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General Practice 2023

Delírio: what é, main types, causes and treatment

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Delírio: what é, main types, causes and treatment
Delírio: what é, main types, causes and treatment

Delusion, also known as delusional disorder, is the alteration of the content of thought, in which there are no hallucinations or language alterations, but in which the person strongly believes in an unrealistic idea, even when it has already been proven that they do not and truth. Some of the signs that indicate delusion are believing that you have superpowers, that you are being pursued by enemies, that you have been poisoned or that you have been betrayed by your spouse, for example, making it difficult to distinguish imagination from reality.

Delusion appears in isolation or can be a symptom of people with psychosis, alcohol and drug abuse, after a brain injury or in the presence of other mental disorders, so it needs treatment with a psychiatrist.

It is important not to confuse delirium with delirium, which is a state of mental confusion related to changes in brain activity, and usually affects hospitalized elderly people or those with some type of dementia. Learn more about what is delirium and its main causes.

Main types

There are several types of delusion, but the main ones are:

1. Persecution delusion or paranoia

The bearer of this type of delusion believes that he is being persecuted, and claims that there are enemies who are trying to kill, poison, defame or who want to do him some harm, without this being true.

2. Delusion of grandeur

In this case, the person believes he is superior to other people, for having an important position or for having fantastic abilities, such as having superpowers, being God or the president of the republic, for example.

3. Self-reference delusion

The person has the conviction that some event or object, even if insignificant, has special meaning. This one feels the center of observation and attention and even the most insignificant of events is endowed with very important meaning.

4. Jealousy delusion

In this type of delusion, the person is convinced that he is being deceived by his partner, and starts to see any sign, such as looks, words or attitudes as proof of his suspicion. This situation can lead to the emergence of aggression and domestic violence.

5. Delusion of control or influence

The affected person believes that his actions and his thinking are controlled by another person, a group of people or external forces. They may also believe that they are influenced by radiation, telepathies or special machines controlled by enemies to harm them.

6. Other types

There are also other types of delusion, such as the erotomaniac, in which the person believes that another person, usually famous, is in love with him, the somatic, in which there are beliefs about altered bodily sensations, in addition to others, like the mystic or revenge.

In addition, there may be mixed delusional disorder, in which the types of delusion may vary, with no predominant type.

What causes delusion

Delusional disorder is a psychiatric illness, and although its exact causes have not yet been clarified, it is known that its onset is related to genetic alterations, as it is more common among people from the same family. However, there are also other factors that increase the risk of having delusions, such as drug use, medication use, head trauma, certain infections or negative psychological experiences, for example.

Delusion can also be a symptom that is part of or can be confused with other psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, brain injuries, obsessive-compulsive disorder, severe depression or bipolar disorder, for example. Learn more about what schizophrenia is and how to identify it.

The diagnosis of delirium is confirmed after an evaluation by the psychiatrist, who will observe the signs and symptoms presented, the patient's way of talking and, if necessary, request tests to identify other types of diseases that may influence in case.

How the treatment is done

The treatment of delirium depends on its cause, and it is generally necessary to use antipsychotic drugs, such as Haloperidol or Quetiapine, for example, antidepressants or tranquilizers, according to each case, which are indicated by the psychiatrist.

The family may also need help, and it is necessary to guide family members and suggest support groups. The evolution of the delirium and the time of treatment is variable and may last hours, days, months or years, which depends on the severity and clinical conditions of the patient.

Are delusion and hallucination the same thing?

Delusion and hallucination are different symptoms because, while delusion is believing in something impossible, hallucinations are misperceptions, manifested through sight, hearing, touch or smell, such as visualizing dead people or monsters, hearing voices, feeling bites or smells that are not there, for example.

These symptoms can appear separately or together in the same person, and usually appear in the presence of other mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, depression, schizoid disorders, psychosis or drug intoxication, for example.

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