Types Of Delusions: 13 Mind-Blowing Mental Syndromes

Types of delusions include Cotard’s syndrome, erotomania delusion, Capgras syndrome and Alice-in-Wonderland syndrome.

Types of delusions include Cotard’s syndrome, erotomania delusion, Capgras syndrome and Alice-in-Wonderland syndrome.

Types of delusions come in all shapes and sizes; from transient episodes to full-blown and incurable mental illnesses.

Delusions frequently accompany mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, psychosis, dementia, bipolar disorder and even depression.

But all the types have one thing in common: being detached from reality.

Delusions do not listen to reason and they do not bow to facts.

Here are thirteen of the strangest types of delusional beliefs…

1. Alice-in-Wonderland syndrome

Named after the novel by Lewis Carroll, this types of delusion affects perceptions of both space and time.

The sufferer may see some objects as smaller than they really are and others as bigger than they really are.

They may also find it difficult to judge time.

A relatively common delusion, not necessarily associated with mental illness, people sometimes report experiencing this as children or even just before falling asleep.

Often, though, the delusion is caused by migraines, which Lewis Carroll suffered from and may have used as inspiration for the story.

2. Cotard’s syndrome

Also known as ‘Walking Corpse Syndrome’, Cotard’s syndrome or Cotard’s delusion is when the sufferer believes he or she is dead, does not exist or has lost their internal organs.

Typically, those suffering from this type of delusion will deny they exist; naturally, this means they find it very difficult to make sense of reality.

People with Cotard’s syndrome become very withdrawn from others and tend not to look after themselves properly.

The delusion is often found amongst people suffering from schizophrenia.

3. Capgras syndrome

Capgras syndrome or delusion is thought to be neurologically similar to Cotard’s.

This type of delusion is the belief that a person who is close to the sufferer has been replaced by an imposter who appears identical, but isn’t the same person.

The delusion is named after French physician Joseph Capgras who first described it.

Capgras is often associated with schizophrenia but the delusion may also result from brain damage and dementia.

4. Folie à deux delusion

Winner of my special award for most attractively named delusion, Folie à deux literally means ‘madness shared by two’.

So much better than the technical name of ‘shared psychotic disorder’.

It’s when two (or more) people who (usually) live in close proximity come to share the same delusion(s).

5. Thought insertion delusions

Thought insertion is the delusion that the sufferer’s thoughts are not their own.

The person will sometimes think they are coming from another specific person and sometimes they won’t know where they are coming from.

The delusion of thought insertion is often a symptom of schizophrenia.

6. Paris syndrome

Paris syndrome is a transient experience that affects tourists to Paris who find that the City of Light does not live up to their expectations.

They may experience hallucinations, delusions of persecution, anxiety and other somatic symptoms.

Paris syndrome may sound like a joke, but around twenty Japanese tourists a year are thought to be hospitalised with it.

Some think it is brought on by culture shock, as the Japanese have a particularly idealised view of Paris.

The usual treatment for Paris syndrome is to go home.

7. Jerusalem syndrome

Paris does not have the monopoly on causing visitors to be struck down by mental illness.

Some visitors to Jerusalem can become obsessed with the city after arriving.

Those experiencing the syndrome may suffer from anxiety, start wearing a toga, begin singing hymns or shouting out verses from the Bible.

Some even begin giving poorly practised sermons in public.

Estimates place the number of people who require hospital admission from this type of delusion at around 40 per year.

As for Paris syndrome, the normal treatment is to go home.

8. Othello syndrome

This type of delusion is the belief that the sufferer’s partner is cheating on them, despite there being no evidence whatsoever.

It’s much more than just common-or-garden jealousy, though, with sufferers experiencing strong obsessive thoughts.

They may continuously check up on their partner, stalk them, interrogate them about where they’ve been and, in extreme cases, it can lead to violence.

9. Ekbom’s syndrome

Ekbom’s syndrome is the stuff of nightmares.

In this particularly nasty form of hypochondria, the sufferer thinks their body has been infested by parasites.

It is not uncommon for sufferers to contact pest control specialists or dermatologists rather than psychologists or psychiatrists.

It is named after Swedish neurologist Karl Axel Ekbom, who wrote about it in the 1930s.

10. Clinical lycanthropy delusions

Clinical lycanthropy is the belief that the person has, or is in the process of, turning into an animal.

And it’s not just wolves that people believe they are turning into: published cases of clinical lycanthropy include people believing they were turning into frogs, cats, horses, birds, hyenas and even bees.

The condition is very rare.

11. Reduplicative paramnesia delusions

This condition is usually caused by brain damage and results in the person believing a place or location has been duplicated and/or moved somewhere else.

Soldiers with head injuries have been reported to believe that the hospital in which they are recuperating is actually in their home town, when in fact it is nowhere near.

It shares some features with Cotard’s syndrome and Capgras syndrome in that people, places or things have been replaced or are somehow transformed.

12. Subjective doubles syndrome

This is where someone genuinely believes that they have a doppelgänger who looks like them, but has a different personality and a different life.

Sometimes the doppelgänger can be a stranger, sometimes it can be a family member.

In some cases sufferers can become enraged by someone they perceive has having stolen their appearance, and this can lead to psychological or physical attacks.

The syndrome is most commonly seen in people with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, although it is very rare.

13. Erotomania delusions

Not quite as exciting as it sounds, erotomania, also known as de Clérambault’s Syndrome, is named after a French physician.

Erotomania is a delusion in which the sufferer is convinced that another person is in love with them.

Typically, the object of an erotomania delusion is unobtainable because they are married, disinterested or in some cases almost unknown to the sufferer or even dead.

Erotomania occurs more in women, who may believe they have several ‘secret admirers’ who send them coded messages which are so subtle as to be obviously random — such as, crossing their legs a certain way.

Erotomania is sometimes caused by or accompanies another serious mental health problems, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Why these types of delusions persist

Many of these mental delusions seem so far fetched that it can be difficult to understand how people can continue to believe them — especially when they are repeatedly assured of the ‘truth’.

One reason people find it difficult to break free of mental delusions or hallucinations is down to faulty ‘reality testing’, one psychologist argues (Gerrans, 2014).

This is caused by a fault in part of the brain that normally checks strange ideas against reality.

Professor Philip Gerrans, the study’s author, explains:

“Normally this ‘reality testing’ in the brain monitors a ‘story telling’ system which generates a narrative of people’s experience.

A simple example of normal reality testing is the person who gets a headache, immediately thinks they might have a brain tumor, then dismisses that thought and moves on.

Their story episode ‘I might have brain cancer’ gets tested and quickly rejected.

In someone who has problems with reality testing, that story might persist and may even be elaborated and translated into action.

Such people can experience immense mental health difficulties, even to the point of becoming a threat to themselves or to others.”

Professor Gerrans describes one man who had a serious head injury and developed Capgras syndrome:

“His family looked familiar but didn’t feel familiar, and the story in his head made sense of that feeling.

It didn’t matter how much people tried to point out that his family was the same, in his mind they had been completely replaced by impostors.”

A familiar point at which we often reject a delusion is when experiencing déjà vu, said Professor Gerrans:

“People also experience feelings of familiarity and unfamiliarity in déjà vu — a sense that a new place is strangely familiar, and the reverse, jamais vu — a sense of extreme unfamiliarity evoked by a familiar place.

However, such feelings do not lead to delusion in people whose reality testing is intact.”

Understanding the reality testing system in the brain could help to treat people experiencing delusions and hallucinations:

“Trying to treat someone experiencing these delusions by telling them the truth is not necessarily going to help, so new strategies need to be developed to assist them.

Ultimately, that’s the aim of this work — to help explain the nature of reality testing in order to help people find a way of working through or around their delusions so that the delusions no longer adversely affect their lives.”

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Sleep Is At The Heart Of Almost All Mental Health Issues (M)

Whether it is anxiety, schizophrenia, Tourette’s or depression, all have circadian rhythm disruption in common.

Whether it is anxiety, schizophrenia, Tourette's or depression, all have circadian rhythm disruption in common.

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Vaping Is Linked To Brain Fog And Memory Loss

Vaping is linked to brain fog and memory loss by research involving almost 1 million people.

Vaping is linked to brain fog and memory loss by research involving almost 1 million people.

Vaping is linked to brain fog: problems with memory, concentration and making decisions, research finds.

While e-cigarettes have been touted as ‘healthier than real cigarettes’, they can produce a brain fog as well as a literal one.

Vapers are at three or four times the risk of experiencing a brain fog than those who have never used them, the study revealed.

Dr Dongmei Li, study co-author, said:

“Our studies add to growing evidence that vaping should not be considered a safe alternative to tobacco smoking.”

Brain fog and memory loss

The results come from two major national surveys including almost one million people.

The surveys asked people about their vaping habits and any problems with attention, memory and concentration.

Both studies found that more vaping was linked to greater problems with mental function.

Smoking regular cigarettes plus vaping together was linked to the greatest problems.

The study also found that vaping is more strongly linked to brain fog if started before age 14.

More than one-quarter of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019.

The number of young people vaping is of particular concern, Dr Li said:

“With the recent rise in teen vaping, this is very concerning and suggests that we need to intervene even earlier.

Prevention programs that start in middle or high school might actually be too late.”

Adolescence is a critical period for brain development, the study’s authors write:

“During adolescence, the brain is still developing and vulnerable to neurotoxicants like nicotine.

Previous studies on cognitive effects of nicotine have found that early exposure to nicotine could impact the brain development in youth and lead to cognitive deficits in later life.”

Although e-cigarettes deliver fewer dangerous compounds, they provide as much or more nicotine.

The study’s authors write:

“During the past few years, e-cigarette use has increased substantially and e-cigarettes have become the most widely used tobacco product among youth.

In 2019, about 27.5% of high school students and 10.5% of middle school students reported use of e-cigarettes in the US, which suggests that around 4.1 million high school students and 1.2 million middle school students have used e-cigarettes in 2019.”

The researchers plan to track people over time to test if vaping leads to brain fog and memory loss or the other way around.

The design of these studies does not make it clear.

The studies were published in the journals Tobacco Induced Diseases and PLOSONE (Xie et al., 2020; Xie et al., 2020).

The Best Diet For Good Mental Health

The ten best foods to feel more positive about life and have a lower risk of depression.

The ten best foods to feel more positive about life and have a lower risk of depression.

Eating more raw fruits and vegetables is linked to better mental health, research finds.

Those who eat more raw fruit and vegetables tend to feel more positive about life and have a lower risk of depression.

The maximum benefit to mental health came from just over 6 servings of raw fruits and vegetables per day, the study found.

Cooked and canned vegetables do not provide the same boost to mental health.

Apples and raw bananas were particularly effective for mental health.

Other studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is good for mental health.

One study has found that the Mediterranean diet could reduce the risk of depression by up to one third.

Here are ten typical ingredients of the Mediterranean diet:

  • Green leafy vegetables,
  • other vegetables,
  • nuts,
  • berries,
  • beans,
  • whole grains,
  • fish,
  • poultry,
  • olive oil,
  • and wine.

Switching to a healthy diet including fruits, vegetables, fish and olive oil could reduce depression symptoms in just three weeks, one study has found.

Even relatively small changes to diet have been shown to have a positive effect on mental health.

For the current study, though, over 400 people in the US and New Zealand were surveyed about what they ate and their mental health.

The results suggest that the ten best foods for mental health are:

  1. carrots,
  2. bananas,
  3. apples,
  4. dark leafy greens such as spinach,
  5. grapefruit,
  6. lettuce,
  7. citrus fruits,
  8. fresh berries,
  9. cucumber,
  10. and kiwifruit.

Dr Connor, study co-author, explained:

“Controlling for the covariates, raw fruit and vegetable consumption predicted lower levels of mental illness symptomology, such as depression, and improved levels of psychological wellbeing including positive mood, life satisfaction and flourishing.

These mental health benefits were significantly reduced for cooked, canned, and processed fruits and vegetables.

This research is increasingly vital as lifestyle approaches such as dietary change may provide an accessible, safe, and adjuvant approach to improving mental health.”

Best diet changes with age

There is some evidence that the best diet for mental health changes with age.

The mood of young people — aged between 18 and 30 — benefits from neurotransmitter precursors provided by foods like meat.

However, mature adults are in a better mood if they eat foods that boost their antioxidant levels, such as fruit.

Foods to avoid

Whatever age you are, though, one food to avoid for good mental health is sugar.

Research finds that a high sugar intake is linked to anxiety and depression.

Similarly, fast foods, cake and highly processed meats are also linked to worse mental health.

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology (Brookie et al., 2018).

The Everyday Activities That Boost Mental Health

The activities can ward off mental health problems.

The activities can ward off mental health problems.

Simple, everyday activities like walking and climbing the stairs help to ward off mental health problems, research concludes.

People who are vulnerable to psychiatric problems seem to benefit even more from little exercises like these.

Feeling alert and full of energy from brief exercise provides a sizeable boost to mental health, the researchers found.

The study’s authors write:

“Climbing stairs every day may help us feel awake and full of energy.

This enhances well-being,”

Simple exercises that can be done indoors and during the pandemic are particularly important, said Professor Heike Tost, study co-author:

“Currently, we are experiencing strong restrictions of public life and social contacts, which may adversely affect our well-being.

To feel better, it may help to more often climb stairs.”

The conclusions come from a study of 67 people whose everyday activities were tracked along with their moment-to-moment emotional states.

The results showed that people felt more alert and bursting with energy after simple daily activities, like climbing the stairs or even walking around.

Brain scans were also carried out on a separate group of 83 people to examine the processes involved.

These showed that an area of the brain called the subgenual cingulate cortex is critical to how everyday activities affect people’s emotional state.

Professor Tost said:

“Persons with a smaller volume of gray brain matter in this region and a higher risk of psychiatric disorders felt less full of energy when they were physically inactive.

After everyday activity, however, these persons felt even more filled with energy than persons with a larger brain volume.”

Professor Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, study co-author, concluded:

“The results suggest that physical activity in everyday life is beneficial to well-being, in particular in persons susceptible to psychiatric disorders.”

Dr Urs Braun, study co-author, said:

“It remains to be studied whether everyday activities may change the well-being and the brain volume and how these results may help prevent and treat psychiatric disorders.”

The study was published in the journal Science Advances (Reichert et al., 2020).

How Night-Time Eating Affects Mental Health (M)

The researchers designed a study that simulated night work and tested how different eating schedules affected people’s mood.

The researchers designed a study that simulated night work and tested how different eating schedules affected people's mood.

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The Simplest Way To Improve Your Mental Health

This modern habit is on the rise — and it is no good for your mental and physical health.

This modern habit is on the rise — and it is no good for your mental and physical health.

Too much sitting down is killing people — and it is on the rise, according to the latest data.

Getting up and moving about, though, is linked to less anxiety, more happiness, positive changes in personality and even a boost to cognitive function.

Unfortunately, in just over a decade, US adults have increased their average sitting time each day from 5.5 hours to almost 6.5 hours.

Among adolescents, the figure has gone from seven hours per day in 2007 to eight hours per day in 2016.

Time spent in front of a screen increased substantially during this period.

One-quarter of people said they used their computer outside of work or school for at least three hours per day.

Inactivity is linked to a wide range of diseases including heart problems, obesity, diabetes and certain cancers.

Dr Yin Cao, study co-author, said:

“In almost none of the groups we analyzed are the numbers going in the right direction.

We want to raise awareness about this issue on multiple levels — from individuals and families to schools, employers and elected officials.”

The conclusions come from an analysis of over 51,000 people in the US of all different ages who were surveyed between 2001 and 2016.

It tracked how much time people spent sitting, including in front of TVs and computers.

Professor Graham A. Colditz, study co-author, said:

“How we create public policies or promote social change that supports less sitting is unclear and likely to be complicated.

If a neighborhood in a disadvantaged community is unsafe, for example, parents can’t just send their kids outside to play.

Our environments — the way our cities, our school days and working days are designed — play roles in this behavior that are difficult to change.

But at least now, we have a baseline from which to measure whether specific changes are having an impact.”

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Yang et al., 2019).

The 3 Pillars Of Good Mental Health

These are three factors that you can change.

These are three factors that you can change.

Exercise, quality sleep and eating raw fruits and vegetables are the three pillars of good mental health, a study suggests.

Among the 1,100 young adults who were surveyed for the research, those who slept well, did more exercise and ate better were more likely to be flourishing.

Out of these, quality sleep was most strongly linked to better mental health, followed by exercise and then diet.

The finding that sleep quality rather quantity was so important was surprising, said Ms Shay-Ruby Wickham, the study’s first author:

“This is surprising because sleep recommendations predominantly focus on quantity rather than quality.

While we did see that both too little sleep — less than eight hours — and too much sleep — more than 12 hours — were associated with higher depressive symptoms and lower well-being, sleep quality significantly outranked sleep quantity in predicting mental health and well-being.

This suggests that sleep quality should be promoted alongside sleep quantity as tools for improving mental health and well-being within young adults.”

The study’s results showed that those who slept an average of 8 hours had the highest mental well-being.

Those sleeping almost 10 hours, though, had the lowest chance of developing depressive symptoms.

People in the study were in their early 20s, however, and generally we require less sleep with age.

Having too much sleep is generally considered almost as bad as having too little.

Diet also played an important role in mental health.

Those who ate 5 servings of raw fruit and vegetables per day had the highest mental-wellbeing and those who ate less than 2 servings each day had the worst.

Ms Wickham said:

“Sleep, physical activity, and a healthy diet can be thought of as three pillars of health, which could contribute to promoting optimal well-being among young adults, a population where the prevalence of mental disorders is high and well-being is suboptimal.”

Dr Tamlin Conner, study co-author, warned that the findings were correlational:

“We didn’t manipulate sleep, activity, or diet to test their changes on mental health and well-being.

Other research has done that and has found positive benefits.

Our research suggests that a ‘whole health’ intervention prioritising sleep, exercise, and fruit and vegetable intake together, could be the next logical step in this research.”

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology (Wickham et al., 2020).

These Memories Help Fight Mental Health Issues (M)

The memories that can be used in the therapeutic process to aid healing.

The memories that can be used in the therapeutic process to aid healing.

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