The delusional disorder most often occurs in the middle to late life, with the average age of onset being 40 years. Although delusions might be a symptom of more common disorders, such as schizophrenia, delusional disorder is rare. Approximately 0.05% to 0.1% of adults have a delusional disorder.
Delusional disorder is a type of psychotic disorder. Its main symptom is the presence of one or more delusions. A delusion is an unshakable belief in something untrue. The idea isn’t part of the person’s culture or subculture, and almost everyone knows this belief to be false.
People with delusional disorders often experience non-bizarre delusions. Non-bizarre delusions involve situations that could occur in real life, such as being followed, deceived or loved from a distance. These delusions usually involve the misinterpretation of perceptions or experiences. In reality, these situations are either untrue or highly exaggerated. Non-bizarre delusions are different from bizarre delusions, which include beliefs that are impossible in our fact, such as believing someone has removed an organ from your body without any physical evidence of the procedure.
People with delusional disorder often continue to socialize and function well, apart from the subject of their delusion. Generally, they don’t behave oddly or unusually. It is unlike people with other psychotic disorders, who might also have delusions as a symptom. In some cases, however, people with delusional disorder might become so preoccupied with their delusions that their lives are disrupted.
Early symptoms of the delusional disorder may include:
As with many other psychotic disorders, researchers don’t know the exact cause of the delusional disorder. Researchers are, however, looking at the role of various factors that may contribute to the development of the condition, including:
Treatment for delusional disorder most often includes psychotherapy and medication, but the delusional disorder is highly resistant to treatment with medication alone. People with delusional disorder often don’t seek treatment for the condition on their own because most people with the delusional disorder don’t realize their delusions are problematic or incorrect. They’ll likely seek help due to other mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety.
People with severe symptoms or at risk of hurting themselves or others might need to be admitted to the hospital until the condition is stabilized.