Persecutory delusion

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Persecutory delusions are a delusional condition in which the affected person believes they are being persecuted. Specifically, they have been defined as containing two central elements:[1]

  1. The individual thinks that harm is occurring, or is going to occur.
  2. The individual thinks that the perceived persecutor has the intention to cause harm.

According to the DSM-IV-TR, persecutory delusions are the most common form of delusions in schizophrenia, where the person believes "he or she is being tormented, followed, tricked, spied on, or ridiculed."[2] In the DSM-IV-TR, persecutory delusions are the main feature of the persecutory type of delusional disorder.

Legal aspects[edit]

When the focus is to remedy some injustice by legal action, they are sometimes called "querulous paranoia".[3]

In cases where reporters of stalking behavior have been judged to be making false reports, a majority of them were judged to be delusional.[4][5]

If the delusion results in imprisonment or involuntary commitment, the person may feel justified in this belief.

Treatment[edit]

Medications for schizophrenia are often used, especially when positive symptoms are present. Both first-generation antipsychotics and second-generation antipsychotics may be useful.[6] Cognitive behavioral therapy has also been used.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Freeman, D. & Garety, P.A. (2004) Paranoia: The Psychology of Persecutory Delusions. Hove: PsychoIogy Press. Page 13. ISBN 1-84169-522-X
  2. ^ Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association. 2000. p. 299. ISBN 0-89042-025-4. 
  3. ^ Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association. 2000. p. 325. ISBN 0-89042-025-4. 
  4. ^ "After eight uncertain cases were excluded, the false reporting rate was judged to be 11.5%, with the majority of false victims suffering delusions (70%)." Sheridan, L. P.; Blaauw, E. (2004). "Characteristics of False Stalking Reports". Criminal Justice and Behavior 31: 55. doi:10.1177/0093854803259235.  edit
  5. ^ Brown, S. A. (2008). "The Reality of Persecutory Beliefs: Base Rate Information for Clinicians". Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry 10 (3): 163–178. doi:10.1891/1559-4343.10.3.163. "Collapsing across two studies that examined 40 British and 18 Australian false reporters (as determined by evidence overwhelmingly against their claims), these individuals fell into the following categories: delusional (64%), factitious/attention seeking (15%), hypersensitivity due to previous stalking (12%), were the stalker themselves (7%), and malingering individuals (2%) (Purcell, Pathe, & Mullen, 2002; Sheridan & Blaauw, 2004)."  edit
  6. ^ Garety, Philippa A.; Freeman, Daniel B.; Bentall, Richard P. (2008). Persecutory delusions: assessment, theory, and treatment. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. p. 313. ISBN 0-19-920631-7.