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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.


A conviction based on faulty perceptions, feelings, and thinking.


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]


Psychiatry a belief held in the face of evidence to the contrary, that is resistant to all reason
References in periodicals archive ?
Salvation here is clearly experienced as deliverance from self-preoccupation rooted in an overweening sense of self-righteousness that in ordinary circumstances makes Ivan utterly unable to see how delusionary his own sense of rectitude really is.
Septimus's sensitivity to an avian language and sentience, however fantastical or delusionary, enlarges not only the field of language and response but of subjectivity and its claims upon human responsibility toward those creatures who might speak in a language not our own, and feel in ways that surpass our understanding.
They further contend that any assumption on the practicality of "human equality" articulated in national constitutions, human rights instruments, religious texts and preachments is delusionary.
psychotic emotions and a delusionary belief system, they live in a
The "two-for-the-labor-of-one" craze that has swept publishing in recent years is delusionary.
But if courts dealt legally with "actual abolitionism and even insurrection," southern mobs functioned as extralegal disciplinary enforcers and fearmongers, "attack[ing] primarily representatives of phantom abolitionism and delusionary slave uprising" (116).
But as a delusionary rating regime that disables discerning judgment and the honest admission of a good-faith error, it can spoil the required give-and-take of a healthy democratic debate.
That nobody will buy into these delusionary fairy tales isn't really relevant.
But this is not a purposeless madness; it has a purpose, a sinister one at that, which has been exhibited by states the world over to achieve the ominous objectives that states pursue in the hunt for delusionary self-preservation and repressing dissidents.
I sometimes feel discriminated whenever I am surrounded by Mexicans because I am White," it was apparent that her understanding of discrimination was delusionary.
This means that films like Pretty Woman (1990) are like a delusionary fairy-tale in which the prostitute played by Roberts is both rescued by the millionaire Richard Gere and at the same time bought by him.
The delusionary Don, on a crusade for justice and his Dulcinea, tilting at windmills done in animation on a backdrop screen, is not quite "Avatar," but it served its purpose.