What are Persecutory Delusions?
Persecution means persecution or attack. Delusion means belief.
So what are persecutory delusions?
They are beliefs that cause harm to others, such as believing that you have been attacked by evil spirits, having bad luck or being persecuted by other people. These beliefs may not be dangerous but they do make life difficult for the sufferer and it is best to get rid of them immediately if possible.
How to Help Someone With Persecutory Delusions?
1) You must understand that persecutory delusions are very common and most people don’t even realize they have them.
If you think you have one, then chances are there is another person out there who does too! A good way to get rid of your own persecutory delusion is to seek professional help from a psychiatrist or psychologist.
2) If you want to get rid of persecutory delusions yourself, then here are some things you can try:
a) Talk to your family members and friends about their thoughts and feelings. Explain that these thoughts and feelings are normal. Tell them that they shouldn’t worry because they will pass away soon anyway. (It’s true!) b) Write down all the times when you thought something was wrong with yourself.
For example, not being able to find something important like your keys even though you know you had put them somewhere could be a sign of possible memory problems or just forgetfulness.
c) Make a list of all the things that make you happy and go do them. Even if it’s just sitting in front of the television and eating ice cream, that’s ok! What is important is to have fun and take your mind off things for a while.
d) Go outside. Nature can have a very calming effect on people. If you don’t live close to any woods or parks then try growing some plants yourself, it’s very easy and they help clean the air in your home.
3) If you are still having problems with persecutory delusions even after trying the steps above then you should consider seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist to get a professional opinion on what the best course of treatment for you would be.
How to Deal With Delusions Of Grandeur
Delusions of grandeur are a type of delusion where a person believes that they are much more important than they really are or have an important role in some major world event. A person suffering from delusions of grandeur may believe that they are a famous singer, footballer or actor and that their normal life is just a “front” to hide their real life. This type of delusion can sometimes be grouped with persecutory delusions, as the person may also think that other people are working to keep their “real life” a secret.
There is no specific treatment for delusions of grandeur and medication is not often helpful. Cognitive therapy and counseling are usually the most effective treatment for this type of delusion, where the patient is helped to understand that they are just a normal person and that their delusions are not based in reality.
NOTE: Some people with this type of delusion do not seek medical help as they are very happy with their delusions. In these cases, counseling and treatments should only be carried out if the person shows signs of distress at their delusions.
How to Help Someone With Delusions Of Grandeur
1) You must understand that delusions of grandeur are very common and most people don’t even realize they have them.
2) If you think the person is having delusions of grandeur, then try talking to them about it in a calm and understanding way.
Let them know that their delusions are based on incorrect information and that they are just fantasies taken to an extreme level. However, if the person doesn’t seem concerned by this, or even happy about it, then don’t push the issue!
3) If the person is open to talking about their delusions of grandeur, then suggest that they take up a hobby such as painting or writing.
This will help them get their “creative” juices out of their head and into a more normal form. It might help them get over their delusions.
4) If none of the above works then you should encourage the person seek help from a psychiatrist or psychologist.
How to Deal With Hallucinations
A hallucination is when a person sees, hears, smells, tastes or feels something that isn’t actually there. It is very common for people who are suffering from schizophrenia or some other mental illness to suffer from hallucinations. If you think you or somebody you know is suffering from hallucinations, it is important to seek medical help immediately.
There is no specific treatment for hallucinations and medication isn’t always effective. However, there are some things that can help reduce the chances of having them.
How to Prevent Hallucinations
1) Get plenty of sleep and exercise!
This is perhaps the most important thing you can do if you are susceptible to hallucinations. A lack of sleep or exercise can drastically increase your chances of having one.
2) Avoid illegal drugs and limit the amount of alcohol you consume.
Hallucinations from these substances are more “extreme” or “intense” than your typical hallucinations.
3) If you have a history of mental illness and hallucinations in your family, it is best to get yourself checked out by a doctor just in case.
How to Deal With Hallucinations When They Occur
1) Don’t Panic: Easier said than done, but if you can keep yourself from freaking out then you can probably avoid making the situation worse.
2) Sit Down: If you feel like your about to pass out, then find a place to sit down.
Hallucinations can make you feel very weak in the knees, similar to how you feel when riding a roller-coaster.
3) Try humming or singing a song: This can help break up with the hallucinations and bring you back to reality for a moment.
Ask yourself “Am I really seeing this?” or “Is this actually happening or is this a hallucination?”
Sometimes just by questioning what your seeing you’ll realize that it isn’t real and then you can stop worrying about it.
5) Talk to somebody about what’s happening. It helps to get out the voice inside your head and onto somebody else’s. This can be anybody, a friend, a family member, a teacher. It just helps to talk to somebody.
6) Sit or lie down when you start feeling “weird”.
Hallucinations can make you feel very dizzy and if you’re not careful you could hurt yourself by falling or something similar.
If the hallucinations continue to persist then it is best to seek medical help immediately.
NOTE: Hallucinations are very common with people who suffer from extreme anxiety or paranoia. Just because you think you’re being chased by a monster, doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s what’s happening. You could just be very scared and your mind is playing tricks on you.
NOTE 2: If you suffer from hallucinations, avoid other people as much as you can. This includes family members and friends. Their voices will only make the hallucinations worse, trust me. It’s better to live alone, in silence, than to risk having a bad “episode” around others.
Sources & references used in this article:
A cognitive model of persecutory delusions by D Freeman, PA Garety, E Kuipers… – British Journal of …, 2002 – Wiley Online Library
Suspicious minds: the psychology of persecutory delusions by D Freeman – Clinical psychology review, 2007 – Elsevier
Persecutory delusions: a review and theoretical integration by RP Bentall, R Corcoran, R Howard, N Blackwood… – Clinical psychology …, 2001 – Elsevier
Persecutory delusions and attributional style by S Kaney, RP Bentall – British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1989 – Wiley Online Library
Cognitive neuropsychiatric models of persecutory delusions by NJ Blackwood, RJ Howard… – American Journal of …, 2001 – Am Psychiatric Assoc