Understanding Delusional Disorders

When a person has a delusional disorder, they believe things that aren’t true. For instance, your loved one may be convinced that others want to harm him or her. Or, your loved one might believe that they are ill when they’re not. These thoughts may cause great distress. But there are treatments that can help.

What are the symptoms?

A person with this disorder is likely to be overcome by untrue thoughts known as delusions. In many cases, these thoughts involve issues from the affected person’s real life. These thoughts may become overwhelming and cause the affected person to do strange things. As a result, delusions may affect relationships or even employment. The affected person also might be depressed or angry.

Getting help

Urge your loved one to seek treatment. Your doctor, local hospital, or mental health clinic can help. Medications and therapy may help relieve many of this disorder’s symptoms.


Some medications may help the person think more clearly. Others may make them feel less depressed. These medications also may have side effects. If your loved one is troubled by side effects, be sure their doctor knows. Changing the dose or type of medication may help. A person taking these medications should not stop, even if they feel better. If they do, their symptoms will likely come back.

Talk therapy

Just talking to a therapist may be a great relief. A therapist can help your loved one better understand and control his or her thoughts and to learn ways to help prevent future problems.

Common delusional disorders

  • Paranoid delusions. Persons with this delusion believe that other people want to harm them. As a result, they may be angry and resentful. They might even become violent to protect themselves.

  • Somatic delusions. These delusions affect the senses. A person with a somatic delusion may think that a part of his or her body has a foul smell. Or the person may feel insects are crawling on his or her skin.

  • Grandiose delusions. Persons with this delusion believe that they have a great talent or skill. They also may claim to know, or be related to, someone famous.

  • Delusions of jealousy. A person with this delusion may be convinced a loved one isn’t faithful. As a result, they may stalk their loved one or try to control their loved one’s actions.

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