what is a delusion of grandeur
A delusion of grandeur is a false belief in one’s superiority or identity, which contradicts reality. Learn about different types and causes

A delusion of grandeur, also known as grandiose delusion, is seen in patients with other mental health conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Patients with delusions of grandeur believe that they are wonderful, successful, more important than others, or even miraculous. They make assumptions that they have exceptional talents, possessions, or powers despite lack of evidence supporting these beliefs.

A delusion of grandeur is more than just having exceptionally high self-esteem or an overblown feeling of self-importance. It represents a great divergence from reality. Despite contradicting facts, a patient with a delusion of grandeur may continue to believe in the illusion.

What is a delusion?

Delusions are characterized as persistent, false beliefs that contradict reality. They differ from hallucinations in which the individual experiences “false sensations” that contradict reality. A person in a delusional condition cannot let go of their beliefs despite the fact that they conflict with facts.

Delusions can be a sign of delusional disorder, a rare mental illness in which a person experiences one or more delusional ideas for one month or more that are not justified by any physiological issue, not substance-induced, and not part of another mental health issue.

5 types of delusions of grandeur

  1. Talent: A patient with this type of delusion may feel that they possess a secret talent, object, or ability that no one else possesses or is even aware of. For example, someone may assume they have a hidden talent that no one else knows about. They may believe that they have magical skills or can read people’s minds.
  2. Influence: A patient with this type of delusion believes that they are a popular personality and some fake person has come to take their place.
  3. Connections: This delusion is believing in a specific, secret connection or link with someone or something significant. A patient with this type of delusion may believe they are a spy or are exclusively responsible for conveying communications to the president or other world leaders.
  4. Religion: A patient with a religion-themed delusion of grandeur may feel they are a religious leader.
  5. Invincibility: A patient with this type of delusion may feel that they have the ability to live forever and no disease or injury can harm them.

What causes delusions of grandeur?

Delusions of grandeur are mostly seen in patients with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), a mental health disorder included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Patients with NPD may exaggerate their own significance and believe in their own uniqueness.

Related psychotic disorders include:

Other factors that may cause delusion include:

  • Stress
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Genetically inherited mental illness
  • Imbalance of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters
  • Living in isolation or absence of close relationships


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What are treatment options for delusions of grandeur?

Treatment for delusions is solely dependent on an underlying cause. It is very important for the doctor to distinguish between grandiose fantasies and modest or realistic desires.

  • Medical treatment: Doctors prescribe medicines to treat psychotic symptoms and stabilize mood. However, medications alone may not be enough to manage the disorder.
  • Behavioral therapy: Some forms of talk treatment may aid in the reduction of grandiose illusions. Through cognitive behavioral therapy, patients can learn to detect and change unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors.

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Medically Reviewed on 10/27/2021
Image Source: RapidEye / Getty Images

What Are Delusions of Grandeur?: https://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/delusions-grandeur#:~:text=Delusions%2C%20or%20false%20beliefs%2C%20comes,it%20%E2%80%9Cillusions%E2%80%9D%20of%20grandeur.

Understanding delusions: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3016695/

Grandiose Delusion: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/grandiose-delusion