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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Questions about delusions

 happycat - Tue Oct 18, 2005 6:06 am

Hello all,
I am writing a book (fiction, therefore no need for 100% accurate info, as long as it is "believable") and I would like answers to the following questions, or perhaps a website through which I could obtain this information. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

1) Is it possible for a person with delusions to "create" with his/her imagination another person? That is, if someone is delusional,can they believe that e.g. they have a brother even if that's not true?

2) Would it be possible to "create" situations and fill in blanks in order to fulfill the delusion? For example, would a person with this delusion go and buy flowers, only to believe afterwards that this imaginary brother bought them?

3) Would a trauma be the best trigger for such a condition?

4) A special case of question #2. In order to make ends meet and "satisfy" the delusion, would a person with this delusion e.g. talk to a friend portraying the "brother", thinking afterwards that it was, of course, the brother that was talking?

5) How would the environment ( and the obvious material contradictions) affect this delusion? For example, If this delusional person is with his/her "brother" in a party and people are keep asking "where the heck is your brother, i don't see anyone", would that affect the delusional person as to doubt his/herself or the delusion would "provide" a rational explanation. (e.g. "you people are idiots, come one bro, let's get out of here")

Thank you in advance
 lilysuzanne - Sun Oct 23, 2005 1:37 am

I am not a doctor.Look up schizophrenia delusions,MPD and paranoid and narcisistic personality disorders. That should give you insight into delusional thinking. Also, maybe drug addiction.
 sdfirenze - Sat Nov 12, 2005 6:31 am

Hello Happy Cat,

I am a graduate student in psychology. I'm afraid that the delusion that you are describing is probably a little more elaborate then you would typically find in a high functioning individual. For example, it is certainly possible that individuals who suffer from delusions could "make up" a person, such as a brother. However, performing tasks such as buying flowers and then believing that they were from the brother becomes a little less likely. What might be more likely would be to attribute naturally happening things to the delusion. Keep in mind, a delusion is usually very irrational so the individual likely would not have to "fill in the blanks" but rather ignore or be indifferent to the inconsistencies.

To the best of my knowledge, most delusions are not caused by trauma. The possible exception to that is Dissociative Identity Disoder (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder). This is not actually considered a delusional disorder but is the result of severe childhood trauma. The truth is we know very little about what causes delusions. Also, by definition a delusion does not include seeing things. A person with a delusion would not necessarily believe that they see their brother, but rather would hold that the brother exists even though they may never actually talk to or see the brother. If the individual is seeing people, then this would be considered a hallucination. Hallucinations and delusions often happen together. The book (and movie) "A Beautiful Mind" does a good job of describing how delusions can interact with reality. I would suggest reading that for ideas. Also, looking at information about Schizophrenia and Delusional Disorders might be of help.

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