Delusions vs overvalued ideas

Is the difference between a delusion and an overvalued idea that of absolute conviction versus that of merely entertaining the possibility,albeit quite strongly ? Or would you say it’s more complex than that.


A delusion is a specific type of idea. The term “idea” covers a wide variety of mental constructions, ranging from the concrete to the fantastic. An example of a concrete idea would be one of Isaac Newton’s laws of motion. An idea that is a fantasy is that of a person believing he or she is receiving messages from aliens from outer space. An overvalued idea can be a very realistic idea that doesn’t give any insight or benefit, like deciding to invest in coca cola to help humanity. The terms “idea” and “delusion” cover a lot of ground.

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Yes, there is a difference between a delusion and an overvalued idea.

A delusion is a firm belief despite what is generally accepted as reality. For example, a belief that the earth is flat, or a belief that one can fly.

An overvalued idea is simply an idea that under-performs as intended. For example, you may strongly believe that earrings the size of hula hoops will generate tremendous sales and you’ll be a millionaire. However, if the earrings the size of hula hoops does generate tremendous sales it’s not an overvalued idea (think of the pet rock from the 1970’s).

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This is a good rundown of the difference.

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For me, a possibly overvalued idea was my utter devotion to a church. The delusion was my belief that I’m an angel, not a human, which is one I struggle with.
I guess one can lead to another since my overvalued idea of devotion leads to my delusions. So it’s dangerous for me to be too involved in a church…

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To perhaps muddy the waters a bit I offer this: Entertaining the possibility of something occurring which is totally implausible. For example I have had several occasions when I expected inanimate objects to start talking to me. This is, of course,totally implausible. I could even reality test that but that had no immediate bearing on the persistence of the expectation.
In my experience the ability to reality test(suggesting a non delusional aspect?) doesn’t necessarily result in the implausible belief/thought going away.