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Hallucinations and Delusions that are necessary to diagnose Schizophrenia

Updated on July 14, 2014

Schizophrenia is a mental illness characterized by delusions and hallucinations. It is a serious disorder with tremendous burden to the person as well as to the care givers. In addition, schizophrenia needs long term treatment and for that an accurate diagnosis is required. To arrive at a diagnosis several diagnostic guidelines have evolved. One of them is ICD – 10 or the international classification of diseases. It was developed by the World Health Organization or WHO.

What is a delusion?

Delusion is an unshakable belief that is out of keeping with the person’s cultural, educational, and social background. In addition, it is not amenable to logical reasoning and the patient held it with extraordinary conviction and subjective certainty. A delusion can sometimes be true, but most of the time they are false beliefs. Even the belief is true, reason the deluded person gives for holding it is not logical and is not amenable for reasoning. Most of the time delusions seen in schizophrenia are bizarre and out of this world. E.g. Martians control my thoughts.

What is a hallucination?

Hallucination is a false perception that is not a distortion of a real perception. In addition, hallucinations arise with and alongside the real perceptions. Therefore, the patient could not differentiate between the real perception and hallucination. It is usually not under the voluntary control of the patient, which springs up on its own as a quite new experience.

What are the hallucinations and delusions that help the diagnosis?

According to the ICD -10 diagnostic criteria following delusions and hallucinations are diagnostic of schizophrenia.


1. Delusions of control: - The person believes his actions, thoughts, emotions and feelings are controlled by an outside agency.

2. Thought insertion and thought withdrawal: - The patient believes that his/her thoughts are being meddled with.

3. Thought broadcasting : - The patient believes that his thoughts are known to others

4. Delusional perception: - Giving abnormal interpretation to a normal perception. Turning the traffic lights red means I am a homosexual.


1. Third person auditory hallucinations: - Patient hears two or several people speaking referencing the patient in third person.

2. Thought echo: - Hearing the patient’s own thoughts spoken aloud.

3. Running commentary: - Hearing the patient’s own actions spoken as a running commentary.


Schizophrenia is a serious psychiatric disorder which needed to treat for longer duration. At least one of These hallucination or delusion should be present for more than one month to diagnose schizophrenia.


ICD – 10 diagnostic guidelines

Symptoms of the mind by Andrew sims


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Yaa it really scary..I at that world now ..

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      a useful article

    • njmanura profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Manura Nanayakkara 

      8 years ago from Sri Lanka

      Thanks for the comment, another frightening fact is, around 1 percent of population has a risk of getting this devastating disease. It will rob your mind.

    • profile image

      rorshak sobchak 

      8 years ago

      I feel so bad for people who suffer from hallucinations. This would be a very scary illness.


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