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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 ?
ANDY McDonald's comment's 'Cameron is biggest Tory PM failure' (Letters, April 27) are delusionary. The Tory/ Lib Dem Coalition government headed by David Cameron has turned the UK economy around, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, rising wages and living standards.
In the run-up to the March 2015 elections, the Israeli electorate was disenfranchised when their prime minister played musical chairs with kindred far-right parties to the tune of primal and delusionary political and racial obscenities.
The "green rock" article detailed how delusionary geoengineering is.
These fleeting visions of the transient natural world constitute momentary interruptions of Edna's delusionary inner life: the disjunctive modes of seeing, one phenomenological and the other abstract and cerebral, help structure a story in which much of the represented world is invisible because of Edna's dominating consciousness.
(And, yes, the latter does remind you of Kermit Gosnell's similar delusionary argument.)
And it should be clear that happiness for Barber in particular is more than a psychological state; Barber, like Socrates, would surely argue that it is delusionary to believe that one can be truly happy if one is committed to a life that rejects the importance of the "public good." (31) Similarly, a society committed to the "pursuit of [true] Happiness" (32) would reject mere preference satisfaction as the target of our pursuits.
and be known?" The very notions of "home" and being "known" are themselves delusionary concepts like a self as separate from the moon.
Too much time has now been misspent in 14 years of delusionary rhetoric and pusillanimity.
In his inflammatory speech and in a delusionary manner, Hilal portrayed himself as peacemaker, a government reformist and an internationally respected leader.
"Some who are delusionary want to pounce on the January revolution and think that they can undermine the stability that is growing daily or undermine the resolve that people have clearly forged with their will," said Morsi.
Don't say something this delusionary; it not only discredits everything else you say, but what other gun rights activists say as well.