Delusional (Paranoid) Disorders



What Are Delusional (Paranoid) Disorders?

Delusional Disorders are a form of Psychosis in which a person has paranoid delusion(s) which are often long-lasting, and do not have an obvious physical/medical cause (e.g. head injuries). Occasionally, in older people, they may be accompanied by the person hearing noises, sounds, other people talking, which don't exist (called auditory hallucinations).

What are Paranoid Delusions?

Delusions are beliefs that are not backed up by reality. They may remain despite obvious evidence to the contrary, and the fact that nobody else believes them to be true.

Paranoid Delusions are beliefs of a suspiscious nature, where the person believes something is not right with them, another person(s), or the world in general, which poses serious problems for them.

How Common Are Delusional Disorders?

Delusional (Paranoid) Disorders are quite uncommon and only affect roughly 1 in 3333 people. They most commonly start between the ages of 40 and 55 years old, and happen slightly more in women.

What Types Of Delusional (Paranoid) Disorders Are There?

There are a number of specific types of Delusional (Paranoid) Disorders these include:

  1. Capgras' Syndrome
  2. Cotard's Syndrome
  3. Erotomania (de Clerambault's Syndrome)
  4. Fregoli's Syndrome
  5. Induced Psychosis (folie a deux)
  6. Pathological (Delusional) Jealousy
  7. Persecutory (Querulant) Delusions

What Treatment Is There?

Given the nature of their problems, people with paranoid delusions are often very suspiscious about receiving treatment. Often they don't believe anything is wrong with them and asking them to get some help via a doctor or a hospital may only serve to 'feed into' their paranoid delusions and make things worse. A great deal of care should be taken.

Even so, sometimes this does not work and the person may have to be admitted into hospital against their will. This is usually done using the law. In England and Wales this is via the Mental Health Act, 1983.

While in hospital, or perhaps being seen by a mental health professional (e.g. a psychiatrist) out of hospital, the cause of the paranoid delusions might be found (e.g. Schizophrenia), and this can then be treated.

If the cause is not found, the person can still be helped by things such as Antipsychotic Medication, and possibly psychotherapies such as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Do People Recover?

Yes, people can and do recover from paranoid delusions. However, it is extremely variable, and there are many people who do not.


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Cognitive Therapy For Delusions, Voices & Paranoia (Chadwick, Birchwood & Trower)

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