The 12 most curious and shocking types of delusions
Delusions are a phenomenon that has aroused the interest of psychiatrists and psychologists for decades. After all, for a long time we have believed that we tend to analyze the information that comes to us through our senses in a rational way, and that if we fall into deception, it will be because our eyes or ears have betrayed us.
However, the existence of delusions shows that we can interpret things in a deeply wrong way even when our senses provide us with perfectly reliable information.
Weird delusions: alterations when interpreting reality
Unlike what happens in hallucinations, in which alterations in the information perceived by the different senses of the body are perceived, in delusions what is strange and not very credible is the way in which ideas are organized , that is, the way in which reality is interpreted.
To understand this idea, nothing better than seeing some examples of the most curious and extreme delusions of which there is evidence in pathological cases.
Types of delusions (and their characteristics)
One way to classify delusions is to use the categories of non-pathological delusions and strange delusions. . Below we will show some examples belonging to the second category: the delusions that are so strange that they go against what we know about what reality is like and that are extremely unlikely even before their veracity has been put to the test.
1. Cotard syndrome
People with Cotard Syndrome present one of the strangest delusions that are known: they believe they are dead physically or spiritually This delusion can take many forms: some people believe that they are rotting inside literally, while others simply believe that the plane of reality in which they live is that of the dead.
In general, this type of delirium is accompanied by apathy, that is, the pathological absence of motivation or initiative. After all, there are few things that can be meaningful for someone who thinks he is dead and, in a way, feels he does not belong "to this world".
- If you are interested in learning more about this syndrome, you can read more about it in this article.
2. Enemy Complex
People who manifest Enemy Complex hold the delusional idea that they are surrounded by enemies who seek an opportunity to hurt them physically, psychologically or symbolically. In this way, a good part of the actions of others will be interpreted as acts directed at oneself; scratching the nose can be a signal for another enemy to prepare to attack us, looking in our direction can be part of an espionage strategy, etc. It is a belief related to persecutory mania.
3. Diffusion of thought
People who hold this form of delirium believe that their thoughts are audible to others , that is, they produce sound waves that can be recorded by the ears and by electronic devices, as would happen with any noise. Of course, this delusional idea produces great frustration and anxiety, as it leads to arousing of "mental police" and self-censorship even though one does not have total control over what crosses his mind.
4. Thinking reading
In this type of strange delirium the person believe that others (or a part of people, regardless of whether they are near or far) can read their thoughts through a kind of telepathic contact. This belief is often translated into the appearance of rituals created to avoid that supposed reading of thought: to repeat again and again "protective words", to wrap your head in something, etc.
5. Theft of thought
People who express this delirium believe that someone is stealing some ideas right after they are created. It is a sensation similar to the phenomenon of "having something on the tip of the tongue", although in this case it is perceived as a process in stages: first that thought is created and just then disappears to go to another place that is unknown .
6. Insertion of thought
In this delirium the belief that part of the thoughts that circulate in one's head have been introduced into one's mind by an alien entity , in a similar way to what is proposed in the movie Inception (in Spanish, "Origin").
7. Capgras syndrome
One of the symptoms of this rare syndrome is the belief of someone important in our lives has been replaced by another person practically identical to the previous one.Patients with this strange delirium believe that only they realize the deception and that the impostor or imposter has managed to make all others have not noticed the substitution.
In this way, although the person recognizes in the other's features the objective traits that serve to identify someone's face, this information does not produce the normal emotional reaction.
- If you want to know more about Capgras Syndrome, you can read this article.
8. Fregoli syndrome
This syndrome is associated with a type of delirium similar to the previous one. As in the case of Capgras, here is also a form of false delusional identification: in the Fregoli Syndrome, the person believes that everyone else, or a good part of the people around them, are really a single character that is constantly changing its appearance. This belief easily leads to other delusions based on the idea that someone is chasing us.
9. Delirium of greatness
People with delusions of grandeur they sincerely believe that they have qualities that are far above what would be expected of a human being : the ability to make everyone happy, to always offer the best conversations in history, etc. Any action they take, however anecdotal or routine, will be seen by them as a great contribution to the community.
It is important to emphasize the fact that people with this type of delirium really believe in their superior abilities, and that it is not a question of giving the best self-image to others by deliberately exaggerating their positive traits.
10. Reduplicative paramnesia
People with this kind of paramnesia believe that one place or landscape has been replaced by another , or else that the same place is in two places at the same time. For example, someone visiting a new building in Madrid may believe that this place is actually the nursery of Buenos Aires that I used to go to during its first years of life.
- An example of this strange delirium we have in the case explained in this article.
11. Delirium of control
Who presents delirium of control he thinks he's a kind of puppet in the hands of a superior force that controls him . This can be expressed by saying that there is someone who is possessing his own body, or that he is receiving a series of instructions in a telepathic way and that he has an obligation to fulfill them.
12. Delirium of The Truman Show
In the movie The Truman Show, Jim Carrey plays a man who has been raised on a gigantic television set in the form of a city, surrounded by cameras and actors who play a role, without him noticing. This work of fiction served as inspiration to brothers Ian and Joel Gold, philosopher the first and psychiatrist the second, who in 2008 they used this name to designate cases of people who believed they lived in a televised fiction in which the only real character are them. This delirium presents characteristics of the delirium of grandeur and persecutory mania.
- American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2002). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR.Barcelona: Masson.
- Valiente, C. (2002): Hallucinations and delusions. Madrid: Synthesis.