Delusional disorder is an uncommon psychiatric condition in which patients present with circumscribed symptoms of non-bizarre delusions, but with the absence of prominent hallucinations and no thought disorder, mood disorder, or significant flattening of affect. For the diagnosis to be made, auditory and visual hallucinations cannot be prominent, though olfactory or tactile hallucinations related to the content of the delusion may be present.
To be diagnosed with delusional disorder, the delusion or delusions cannot be due to the effects of a drug, medication, or general medical condition, and delusional disorder cannot be diagnosed in an individual previously diagnosed with schizophrenia. A person with delusional disorder may be high functioning in daily life and may not exhibit odd or bizarre behavior aside from these delusions. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines six subtypes of the disorder characterized as erotomanic (believes that someone famous is in love with him/her), grandiose (believes that he/she is the greatest, strongest, fastest, most intelligent person ever), jealous (believes that the love partner is cheating on him/her), persecutory (believes that someone is following him/her to do some harm in some way), somatic (believes that he/she has a disease or medical condition), and mixed, i.e., having features of more than one subtypes. Delusions also occur as symptoms of many other mental disorders, especially the other psychotic disorders.
The DSM-IV, and psychologists, generally agree that personal beliefs should be evaluated with great respect to complexity of cultural and religious differences since some cultures have widely accepted beliefs that may be considered delusional in other cultures.Learn More
Schizophreniform disorder is a mental disorder diagnosed when symptoms of schizophrenia are present for a significant portion of the time within a one-month period, but signs of disruption are not present for the full six months required for the diagnosis of schizophrenia.
The symptoms of both disorders can include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, disorganized or catatonic behavior, and social withdrawal. While impairment in social, occupational, or academic functioning is required for the diagnosis of schizophrenia, in schizophreniform disorder an individual’s level of functioning may or may not be affected. While the onset of schizophrenia is often gradual over a number of months or years, the onset of schizophreniform disorder can be relatively rapid.
Like schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder is often treated with antipsychotic medications, especially the atypicals, along with a variety of social supports (such as individual psychotherapy, family therapy, occupational therapy, etc.) designed to reduce the social and emotional impact of the illness. The prognosis varies depending upon the nature, severity, and duration of the symptoms, but about two-thirds of individuals diagnosed with schizophreniform disorder go on to develop schizophrenia.
Schizophreniform disorder is a type of mental illness that is characterized by psychosis and closely related to schizophrenia. Both schizophrenia and schizophreniform disorder, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), have the same symptoms and essential features except for two differences: the level of functional impairment and the duration of symptoms. Impairment in social, occupational, or academic functioning is always present in schizophrenia, but such impairment may or may not be present in schizopheniform disorder. In schizophreniform disorder, the symptoms (including prodromal, active, and residual phases) must last at least 1 month but not more than 6 months, while in schizophrenia the symptoms must be present for a minimum of 6 months.
If the symptoms have persisted for at least one month, a provisional diagnosis of schizophreniform disorder can be made while waiting to see if recovery occurs. If the symptoms resolve within 6 months of onset, the provisional qualifier is removed from the diagnosis. However, if the symptoms persist for 6 months or more, the diagnosis of schizophreniform disorder must be revised. The diagnosis of brief psychotic disorder may be considered when the duration of symptoms is less than one month.
The main symptoms of both schizophreniform disorder and schizophrenia can include:
- disorganized speech resulting from formal thought disorder,
- disorganized or catatonic behavior, and negative symptoms, such as
- an inability to show emotion (flat affect),
- an inability to experience pleasure (anhedonia),
- impaired or decreased speech (aphasia),
- a lack of desire to form relationships (asociality), and
- a lack of motivation (avolition).
Folie à deux is a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief are projected from one individual to another. The same syndrome shared by more than two people may be called folie à trois, folie à quatre, folie en famille or even folie à plusieurs (“madness of many”). Recent psychiatric classifications refer to the syndrome as shared psychotic disorder (DSM-IV) (297.3) and induced delusional disorder (F.24) in the ICD-10, although the research literature largely uses the original name. The disorder was first conceptualized in 19th century French psychiatry.
This case study is taken from Enoch and Ball’s ‘Uncommon Psychiatric Syndromes’ (2001, p181): Margaret and her husband Michael, both aged 34 years, were discovered to be suffering from folie à deux when they were both found to be sharing similar persecutory delusions. They believed that certain persons were entering their house, spreading dust and fluff and “wearing down their shoes”. Both had, in addition, other symptoms supporting a diagnosis of emotional contagion, which could be made independently in either case.
This syndrome is most commonly diagnosed when the two or more individuals concerned live in proximity and may be socially or physically isolated and have little interaction with other people.
Various sub-classifications of folie à deux have been proposed to describe how the delusional belief comes to be held by more than one person.
- Folie imposée is where a dominant person (known as the ‘primary’, ‘inducer’ or ‘principal’) initially forms a delusional belief during a psychotic episode and imposes it on another person or persons (known as the ‘secondary’, ‘acceptor’ or ‘associate’) with the assumption that the secondary person might not have become deluded if left to his or her own devices. If the parties are admitted to hospital separately, then the delusions in the person with the induced beliefs usually resolve without the need of medication.
- Folie simultanée describes either the situation where two people considered to suffer independently from psychosis influence the content of each other’s delusions so they become identical or strikingly similar, or one in which two people “morbidly predisposed” to delusional psychosis mutually trigger symptoms in each other.
Brief psychotic disorder is a period of psychosis whose duration is generally shorter, non re-occurring, and not better accounted for by another condition.
The disorder is characterized by a sudden onset of psychotic symptoms, which may include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior, or catatonic behavior. The symptoms must not be better accounted for by schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, delusional disorderor mania in bipolar disorder. They must also not be caused by a drug (such as amphetamines) or medical condition (such as a brain tumor).
Symptoms generally last at least a day, but not more than a month, and there is an eventual return to full baseline functioning. It may occur in response to a significant stressor in a person’s life, or in other situations where a stressor is not apparent, including in the weeks following birth. In diagnosis, a careful distinction is considered for culturally appropriate behaviors, such as religious beliefs and activities. It is believed to be connected to or synonymous with a variety of culture-specific phenomena such as latah, koro, and amokLearn More