Schizophrenia.com

What makes a delusion false?

If a delusion is a belief and a belief is relative to the person what makes a delusion false? Like my biggest thing is I’m the main entity in a simulated hell and all of time (interactions, events etc.) is constructed around it to test me or entertainment. What makes it false?

Is it caused by something or someone? If not, how can it be real?

Because

it’s just wrong.

Delusions are based on things believed to be true but are unable to be proven like the existence of God for example. The less proof, like this, the more powerful a hold it can have on the person. My delusions are more an entertainment for lack of self identity ever really forming for some reason. But they, like movies can evoke real emotions, so just do not act on them, like if you were to get up in the middle of a movie and verbally cuss the bad guy out on the screen and maybe throw something at the screen as well.

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I think delusions are something believed by only the individual that experiences them himself.

The reason “God” isn’t a delusion is because so many people believe in it. It is ingrained in society and is a norm hence can’t be a delusion.

I heard once that “If many people believe it, it’s a religion. If a few people believe it, it’s a cult. And if 1 person believes it it’s a mental illness.”

But then again religious/cult leaders can be delusional? So just because they believe something that other people believe, like if I were to go out and say I’m the son of god and 100 people said “Yeah you are the son of God!” it doesn’t make me any less delusional than if I’m the only one who believes it IMO. And the 100 people that believed it probably are delusional too. So I guess religion and cults can be delusions.

Although I don’t believe my belief in God is a delusion…Maybe it is but who knows.

■■■■ I’m confused now.

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This isn’t one that can be proven true or false. I mean, I know it’s false, but I’m unable to prove that to you. So I guess the question is, so what? What then?

I had a friend who was enamored of the idea that only she existed and everyone else was a figment of her imagination. If you can’t prove it’s true and you can’t prove it’s false, the only way out is to behave as if it’s false: behave as if other people are real even if you don’t fully believe it, and refuse to think about the possibility that they aren’t. Any other path makes you a monster.

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It has proven to be not too easy to pin down the meaning of ‘delusion’ in a neat definition, which is manifest by the changes that have been made to it in the DSM, and the ongoing debates about the nature of delusion.

The latest update in the DSM featured some changes to the definition, one of them being that delusions need not necessarily be false. The canonical counter-example to the conception that delusions do need to be false seems to be that of pathological jealousy in a relationship. One lover may be convinced to a delusional degree that the other is cheating, and this may coincidentally be true. How come this idea can still be called delusional then? For the person entertaining it may have no good grounds for endorsing this belief. As such, it is not knowledge - this is generally characterized as true, justified belief. And it is the justification that is typically lacking in delusions. Delusions are often supported by circular reasoning at best, sometimes the only argument given is akin to ‘I just know this’ or ‘I feel it’. Such aren’t considered to be good grounds for claims that go beyond subjective experience.

One of the other changes between the DSM IV and V is connected to this - it is now erased that delusions ought to arise from a faulty inference. This does not sit easily with the observation that many delusions aren’t supported by any grounds at all, and hence not the result of an inference at all, faulty or not. Some delusions like derealization and paranoia seem to be more directly perceived rather than to be judgments about or inferences from experiences. Their expressions in language and thought, then, may be thought of rather as expressions of such experience instead of as claims about the external world. Conceived as such, other features of delusions may make more sense. The certainty with which the patient adheres to a delusion, without having compelling grounds for it, is a big conundrum for any belief-like conception of delusions. Yet conceived of as the expression of an experience, such make a bit more sense. For one cannot question having had this experience, and one does not need grounds to argue for having had it.