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 Othello delusion.
     
  • 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 it.
     
  • 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.











   

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