Delusional disorder is a form of psychotic mental health disorder that is characterized by the presence of delusions that last for at least one month. Delusions are defined by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) as fixed beliefs that are not amenable to change even in light of conflicting evidence. Common examples of delusions include persecutory delusions (the unfounded belief that one is going to be harassed or persecuted by an individual or group), referential delusions (the unfounded belief that certain comments or cues are directed at oneself), grandiose delusions (the unfounded belief that one is exceptionally talented or wealthy), and nihilistic delusions (the unfounded belief that a major catastrophe is imminent).
Delusions may also be symptoms of other mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia and schizotypal personality disorder. However, individuals who suffer from delusional disorder will not experience the marked behavioral impairments that are characteristic of schizophrenia. Also, if people who suffer from delusional disorder have experienced episodes of either mania or major depression, these episodes have been relatively brief.
At Westend Hospital, we understand how delusional disorder can impact an individual’s life, and we know that failure to receive effective professional care for this disorder can lead to a worsening of symptoms and potentially greater impairment. We are proud to have developed specialized programming that, when implemented by our experienced and dedicated professionals, can significantly improve the quality of life for adult men and women who have been struggling with delusional disorder.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
The impact of delusional disorder is not as severe as other psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder, so its symptoms may not be as readily apparent as the effects of these other more intense mental health conditions. However, if someone that you care about has been exhibiting symptoms of delusional disorder, you are right to be concerned and should encourage your loved one to get help. The following steps may help you to accomplish this objective:
- Educate yourself. As indicated earlier on this page, delusions can take many forms and may be symptomatic of a variety of mental health conditions. Consult reputable websites, contact mental health advocacy organizations, and talk to other experts to whom you have access. Learn what does and does not qualify as a delusion and develop an understanding of the criteria for a diagnosis of delusional disorder.
- Research treatment. Many of the same sources that you used while educating yourself about the nature of delusional disorder may also provide information about the types of treatment that have proved effective with individuals who have delusional disorder. With this newfound knowledge, you can then identify programs that provide the type and level of treatment that appears to be best suited to meeting your loved one’s unique needs.
- Contact programs. If possible, arrange for on-site visits that will allow you to tour the facility and meet with staff members or other representatives. Ask these representatives if they can put you in touch with former patients or their family members. Remember that there is no such thing as a perfect treatment program. Your objective in evaluating treatment programs should be to find the place that is the best fit for your loved one.
- Talk to your loved one. Depending upon the nature and severity of his or her disorder, this may be a difficult conversation. Ideally, you should not be taking on the full responsibility for getting your loved one into treatment. If you have enlisted the support of other close friends or trusted family members to help you with your research, make sure they are involved in this conversation as well. The experts that you consulted during the early phases of your research should also be able to provide you with guidance about how best to conduct this conversation, and what to do if your loved one refuses to get help.
Before, during, and after your loved one is in treatment, you should make an effort to accomplish two important objectives: Remain a source of ongoing support for him or her, and make sure that you are tending to your own physical and mental health needs. Caring for or about someone who suffers from delusional can be a stressful experience. Neglecting your own needs will not only erode your health, but will also make you less capable of helping your loved one. Get the support you need so that you can stay strong. Both you and your loved one deserve your very best!
Why Consider Treatment at Westend Hospital
Delusional disorder can have a disruptive impact on a person’s efforts to lead a healthy, productive, and satisfying life. Depending upon the nature and severity of the delusions that a person is experiencing, he or she may have difficulties forming and maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships and experiencing academic and occupational success. Without effective treatment, individuals with delusional disorder may develop schizophrenia, which can have a significantly greater negative impact on their lives. Whether or not a person with delusional disorder develops schizophrenia, the manner by which he acts upon his or her delusions can undermine his psychosocial functioning, which can lead a variety of problems including social isolation and impaired occupational functioning.
Being incapable of forming and maintaining friendships and experiencing occupational setbacks including job loss and chronic unemployment can lead to withdrawal and/or isolation, financial distress, and a loss of personal independence. Diminished self-esteem, a tendency to abuse alcohol or other drugs, and a deepening inability to interact in a socially acceptable and productive way may result. Yet with the effective comprehensive treatment options that are available at programs such as Westend Hospital, men and women who have been suffering from delusional disorder can experience a significantly improved quality of life.
Types of Treatment Offered at Westend Hospital
At Westend Hospital, we are proud to provide life-changing treatment to adults who are struggling with a range of mental health disorders, including but not limited to delusional disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and depression.
When a man or women enters Westend Hospital, he or she can expect to receive world-class clinical services, to be provided with an individualized treatment plan that has been designed specifically to meet his or her unique needs, and to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect. Throughout an individual’s time at Westend Hospital, he or she will work closely with talented and compassionate professionals who will be focused on monitoring his or her progress and offering the personalized care that will alleviate his or her delusional disorder symptoms and improve his or her quality of life.
While an individual is receiving care for delusional disorder at Westend Hospital, the following elements may be incorporated into her his or her treatment plan:
Medication management: The symptoms of certain mental health disorders respond well to treatment with prescription medications. If a client is experiencing a disorder or disorders that may be treated with such medications, he or she can receive effective and responsive medication management services while being treated at Westend Hospital. Services provided to medication management clients include three weekly meetings with a psychiatrist as well as round-the-clock nursing supervision and care.
Individual therapy: One-on-one sessions between a client and his or her therapist can provide invaluable opportunities for individuals to process successes and setbacks, discuss issues related to the treatment of delusional disorder, and address matters that the client may be unwilling to bring up during group therapy sessions. At Westend, individual therapy sessions are conducted on an as-needed basis based upon the preferences of each client and the determinations of his or her treatment team.
Group therapy: Group therapy is a foundational element of treatment at Westend Hospital. During group therapy sessions, clients who have been struggling with delusional disorder have the opportunity to share their thoughts and insights, learn from the experiences of others, and practice healthy interpersonal communication skills, all under the guidance and supervision of experienced professionals. At Westend Hospital, group therapy sessions may be led by a nurse, social worker, or activity therapist. Groups are held on a daily basis. While the specific content of any group will be influenced by the contributions of group members, the following are among the general topics that may be addressed:
- Anger management
- Coping skills
- Grief therapy
- Medication compliance and management
- Relapse prevention
- Stress management
Activity therapy: Clients who are being treated for delusional disorder at Westend Hospital also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activity therapy sessions. Activity therapy features several innovative and interactive techniques that can help individuals to manage their symptoms. Activity therapy also offers customized instruction in how to make the healthiest and most productive use of a client’s leisure time, and provides clients with new skills that they can develop and enjoy long after they have returned home.
Family therapy: At Westend Hospital, we are keenly aware of the impact that a client’s struggles with delusional disorder can have on loved ones, and we also understand the essential role that family members can play in a client’s continued progress during and after he or she is in treatment with us. For these reasons, we are proud to provide family therapy sessions on an as-needed basis. Conducted by an experienced social worker, family therapy sessions allow loved ones to address personal concerns, strengthen familial bonds, and learn how best to support the client’s continued healing after he or she has returned home.
The goal of Westend Hospital is to provide clients who have been struggling with delusional disorder with the assessments, treatment, and continuing support that they need, based upon their unique strengths, needs, and goals. To learn more about our programming, please contact us at your convenience. We look forward to answering all of your questions and helping you determine if Westend Hospital is the perfect place for you or someone you care about.