What is Delusion and Why Does it Happen

Delusion is so common these days, it feels like we’re walking backwards in time.

In our country, many kinds of delusion are running rampant. There are people having the wrong belief that somebody wants to hurt them, and there are people thinking they are the lions in the whole jungle. I’m sure we all have our own little beliefs that we can’t justify — that’s not the problem. The problem comes when we act on these false beliefs.

The human mind, in all its complexity, is clever enough to take control of its own thought process. We can make ourselves think anything can be true, given the proper way of saying it. And, galaxy knows there is no end of misinformation out there — starting from seemingly innocent face creams hinting that you can look like a supermodel in seven days, to powerful political and religious propaganda tailored to hit your weaknesses.

All of these contribute to make up the belief system engine in our heads, and we start getting convinced of things — all the time having no real proof to support that conviction.

What is Delusion

According to Wikipedia, delusion is a strong belief that doesn’t get changed. Not even if you throw rock-solid opposite proof right in the face. More often than not, you’ll hear a deluded person saying, “Whatever, I know what I know!” That precisely means this: it doesn’t matter how much verified, perfect evidence you have to the opposite of that belief — the person will not ever turn. 

As a mental condition, it differs from other similar wrongful convictions like religious dogma or political brainwashing. In normal cases, a person with a misguided belief can weigh the right versus wrong when presented with real data, and change their conviction accordingly. In contrast, a pathological case of delusion is there to stay; there is nothing you can say that will ever change the victim’s mind. 

Such pathological delusion is often seen as a symptom of something other, much more horrible and tormenting mental disorders. For example, people suffering from bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are often seen to display strong deluded beliefs. Most of the time they consist of unrealistic fears like ‘everybody is trying to kill me’ and such.

Different Beliefs in Different Kinds of Delusions

1. Erotomanic

The victim thinks someone, usually a person in high social standing, has fallen in love with them. They also imagine that person is secretly communicating with them. Stalkers and movie star worshippers are good examples of this.

2. Grandiose

Closely followed by megalomania, a person with grandiose delusion thinks they have superpowers, or extraordinary talents in something (or everything). It’s very common with those religious nutjobs who believe some god gives them instructions.

3. Persecutory

Life is difficult and unbearable for people suffering from persecutory delusion disorder, as they think someone (or everyone) is trying to hurt or kill them.

Deluded people can’t tell what is real and what isn’t.

4. Jealous

Jealousy is all too common, and isn’t a delusion per se. But when a person takes action based solely on the belief that his or her partner is being unfaithful, then that becomes a disorder.

5. Somatic

If you physically feel things on or inside your body, that is somatic delusion. It can grow pretty horrible — some people feel bugs are walking around inside their body. Horror movies like The Mummy don’t help at all!

6. Mixed/General

When a person believes a lot of things, or is generally gullible to trust anything that is told to them without verifying first, that person is suffering from general delusion disorder.

The Reasons of Delusion

Explaining the causes of delusion isn’t easy since it may have come from many different sources. Here we should mention that none of the following reasons we will mention are no more than well-reasoned theories; none of it has been solidly proven. So don’t be deluded with the following reasons of delusion!

Genetic reasons

Some researchers say, with some supporting studies, that delusion may run in the family. If your aunt suffers from seeing things, you may some day suffer from some kind of delusion too. The brain shape may have something to do with it, or the way the chemicals work in the brain.

Dysfunctional cognitive processing

This is a bit hard to explain. This theory more or less states that most people have trouble interpreting life as it is; and those having more difficulty in this end up “cheating”. That is to say, when they can’t grasp the big picture, they make up something smaller and easier (in contrast) and use it as the interpretation of life. Religion is a very good example of this.

If uncontrolled, one simple wrong belief may grow up and consume your whole life.

Defensive delusions

This theory is not so much different from the above. When some people can’t cope up with the demands of life, they become convinced that some other people are behind their failures, but s/he is just perfect and couldn’t possibly have failed if only those people didn’t interfere.

Biological reasons

If somehow your brain is suffering from some physical issues, like imbalance in neurotransmitters or hormonal issues, then that might end up in creating delusions.

Trauma

There is a saying that once hurt is twice shy. If you have been severely hurt by some incident, it would be easy to develop an irrational fear of something related to that incident. For example, a boy was eating samosas while he got the news of his mother’s death; and for the rest of his life he couldn’t eat samosas ever.

delusion can come from stress
image courtesy: everydayfeminism

Stress and depression

Ah, stress — what problems does it not bring? Grandiose delusions are often connected to a stressful life imposed upon an imaginative mind. And depression makes people lonely; which makes them vulnerable to misguided convictions.

External pressure

Targeted brainwashing by media and social sites causes no end of delusions, and in my opinion that should be a punishable crime. Furthermore, if you come in close contact with a deluded person you run a high chance of getting deluded yourself.

Childbirth or Menopause

After giving birth or having problems with periods, the wild confusion of hormones in a woman’s body can render her mind weak to suggestions. She may start thinking of things that do not happen. At these times, they need all the help and support you can give.

Paranoia is a big sign of delusion.

Being paranoid about something is a big sign of delusion.

When someone gets paranoid about something — that is, they believe fanatically into something so desperately that their whole life gets overshadowed by this one belief — that is a paranoid disorder, one of the worst kinds of delusion.

Please be careful about what you believe! Always ask yourself this — “Do I know this for a fact, supported by solid, verifiable evidence? Or, do I just believe this to be true, and cling to it?”

If the second answer is yes, then you should try to cleanse yourself of that belief quickly. Because, if left unchecked, that one belief may grow into paranoia and/or fanaticism.

Don’t worry, it can be fixed

If you’ve got delusional thoughts for over a month or so, or you still keep a belief in spite of getting contrary proofs, then you may be suffering from delusional disorder. You should immediately talk to a proper mental health specialist. It is easy to cure light delusional tendencies with some meds and psychotherapy. Do it before you become a danger to people around you!

Author: Swarna Karmakar

Swarna is an experienced content writer and marketer from Kolkata, India. His amateur interest in psychology, born out of mental health troubles he has experienced himself and among his friends and family, has led him to the dream that is Our Clear Minds. He works as a Senior Content Writer, and enjoys instrumental music and science fiction books in his pass time.

2 Replies to “What is Delusion

  1. Can you please suggest some ways to cure delusion without going to the doctor…?

  2. Pingback: Narcissism – Do You Love Yourself Too Much – Our Clear Minds

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