Reality according to definition is “a state of things that existed, exist and will exist”. Anything in contrast to this truth is called false, fictional or to be more precise they are called “delusions”.
They are a strange break from reality, or a false unshakable belief not keeping with a person’s cultural, social and educational background.
Simply it means a belief that is so strong and so firm which is brought about by a distorted thought process that is incorrigible.
There is the “bizarre delusion” which is of strange and implausible kind, which couldn’t ever be perceived to be true.
For e.g. my neighbor entered my house and removed my brain while I was sleeping and now they are broadcasting my thoughts via a satellite to all the Televisions around the world.
Then there is the “Non bizarre delusion” which although false could at least be possible. For e.g. “everyone is talking about me behind my back, they are all whispering about me as I walk down the streets”.
There is the Mood Congruent Delusions and Mood Incongruent Delusions that either keep up with or do not co-relate with a person’s emotional state of being. For e.g. Mood congruent type would be, delusions of guilt or poverty in a person with depression, and mood incongruent type would be grandiose delusions in a person with depression.
There are several kinds of delusions; delusions of persecution, delusions of reference, delusions of jealousy, delusion of grandeur, delusions of control, delusion of love, delusion of jealousy, to name just a few.
They are symptoms found in various illnesses in psychiatry be it depression, Mania, or schizophrenia
The cause for these delusions may be
1) Genetic: Hereditary from a family member suffering from the same ailment.
2) Biological: Due to an increase in dopamine levels in the brain.
To tackle these delusions and get back in touch with reality is a difficult but not an impossible process.
With the help of medications such as Atypical or Typical Anti psychotics under the care and vigilance of a trained psychiatrist could help over come delusions.
At the same time it is necessary to seek psychotherapy in order to explore thoughts and get to the base of delusions.
These can be achieved by:
1) Individual psychotherapy: Recognizes and corrects the underlying distorted thinking pattern.
2) Cognitive behavior therapy: Brings change in the patterns and behavior that leads to this problematic behavior.
3) Family therapy: Enables the family to contribute for a better outcome of their loved one.
It is important to care but be vigilant of people suffering from various delusions as they may cause harm to themselves or others, so in severe cases hospitalization may be necessary.
There is a possibility of needing life long treatment but, with the right support system, care giver’s awareness about mental illness and early diagnosis and treatment will eventually lead to a better prognosis and a good quality of life for a person suffering from any mental illness.
“ With Gentleness
Contributed by Dr. Janvi Sherpa , medical officer at Tulasi health care.
Tulasi healthcare is well known for treatment of delusions and schizophrenia in Delhi