What Are Schizophrenia Delusions?

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People with schizophrenia have problems interpreting reality and differentiating between what is real and what is not. Hallucinations and delusions are therefore common. Hallucinations can be defined as hearing or seeing something that isn’t really there, although any one of the senses can be affected. Delusions on the other hand can be defined as believing in something that is obviously not true.

Delusions and Schizophrenia

As we have ascertained, delusions can basically be described as ‘false beliefs’. Delusions of grandeur and delusions of paranoia or persecution are quite common features in schizophrenia.

With delusions of grandeur the person may have a fixed idea which is totally bizarre, such as believing they are a famous figure or religious personality, or otherwise special or important in some way. They might think they have special magical powers or they might believe they are a secret spy on a special mission or that they are the ‘chosen’ one to carry out an important role or task in society. Even a simple television programme or a news broadcast might lead them to believe that people talking on the television set are sending personal messages to them.

With delusions of paranoia the individual is likely to be suspicious of the intention of others, even members of their own family. Again, the idea can be fixed. They might think there is a government plot out to assassinate them, that their neighbours want to kill them, that they are being followed, spied upon, talked about, conspired against and so on. Everyday events are misinterpreted to reinforce their beliefs.

The individual with schizophrenia will usually not consider alternative explanations and are rigid in their belief system despite all attempts to reason with them.  It might even lead them to believe that the person trying to reason with them is part of a secret plot and is out to get them.

What is interesting about schizophrenia and delusions is that there are some similar features and themes.

A study by Skodlar et al published last year in 2008 describes how when communism collapsed in Slovenia and people were once again able to follow a religion, religious delusions increased.

Delusions involving information being beamed to an individual over the airwaves is quite common now but didn’t exist before television and radio were invented.

Today, with huge developments in information and communication technologies persecution and paranoia delusions are more common than in the past and researchers are now starting to publish their findings on studies of schizophrenic patients with delusions regarding the Internet.

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