Dr Jozelle Miller
January 24, 2017
Is it ambition or delusion? – Pt 2

Types of Delusions

There are different types of delusions, the following are a few:

1. Persecutory type delusion. The person with this delusion is convinced that something bad will happen and that he or she is the victim of a plot. In these cases, the delusional person believes they are being stalked by someone who wants to harm them. This harm can be physical or psychological. The physical persecution will be related to attempts to poison or kill them. The second refers to what has to do with defamation, discrediting, etc. To accommodate this idea, the sufferer will amend their actions and change the way they approach life. This delusion can be seen in paranoid schizophrenia.

2. Mystical type delirium. This delirium has a strong religious base. It can be experienced in different ways, but always focuses on religion. The person may consider that the actions of the people around them are sinful and seek perfection in their own actions. He or she will spend most of their time praying. They consider themselves to be a messenger of God who has to fulfill a divine mission or that the Virgin has entrusted a mission to them. He or she will consider the various facts of everyday life to be signs sent to confirm this mission.

3. Jealousy type delusions. The person has the certainty that their partner is cheating on them. Everywhere they see signs, events or situations that confirm their suspicions. Looks, words and actions are considered as signs that their suspicions have become a reality. Misinterpretations of reality reinforce their ideas and motivate behaviours, such as stalking and the persecution of their partners. This delusion can push the person to murder their supposedly unfaithful partner. This person will often believe their partner is cheating on them with many people, not just one person.

4. Grandeur type delusion or megalomania. People suffering from this delusion consider themselves superior to others in various ways. He or she may deem himself/herself to be the ruler of all human beings, the only intelligent person in the world, the richest of all. They consider themselves to be special and that their existence is of paramount importance for all humanity.

5. Delusion of erotomanania. This delusion is more common in women. The person believes that another person, who generally holds a higher social position, is madly in love with her. She believes that everything that happens is just signs that confirm the love of another person towards her; but this is an idealized love, more of a romantic form than one of sexual attraction.

6. Vindication type delusion. These are often spiteful and vengeful people who are known for their idealism, their fanaticism for political or social reform, etc. Here there are three types of delusion: litigants who claim their rights and their honour and have a strong need for justice (often their own); inventors who live worried that someone will discover their great inventions that will supposedly revolutionize the world; they are threatened because they believe that their inventions will be stolen. Finally, there are the passionate idealists, seeking world peace and social reform and resort to aggressive and violent practices to achieve this.

7. Reference type delirium. The person in question believes that everything that happens around them is for a reason; nothing is left to chance. They see themselves as the centre of everything, what is said on television or happens in the world is somehow about them, their thoughts or actions. They believe that everything has a meaning for them. They live in constant tension, often generating aggressive and violent reactions.

Dr Miller is Health Psychologist at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.