Delusional Thoughts

Blonde woman wearing green top suffering from delusional disorder

Delusional Disorder Symptoms

Imagine being lost in the depths of an idea that you believe to be true, contrary to any evidence provided to you. No matter how many people tell you the opposite, you are not shaken; your belief persists. This is a delusion.

There are many types of delusions that people experience. It is not known what causes delusions, but they are often very difficult to break, like a glitch in a computer operating system. However, people with delusions often remain functional: they continue working, maintaining relationships and taking care of themselves.

Relationships can become affected when a delusion centers around a specific person. For instance, in erotomania, the delusional person believes that another individual (i.e., often of higher status, like a celebrity) is in love with them, despite having never met that higher status person. In the jealousy type of delusional disorder, a man or woman wholeheartedly believes that his or her spouse is sleeping with someone else, despite no evidence.

A person with a persecutory delusion may believe that someone is out to cause them harm. Paranoia does not always have to be present; the person may be functional and continue working without being delusional at work. But when he or she arrives home, they may start ruminating on their delusion. Persecutory delusions are the most common type experienced.

The difference between delusional disorder and other psychotic disorders is that the former does not greatly impact the person’s life; they often remain productive. On the other hand, schizophrenics have a higher likelihood of becoming nonfunctional due to the nature of their illness: auditory hallucinations, delusions and disorganized speech and behavior.

Delusions are the most difficult symptoms to treat in psychotic patients; auditory hallucinations can easily go away with antipsychotic medications, but delusions make up the structure of a patient’s reality. If the structure collapses, two possible scenarios emerge: the patient obtains a positive realization or becomes depressed when confronted with reality.

Always be careful when confronting someone’s delusion; violence is not uncommon when a delusional person feels threatened or offended. Always use your heart and be empathetic to anyone you talk to, delusional or not!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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The Mind of a Schizophrenic Patient

Schizophrenic patient with inappropriate laughter

The Meaning of Psychosis

Psychosis is a mental disorder in which thoughts and emotions are so impaired that contact with external reality is lost. The mind of a schizophrenic patient includes hallucinations, delusions or disorganized thinking; usually multiple symptoms are present.

Taking the time to listen to a schizophrenic patient will give you a glimpse into their world; their eyes are the windows to their psychotic reality. When you listen to a schizophrenic patient describe their reality, you will come to realize how different they view the world.

They may hear voices in their head that are “half animal and half human;” can you imagine how frightening this must be for any person? Their entire psychological well-being is disturbed; it feels like a living nightmare. They may also experience bugs crawling on their skin; this is known as tactile hallucinations.

A schizophrenic patient may be very disorganized in their thoughts, often interpreting reality in a distorted way that does not make sense to others. They may believe that their family has turned against them, that people are after them and stealing their clothes or that their mind is being controlled by the government.

It is very sad to obtain a glimpse into the world of a schizophrenic patient; your heart just melts when you come to the realization of how distorted their reality has become over the years. You want to help them as much as you can and you hope that when you come in to work the next day, the patient will be in a better place psychologically; sometimes they are, but other times the rabbit hole became deeper overnight.

We need to come together and be supportive of schizophrenic patients; the mental health stigma must end! They are often very loving and creative individuals; just because they have “lost their mind” does not mean that they should lose our support! We have a responsibility to help our fellow human beings come back on a level playing field and join us in a healthy state of mind!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Schizophrenics Have Souls Too

Shade photo of woman with schizophrenia

Time To End The Word Crazy?

The stigma of mental health is slowly decreasing in the United States, but many people still label schizophrenics as “crazy.” The problem with this negative connotation is that it trains people to ostracize schizophrenics, almost as if society is “too good for them.”

A schizophrenic person experiences either auditory and/or visual hallucinations, disorganized thinking and/or delusions. Their composure varies from almost indistinguishable from a person without the disorder to extreme agitation and disorganization; the latter is why people are tempted to throw the word “crazy” at them.

If we continue to use the world crazy to label schizophrenics, the stigma of mental health will persist. A better word to replace crazy with is “psychotic”; it is more formal and educational. Can you imagine being a schizophrenic patient and overhearing other people in society label you as crazy? Schizophrenics have souls too! They can understand and feel emotions, sometimes even better than people without the disorder.

Schizophrenics have families, desires, wishes and plans to improve and live a decent life again; especially those institutionalized in state facilities! Imagine living in a state facility, where every day, you walk the same corridor, eat the same meals and stare out the same windows to get a glimpse into society, all while experiencing internal stimuli?

The DSM Ready Movement is advocating for the elimination of the word crazy to be used towards mental health patients! We all have feelings, desires, dreams and goals! No one is crazy; we are just different. And different is what makes this world a beautiful place to grow and learn from.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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