion suffersfrom more than one of the delusions listed above.
  • What is going on in the body?

    This is a psychological disorder. Some psychological disordersare triggered by chemical imbalances in the brain.

    What are the causes and risks of the condition?

    This disorder usually begins when a person is betweenthe ages of 40 and 55 but may occur at a younger age. It affects lessthan 1% of the population. It occurs equally in men and women.

    This disorder may be caused by:

  • aging
  • alcoholism
  • deafness
  • head injury
  • a “sensitive” personality
  • stress
  • Symptoms & Signs

    What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?

    Symptoms of this disorder may include:

  • being irritable
  • doubting the loyalty of friends
  • feeling alone
  • feeling taken advantage of
  • finding hidden meaning in events or remarks
  • having trouble with social and marital relationships
  • holding grudges for a long time
  • Diagnosis & Tests

    How is the condition diagnosed?

    A healthcare provider will take a complete medicalhistory and do a physical exam.Lab tests are usually done to rule out other health problems that could becausing the delusions.

    Prevention & Expectations

    What can be done to prevent the condition?

    There is no known way to prevent this condition.

    What are the long-term effects of the condition?

    This disorder usually lasts for many years. It may interferewith social and marital relationships.

    What are the risks to others?

    Some people with this disorder may become violent.

    Treatment & Monitoring

    What are the treatments for the condition?

    The long-term goal of treatment is to correct the behaviorand mood disturbances that result from the delusions. To do this, apositive doctor-patient relationship is helpful. If the person is dangerous tohimself or others, he or she may need to be hospitalized.

    Medicine may be prescribed. Antipsychotic medicinescan reduce hallucinations as well as anxiety and agitation. Antidepressantmedicines may be used to control other symptoms.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Side effects of medicines may include drowsiness,dizziness,excessive salivation, and increased heart rate.

    What happens after treatment for the condition?

    Delusional disorder usually does not lead to severeimpairment or changes in personality. Most people do well and areable to remain employed.

    How is the condition monitored?

    The person is asked to monitor his or her symptomsand report them to the doctor. Regular checkupsare needed because medicines may need to be adjusted. Any new orworsening symptoms should be reported to the doctor.

    Article type: xmedgeneral