Dealing with Someone with Delusional Disorder

And this is how you deal with client having delusions

Dealing with Someone with Delusional Disorder

Delusional Disorder, also known as paranoid disorder, is a type of mental health disorder that makes it difficult for an individual to differentiate between real and imaginary. A type of psychotic disorder, the person affected by the condition loses contact with the reality and can’t tell what is real from what’s imagined.

Delusions are the main symptoms of this disorder. These are defined as false belief in something that is untrue or an abnormality in thinking but is in no way related to the person’s culture, religion, caste, or any other similar factor. Generally, delusions are caused due to mental illnesses, but these can also be caused due to other factors such as brain injury. Some of the common mental illnesses diagnosed in individuals with this disorder are schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, bipolar disorder, major depression, to name a few.

An individual dealing with delusional disorder often experiences non-bizarre delusions i.e., situations that one can possibly experience in real life, such as being followed by someone, deceived, or loved from a distance. It is important to remember that people affected by delusional disorder continue to socialize and function well, apart from the subject of their delusion. This is not seen in people dealing with other psychotic disorders and have delusions as one of its symptoms.

Symptoms of Delusional Disorder

Keeping a close check on an individual showing delusions is important to check the presence of delusional disorder. This is to ensure an early intervention and offering the right treatment at the right time. Some of the common symptoms developed by individuals dealing with delusional disorder are:

  • Inaccurate/irrational delusions
  • Anger
  • Violent behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feeling of being exploited
  • Holding grudges
  • Readiness to react to perceived offends

Causes of Delusional Disorder

Although, the exact factors leading to delusional disorder are not yet known, researchers have identified the role of several factors in leading to this disorder. Some of these include: 

  • Family history of the condition
  • Genetics
  • Abnormalities in brain functioning
  • Social isolation
  • Jealousy
  • Low self-esteem
  • Suspicion

Treatment of Delusional Disorder

Delusional disorder is generally treated using psychotherapy i.e., talk therapy and medications. The condition cannot be treated alone using medications. It is also common for people with delusional disorder to not realize the presence of the condition and therefore, they do not seek help for the same. They generally seek treatment for anxiety or depression or any other similar issues. Sometimes, the condition gets so severe that the individual affected by the condition is hospitalized to avoid any risk of self-harm.

Helping a person dealing with delusional disorder is a step-by-step procedure. This may include the following:

  1. Establish the trust with the concerned individual : Do not challenge their delusions. Make them feel safe and encourage them to be vocal about their feelings. Focus on building a trusting relationship rather them trying to control their symptoms. 
  1. Identify the type of delusion : The disorder can affect an individual in various forms such as grandiose, jealous, persecutory, somatic, mixed or erotomanic. Try to understand their condition and empathize with them. Never ask about the delusion when the person is fine. 
  1. Identify the effect of delusion on person’s life : Identify and determine how the delusion is interfering in person’s life. Determine if the person has ever taken any action based on the delusion.
  1. Assess the frequency and duration of delusion : Keep a note of the duration of the delusions, the time at which they occur and the activities that may trigger them. Some delusions may last for a shorter duration while others may last for long. 
  1. Try to distract the person from delusion : If the person greets you with delusion, just listen quietly and then resume the task at hand. In case, he/she does not stop talking about the delusion, try to distract him/her by reminding them of the task at hand and that they need to resume it now.

If the person you know is dealing with delusions, you can offer your support by offering empathy and showing support for their condition. Do not get frustrated when talking to the person and keep calm as this would help him/her feel better. Further, you can offer more support if you hold a better understanding of the condition and know the ways to deal with it.

Athena Foundation is the place where you can come and gain a better understanding of all the concepts related to delusions. With its ample courses, Athena Foundation helps you gain a broader and better understanding of all the terms related to mental illnesses. If you would like to know more about these courses, contact us today at +91 9599093700

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