Delusions: How To Treat Them?

Grandiose delusion

Delusions are beliefs which are clearly false and that point to abnormality in content of thought. Moreover they can not be changed even in the presence of conflicting evidence. There numerous types of delusions, among them being grandiose delusions (seeing oneself as a very important person), erotomanic delusion (believing that celebrity or a member of higher social level is in love with the individual) or persecutory delusions (feeling of being judged, persecuted or followed by an agency or government). 

Based on one of the main characteristics of delusions (very strong belief of the individual in the delusional content) it is very hard to treat delusions. However there are some strategies that are used typically. Most of the delusions are treated during therapy and there are multiple models which say how to do that. One of them states that firstly a good therapeutic alliance has to be established, in other words the relation between the therapist and the patients has to be well developed. When the trust is developed, the therapist can search for some doubts the patient has about his or her delusions. In case of persecutory delusion the patient constantly changes the agency that is supposed to follow him, there may be a chance of lessening the belief in the delusion. Lastly the patient should be allowed and encouraged to test other hypotheses and theories he may develop about the causes of his behaviours. This strategy may be effective, however if the delusion is very firmly constructed then it is better to try a different approach. 

Moreover it is important to remember that the reduction of delusions may take a significant amount of time and in some cases it may not even happen. The effectiveness of the treatment is strongly based on the disorder the patient has. For example it is easier to reduce delusions of a person with Bipolar Disorder, as he switches from Manic Episodes to Depressive Episodes, than a person with schizophrenia as this disorder is more stable. Despite the presence of this difficulty, treatment for delusions is very often necessary for people who experience them.

Grande, T. [Dr. Todd Grande]. (2019, January 29). Examples of Delusions | How are Delusions Treated? [Video]. YouTube.

Kiran, C., & Chaudhury, S. (2009). Understanding delusions. Industrial psychiatry journal, 18(1), 3–18.

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