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Posted by alexandra_k on December 19, 2004, at 17:40:40

Defining Delusion and Kinds of Delusional Utterance.

What is a delusion? The clinicians handbook The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines delusion as

>[A] False belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary. The belief is not one ordinarily accepted by other members of the person’s culture or subculture…’ (American Psychiatric Association, (2000) pp. 821-822).

There is much controversy surrounding this definition and whether delusions must be: False, beliefs, incorrect inferences, regarding external reality, firmly sustained, and so forth. In short we may question this definition on every substantial point that it makes. Despite this controversy the DSM would seem to provide the best definition that we have at present, though there is ongoing research into devising a definition that may more accurately capture what is distinctive about delusion.

While there is ongoing debate about the definition of delusion, there is general agreement as to which kinds of utterance are appropriately classified as expressing delusions. The following are fairly standard examples, and the first two types will be the focus of this paper.

‘My wife has been replaced by an impostor’.
‘People I know are disguising themselves and are following me around’.
Thought Insertion
‘Someone else’s thoughts are being inserted into my mind’.
Alien Control
‘Someone else is controlling my actions’.




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