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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
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, 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.
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, 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
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, 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
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). 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.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


A conviction based on faulty perceptions, feelings, and thinking.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Borkman, John Gabriel
suffers from delusions of power. [Nor. Lit.: John Gabriel Borkman]
Bowles, Sally
night-club entertainer thinks she has the makings of a great film actress. [Br. Lit.: Isherwood Berlin Stories in Drabble, 498]
Clamence, Jean-Baptiste
living with his own good and evil. [Fr. Lit.: The Fall]
Dubois, Blanche
felt she and Mitch were above others. [Am. Lit.: A Streetcar Named Desire]
Jones, Brutus
self-styled island emperor experiences traumatic visions. [Am. Lit.: Emperor Jones]
Lockit, Lucy
steals jailer-father’s keys to free phony husband. [Br. Lit.: The Beggar’s Opera]
Pan, Peter
little boy, refuses to grow up; resides in Never Never Land. [Children’s Lit.: Peter Pan]
opium of the people
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]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Psychiatry a belief held in the face of evidence to the contrary, that is resistant to all reason
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The difficulty in treating patients with delusional parasitosis may be further affected by lack of insight, and the fact that they often do not present to a psychiatrist for treatment in a timely manner because their delusion is impregnable and presents them with an alternate reality.
Bruch (4) introduced the concept of "delusional denial of thinness" as a core of the disorder, distinguishing primary AN from an atypical subtype in which patients may not express this "delusion." However, the Fifth Version of the Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) does not refer to patients' thoughts about their bodies as delusional, instead using the term "intense" beliefs.
Psychodynamic theories also describe the role of an ambivalent relationship in shared delusional disorder.
Thus, the author begins by outlining an interesting history of delusion, pointing out the overwhelming role played by the primary delusion of Jaspers and by the sensitive delusion of Kretschmer in the evolution of delusional ideation as a concept.
The excessive media hype and political interference in our day to day life can easily explain the formation of the delusion and the inclusion of 'persecutor concerned' into his delusional picture.
I don't know if the kind Ms Nicolaou is megalomaniac, although she almost became delusional from the pressure to keep her mouth shut.
The medical committee examined the woman twice and decided that she suffers from a delusional disorder.
Mark concludes his interview with one thoughtful statement, "It will not be until we set aside our delusional differences, understand we are all one community upon the earth, and come together as the family that we were meant to be that peace can be found.
Internet search engines were queried with the keywords as search terms to examine the latest scientific articles on delusional infestations in order to describe a variety of clinical and behavioral manifestations, develop a differential diagnosis, and recommend new and effective management strategies.
Rosiello was not suffering from a delusional disorder or cocaine dependency disorder at the time of the slaying.
Jailing her for five years, Judge Richard Griffith-Jones said he was dealing with her as if her delusional belief had been true - although that still did not excuse what she did.
"I couldn't tell whether he was sane or insane, delusional or lying to me, or whether he might just be telling the truth," Stevens explains.