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delusion,false belief based upon a misinterpretation of reality. It is not, like a hallucination, a false sensory perception, or like an illusion, a distorted perception. Delusions vary in intensity, and are not uncommon among substance abusers, particularly those who use amphetamines, cocaine, and hallucinogens. They also occur frequently among individuals who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's diseaseAlzheimer's disease
, degenerative disease of nerve cells in the cerebral cortex that leads to atrophy of the brain and senile dementia and, ultimately, death. The disease is characterized by abnormal accumulation of plaques and by neurofibrillary tangles (malformed nerve
..... Click the link for more information. , Huntington's diseaseHuntington's disease,
hereditary, acute disturbance of the central nervous system usually beginning in middle age and characterized by involuntary muscular movements and progressive intellectual deterioration; formerly called Huntington's chorea.
..... Click the link for more information. , or schizophreniaschizophrenia
, group of severe mental disorders characterized by reality distortions resulting in unusual thought patterns and behaviors. Because there is often little or no logical relationship between the thoughts and feelings of a person with schizophrenia, the disorder has
..... Click the link for more information. , and during the manic stage of bipolar disorder (see depressiondepression,
in psychiatry, a symptom of mood disorder characterized by intense feelings of loss, sadness, hopelessness, failure, and rejection. The two major types of mood disorder are unipolar disorder, also called major depression, and bipolar disorder, whose sufferers are
..... Click the link for more information. ). Some common delusions include persecutory delusions, in which the individual falsely believes that others are plotting against him; delusions of thought broadcasting, where the individual believes his thoughts can be transmitted to others; delusions of thought insertion, in which the individual believes that thoughts are being implanted in his mind; and delusions of grandeur, in which the individual imagines himself an unappreciated person of great importance.
A conviction based on faulty perceptions, feelings, and thinking.
DelusionBorkman, John Gabriel
suffers from delusions of power. [Nor. Lit.: John Gabriel Borkman]
night-club entertainer thinks she has the makings of a great film actress. [Br. Lit.: Isherwood Berlin Stories in Drabble, 498]
living with his own good and evil. [Fr. Lit.: The Fall]
felt she and Mitch were above others. [Am. Lit.: A Streetcar Named Desire]
self-styled island emperor experiences traumatic visions. [Am. Lit.: Emperor Jones]
steals jailer-father’s keys to free phony husband. [Br. Lit.: The Beggar’s Opera]
opium of the people
little boy, refuses to grow up; resides in Never Never Land. [Children’s Lit.: Peter Pan]
Marx’s classic metaphor for religion. [Ger. Hist.: Critique of Hegel’s “Philosophy of Right”]
hides head, thinking itself concealed. [Animal Symbolism: Brewer Dictionary, 788]
Psychiatry a belief held in the face of evidence to the contrary, that is resistant to all reason