Jump to content
CrazyBoards.org

Recommended Posts

I've always thought that delusions involved pretty far-fetched ideas such as people being able to read your mind, the government plotting against you, etc. However, somewhere I read someone describe having a fairly frequent concern that they were going to die (in some unspecific way) or that someone they loved was going to die as a delusion. I always thought that was more anxiety related given some type of circumstance such as not being well managed with medication and feeling despondent or feeling concern of what might happen to them if their support system was no longer available. Could anyone elaborate?

Also, at what point do delusions become delusions vs. "free thought"? As an example, I think there are people in the world who truly believe that there are aliens who come to earth, maybe live among us, etc. and that could be the result of movies, books, etc. and not delusional. Additionally, in a religious conversation at work, one of my coworkers commented that those who believe in Revalations (Bible) could be considered delusional.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In everyday parlance, "delusional" means "adheres to patently unrealistic beliefs" without the faulty sensory input of hallucinations. As belief systems around the world proliferate, at any given time half the people around you will think the other half are delusional, whether in general or over some small matter. If I earnestly believe the Expos are going to return to Mtl in a wave of glory in 2007, I am quite fucking delusional -- but I don't think my psychiatrist would be terribly concerned unless I started reshaping my life in worship of their squiggly little former logo, with blood sacrifice.

There is no solid, easily-defined line between everyday delusions (basically any old false belief) and psychiatric delusions (similarly defined as a false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence, especially as a symptom of mental illness). As in many other things, it comes down to whether or not a particular behavior impacts one's quality of life (or whether the allegedly deluded is at risk of harming others), the particular yet personal opinion of the evaluating psychiatrist, and whether or not the delusion in question is widely held in society. The more people agree with you, the less likely you will be thought in need of treatment.

That's my opinion as a non-schizophrenic word geek. I love dictionaries. Ooh yes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Delusions can cover a wide range of thoughts. There are very clear cut delusions, like delusions of grandeur in Bipolar Disorder.

I have been through an interesting phase where my formally diagnosed clinical obsessions are now diagnosed as delusions. The differential reasoning according to my p-doc is that I have come to believe the obsessions and be guided by them too much. Eg, I obsess I have an illness, I believe it, it impacts my quality of life and so on. Whereas in real OCD, you do, at some point, quite regularly have some clarity that your thoughts are not real.

Does this help at all?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The DSM relies on the concept of "harmful dysfunction." The dysfunction would be thoughts/behaviours which aren't typical of your society. The harm can be to ones self, to other people, or a combination of both.

With your own example, of the people who have beliefs they are aliens. If they are content enough to go on with life on earth thinking they're an alien pretending to be human, and it doesn't upset them/people who know they hold this belief, they're not considered disordered. For people who hold this belief and feel a great deal of anxiety, and can't function within society because of this (delusion), they are considered disordered.

My personal observance, but most people who are considered "delusional" don't enjoy their delusions. The tend to obssess and elaborate until their thoughts do not resemble reality, and it damages them in some way. I'm sure some people are randomly helped by their delusions, but those would be exceptions, not the rule.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My personal observance, but most people who are considered "delusional" don't enjoy their delusions. The tend to obssess and elaborate until their thoughts do not resemble reality, and it damages them in some way. I'm sure some people are randomly helped by their delusions, but those would be exceptions, not the rule.

I agree. Having delusions is exceedingly uncomfortable due to the anxiety that inevitably comes with them, and the cognitive dissonance. Then there is the "window of clarity" in them - a moment or more where you might realize that you are having delusions, where you might see a slight choice. All of it is steeped in anxiety. Anxiety kills. So do delusions, if you are Andrea Yates.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How long or how short can a delusion last? Can they last for only an hour? Or does it have to be somewhat long term (e.g. a day or more)?

honestly, I think if it only sticks around for an hour, it'd have to have an amazing hold on you to cause impairment to the point of being labeled delusion. Sounds more like thoughts occupying time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

honestly, I think if it only sticks around for an hour, it'd have to have an amazing hold on you to cause impairment to the point of being labeled delusion. Sounds more like thoughts occupying time.

The reason I ask is because I've been told by people that something that happens to me every once in awhile is a panic/anxiety attack even though it isn't anything like how these attacks are described. And the fact that the intense belief/fear lasts for a few hours to a day also makes me wonder. This thread peaked my interest in trying to understand the difference. One example of what I'm talking about happened one night were I believed that someone I knew was going to come to the house I was at and blow it up. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get myself to believe otherwise. The belief and fear got so bad that at 2am I had to get out of the house and sat in my truck across the street and couldn't get myself to go back to the house for awhile. And even after that, I was on edge for the rest of the day still with that belief the guy was going to do something. There is nothing that would trigger any of these episodes for me so I'm lost as to what they are.

Is that what you mean by "thoughts occupying time"? These events are much more extreme than just your typical anxiety, yet I never saw them as delusions. I understand "obvious" delusions. I have an aunt who has some pretty interesting ones! I just don't understand where anxiety becomes a delusion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

honestly, I think if it only sticks around for an hour, it'd have to have an amazing hold on you to cause impairment to the point of being labeled delusion. Sounds more like thoughts occupying time.

The reason I ask is because I've been told by people that something that happens to me every once in awhile is a panic/anxiety attack even though it isn't anything like how these attacks are described. And the fact that the intense belief/fear lasts for a few hours to a day also makes me wonder. This thread peaked my interest in trying to understand the difference. One example of what I'm talking about happened one night were I believed that someone I knew was going to come to the house I was at and blow it up. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get myself to believe otherwise. The belief and fear got so bad that at 2am I had to get out of the house and sat in my truck across the street and couldn't get myself to go back to the house for awhile. And even after that, I was on edge for the rest of the day still with that belief the guy was going to do something. There is nothing that would trigger any of these episodes for me so I'm lost as to what they are.

Is that what you mean by "thoughts occupying time"? These events are much more extreme than just your typical anxiety, yet I never saw them as delusions. I understand "obvious" delusions. I have an aunt who has some pretty interesting ones! I just don't understand where anxiety becomes a delusion.

Uh, not exactly what I had in mind. I was thinking more, something random pops into your head, and you play with the idea. The fact that you went to such extreme measures is kind of outside the bounds of what i was thinking.

For some reason, your example made me think of the forum description for OCD, the pure obsessionals part. Mostly because your example was of something bad happening, and rather irrational.

Sketchy to say the least. I'd bring this up with pdoc/tdoc, if it bothers you, they'd know better than I what to tell you about it. The term delusion to me implies something of persistence, or recurrence, but I'm also completely unqualified to say what exactly a delusion is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And the fact that the intense belief/fear lasts for a few hours to a day also makes me wonder. This thread peaked my interest in trying to understand the difference. One example of what I'm talking about happened one night were I believed that someone I knew was going to come to the house I was at and blow it up. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get myself to believe otherwise.

It sounds like an attack of paranoia to me. Paranoia is usually the first sign of psychosis, or it may not go all the way to psychosis (delusions). Paranoia can happen under stress.

One time I lived in a town that I hated and I was not on the right medications. Under stress, I would get very paranoid. I used to take my trash across town and dump it in someone's dumpster because I was sure the government was going through my trash. When I got into better living circumstances where I felt more emotionally secure, I stopped having the paranoia attacks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Delusions can last for years in some cases. I have had several that were ongoing for more than a 2 years. Ive also had ones that were short, like a few minutes.

This doesnt mean that you are totally pre-occupied with the thought for years all the time, but it is there in the background and might surface regularly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Delusions can last for years in some cases. I have had several that were ongoing for more than a 2 years. Ive also had ones that were short, like a few minutes.

This doesnt mean that you are totally pre-occupied with the thought for years all the time, but it is there in the background and might surface regularly.

That is very wise. Very true. I've had some that stuck in the background for many years, and I would wonder if they were true. BTW, it is not always a good idea to do reality testing with a mental health professional on delusions. They tend to over-react about them; in the very least, write bad stuff in your medical records that will follow you forever.

Now, whenever I feel paranoid about something, I do a reality check with someone in my family that I can trust and who understands that I have this problem. It often helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now I'm really interested in all of this. I did some searching online and found this about delusions (P.17-20):

http://www.trickcyclists.co.uk/pdf/Descrip...hopathology.PDF

(it's WAY too much of a pain to copy and paste it here with all the correct formatting)

That is amazingly informative. Thank you SO much. I have many friends that I'm going to send that to. I saw stuff in there that I've done and others did in the hospital and I didn't know what it was called. I've been catatonic. Also, I had that torticollis thing where your neck twists around horribly (from too much haldol). It turned into a grand mal seizure, though.

I don't understand why they still say I'm bipolar. I think I've had it ALL that's listed in there!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I don't understand why they still say I'm bipolar. I think I've had it ALL that's listed in there!"

If I let myself dwell on all of this, I'd say the same about my daughter but I keep reminding myself how one thing can lead to another and another (i.e. hallucinations would surely make me anxious and I could probably become pretty darn panicy about it). I feel like such a "Mommy preacher" on this Board but you all don't know how much you do for me as far as providing information and personal experiences. What I can add, from the "outside", is that this is all a "work in process" and you just have to deal with things as systematically as you can, understanding that one thing really can provoke something else. I only say that because my daughter, who is embroiled in this daily battle to stay well, can't always see that on her own but being reminded of it really seems to help her put things in perspective rather than panic. I hope that makes sense. Hugs.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...