Delusions: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

A delusion is a false personal belief that is not subject to reason or contradictory evidence and is not explained by a person's usual cultural and religious concepts (so that, for example, it is not an article of faith). A delusion may be firmly maintained in the face of incontrovertible evidence that it is false. Delusions are common in psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. Delusions can also be a feature of brain damage or disorders. Delusions can be accompanied by other psychiatric symptoms or by physical symptoms when these occur related to a medical condition. Delusional disorder is a specific psychiatric condition that was formerly known as paranoid disorder. Examples of delusions include the sufferer believing that one has an unusual power or talent, believing that someone else (possibly a prominent figure or famous person) is in love with them, believing that one is being persecuted, or believing that one has a nonexistent medical problem.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/21/2017

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