A false belief based on an incorrect inference about external reality and
firmly sustained despite clear evidence to the contrary. The belief is not part
of a cultural tradition such as an article of religious faith. Among the more
frequently reported delusions are the following:
- delusion of control
The belief that one’s feelings, impulses, thoughts, or actions are not one’s
own but have been imposed by some external force.
- delusion of poverty
The conviction that one is, or will be, bereft of all material possessions.
- delusion of reference
The conviction that events, objects, or other people in the immediate
environment have a particular and unusual significance (usually negative).
- delusional jealousy
The false belief that one’s sexual partner is unfaithful; also called the
- grandiose delusion
An exaggerated belief of one’s importance, power, knowledge, or identity.
- nihilistic delusion
A conviction of nonexistence of the self, part of the self, or others, or of
the world. “I no longer have a brain” is an example.
- persecutory delusion
The conviction that one (or a group or institution close to one) is being
harassed, attacked, persecuted, or conspired against.
- somatic delusion
A false belief involving the functioning of one’s body, such as the
conviction of a postmenopausal woman that she is pregnant, or a person’s
conviction that his nose is misshapen and ugly when there is nothing wrong with
- systematized delusion
A single false belief with multiple elaborations or a group of false beliefs
that the person relates to a single event or theme. This event is believed to
have caused every problem in life that the person experiences.