Delusions — Part 1 of 3

Many individuals get confused with the terms, illusions, delusions and hallucinations. I’ve discussed the topic of illusions here. Today, I will begin to discuss the topic of delusions. Since it is fairly long, I will divide it into 3 separate parts.

Part 1 — Definition and Overview of Delusions

Part 2 — Types of Delusions

Part 3 — Medical Conditions Associated With Development of Delusions


delusionA delusion is commonly defined as a fixed false belief and is used in everyday language to describe a belief that is either false, fanciful or derived from deception. Delusions typically occur in the context of neurological or mental illness, although they are not tied to any particular disease and have been found to occur in the context of many pathological states (both physical and mental).

  • The patient expresses an idea or belief with unusual persistence or force. That idea appears to exert an undue influence on his or her life, and the way of life is often altered to an inexplicable extent.
  • Despite his/her profound conviction, there is often a quality of secretiveness or suspicion when the patient is questioned about it.
  • The individual tends to be humorless and oversensitive, especially about the belief.
  • No matter how unlikely it is that these strange things are happening to him, the patient accepts them relatively unquestioningly.
  • An attempt to contradict the belief is likely to arouse an inappropriately strong emotional reaction, often with irritability and hostility.
  • The belief is, at the least, unlikely.
  • The patient is emotionally over-invested in the idea and it overwhelms other elements of his mind.
  • The delusion, if acted out, often leads to behaviors which are abnormal and/or out of character, although perhaps understandable in the light of the delusional beliefs.
  • Individuals who know the patient will observe that his belief and behavior are uncharacteristic and alien.
  • It is a primary disorder.
  • It is a stable disorder characterized by the presence of delusions to which the patient clings with extraordinary tenacity.
  • The illness is chronic and frequently lifelong.
  • The delusions are logically constructed and internally consistent.
  • The delusions do not interfere with general logical reasoning (although within the delusional system the logic is perverted) and there is usually no general disturbance of behavior. If disturbed behavior does occur, it is directly related to the delusional beliefs.
  • The individual experiences a heightened sense of self-reference. Events which, to others, are nonsignificant are of enormous significance to him or her, and the atmosphere surrounding the delusions is highly charged.

The poll on brain games will close on March 8th. If you haven’t voted yet, click here.

Warmly………David

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Sleep Deprivation — Detriments and Disadvantages

 

The last several days have been unpleasant for me –I’ve not been sleeping well at all. Wednesday and yesterday were much worse. Thanksgiving Day was pretty good. By yesterday the sleep deprivation was really catching up to me. How did I ever stay awake when I was in training for 36 hours at a time? I guess the aging process finally catches up.
 
I slept a little better last night but the effects of sleep deprivation don’t just disappear after one good night’s sleep. Today I still feel a little out of it. But I’m forcing myself to blog. It is so hard to concentrate on the keys, I’m not even sure why I’m doing this. Thank God for spell checkers!
 
I’ve been thinking about the aging process in general and how the elderly do not always get adequate sleep. In the demented population, the effects can be greatly magnified. And, yes. When the patient doesn’t sleep well, then the caregiver begins to experience sleep deprivation. So, it can affect others at the same time. Imagine many members of a household being sleep deprived on a chronic basis!
 
I’ve listed some common symptoms of sleep deprivation some of which are short-term while others are long-term. The green highlighted ones are the ones I’ve been feeling the most.

Short-term effects of sleep deprivation: 

  1. Decreased daytime alertness. Loss of 1 ½ hours sleep can result in a 30-35% reduction in daytime alertness.
  2. Tiredness and feeling a need for 0a nap
  3. Irritability, edginess and moodiness
  4. Headache
  5. Loss of balance and coordination
  6. Inability to tolerate stress
  7. Memory lapses and difficulty concentrating
  8. Learning, behavioral or social problems
  9. Blurred vision
  10. Vague body discomfort
  11. Changes in appetite
  12. Feeling lazy
  13. Hypnagogic hallucinations (the state between being awake and falling asleep. For some people, this is a time of visual and auditory hallucination.
  14. Uncooperative attitude
  15. Hallucinations, delusions and illusions (Hallucinations are false perceptions that occur in the absence of appropriate external stimuli, whereas illusions are misinterpretations of external stimuli that are, in fact, present).
  16. Slowing and slurring of speech and difficulty naming common objects.
  17. Episodes of fragmented thinking
  18. Paranoia
  19. Expressionless appearance or looking and feeling dazed
  20. Monotone speech
  21. Feeling frustrated if not being able to nap

Long-term effects of sleep deprivation:

  • Impaired immune system
  • Frequent infections
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Psychiatric problems such as depression and other mood disorders
  • Mental impairment
  • Increased mortality risk
  • Relationship problems with a bed partner
  • Obesity

Perhaps on another occasion, I can discuss sleep in more depth.

 

David

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