ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

10 Types of Delusions

Updated on July 10, 2013

A delusion is a belief held by an individual that contradicts what a culture generally accepts as reality. It can be a single anomaly in an otherwise mentally sound and functional individual, but delusions are also common in schizophrenic patients alongside a myriad of other symptoms. A delusion is different from a hallucination because it deals with a belief or idea in the mind rather than a perception of something that isn't there. For example hearing voices is a hallucination while believing that you can shapeshift into an animal is a delusion.

1. Cotard's Syndrome

Persons with Cotard's syndrome believe that they are dead. This rare delusion, also known as Walking Corpse Syndrome, was recently mentioned on NBC's Hannibal series, but it was first identified in the 19th century by a French neurologist named Jules Cotard. One of Cotard's patients who had this condition, referred to as Mademoiselle X in his lectures, did not feel that she needed to eat because of the syndrome and died of starvation as a result.

A person with Cotard's syndrome may also believe that they are rotting, that they don't exist, or that they are immortal. One reason that these people may believe that they have passed on is that the disease is also connected with an inability to recognize faces and react emotionally to faces so that through their blurry vision others may take on a ghostly quality. I'm surprised no one has referred to it as Dante's syndrome after Dante's Inferno.

2. Clinical Lycanthropy

Lycanthropy is a word for the mythological condition in which a person is able to turn into a wolf, making them a werewolf, while clinical lycanthropy is when a person believes that they can shapeshift into an animal. A person with clinical lycanthropy may actually mimic an animal's movements or sounds. The delusion may be caused by changes in the parts of the brain that represent body shape which means the person may actually have the sense that they are shapeshifting. It's interesting that werewolves once accepted as reality by superstitious people and are now considered a delusion.

3. Fregoli Delusion

People with Fregoli delusion believe that different people they know are the same person who is changing shape. (Kind of like what happens when someone uses Polyjuice potion in the Harry Potter series.) It is believed this is caused by brain dysfuction that impairs the ability to recognize faces. Instead of a neurologist or psychiatrist, this delusion is named after an actor, Leopoldo Fregoli, who made frequent, hasty costume changes.

4. Exbom's Syndrome

People with Ekbom's syndrome or delusional parasitosis believe that they are infested with parasites. These parasites may be worms, lice, fleas, spiders, or other insects. If they specifically feel like the insects are crawling on or beneath their skin this is also known as formication, which is associated with drug withdrawal. This delusion is named after a Swedish neurologist who studied it and published in his findings in 1937 and 1938. Another related condition is delusory cleptoparasitosis, where a person believes that the place they live in is infested and may see insects crawling out of holes in the wall.

5. Capgras Syndrome

With capgras syndrome, a person believes that someone they know has been replaced by someone who looks just like them. Like Cotard's syndrome, Capgras syndrome involves a problem with the perception of faces. Capgras syndrome was first described over forty years after Cotard's syndrome, by a French psychiatrist named Joseph Capgras. He treated a women named Mademoiselle M. who believed that her husband had been replaced by an identical impostor.

6. Othello Syndrome

Othello and Desdemona, Alexandre-Marie Colin (1829)
Othello and Desdemona, Alexandre-Marie Colin (1829)

Othello syndrome is when a person believes that their partner is cheating on them when this is not the case and experiences intense jealousy. The term comes from Shakespeare's play Othello, in which Othello murders his wife Desdemona due to the false belief that she has been unfaithful. Shakespeare's works have remained classics because of his keen understanding of the human psyche. Psychological problems like this one are major elements of many of his plots. In real life, Othello syndrome sometimes really results in the person with the delusion killing themselves or killing their partner.

7. Anton's Syndrome

With Anton's syndrome, blind people deny that they are blind. A person may develop Anton's syndrome if their blindness occurs because the main part of the brain that controls vision dies due to a lack of blood supply caused by an obstruction. However the part of the brain that identifies spatial orientation, color, size, and shape and recognizes objects remains intact. One theory about Anton's syndrome is that the patients are experiencing synesthesia and turning sensory input from their other four senses into visuals that are actually mental images. They believe they are actually seeing these mental images.

8. Clérambault's Syndrome

Clérambault's syndrome or erotomania is when a person believes that another person is in love with them which sometimes results in stalking and trespassing. The targets of erotomania are usually strangers, especially celebrities or people of higher social status. Erotomania is different from unrequited love because the erotomaniac actually believes that the other person is in love with them. They may feel like the other person is sending them messages telepathically.

Macbeth, Johann Christoph Kimpfel (1787)
Macbeth, Johann Christoph Kimpfel (1787)

9. Persecutory Delusions

Persecutory delusions are some of the most well-known types of delusions. Some schizophrenics have paranoia and believe they are being followed and/or spied on. Macbeth from Shakespeare's play becomes paranoid after he takes the throne of Scotland by murdering King Duncan and worries that someone will try to usurp his power the same way that he usurped Duncan's power. A tool used in psychiatry to measure paranoia is the Paranoia Hierarchy, with more normal feelings like fear of rejection and danger at the bottom and the belief that people are intentionally trying to physically and psychologically harm you at the top.

10. Religious Delusions

People with religious delusions believe they are a saint or a god or are in contact with spirits. Religious delusions are common in schizophrenics. Since religious belief is not based on rationality, it can be hard to see at what point a religious person should be considered delusional. Freud thought of religion as an obsessive neurosis and that all religious people didn't see reality clearly. A recent study tried to retrospectively analyze religious figures like Jesus and Moses to determine if they could have been suffering from delusions themselves.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 

      4 years ago from Jaipur

      Good job. Rated interesting and up!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)