Delusional and overvalued ideas: definition. Syndrome of overvalued ideas
Many mental illnesses are accompanied by disturbances in the thinking process. One of the main symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia and other painful states of the psyche is the appearance of delusional and overvalued ideas. What is the difference between these violations and what is common between them? You will learn about this after reading this article.
History of the study and a brief definition of
The term "supervalued ideas" was introduced by psychiatrist Wernicke in 1892.
Similar ideas are judgments that arise in a patient under the influence of the events of the external world. In this case, the judgment has a strong emotional coloring, it predominates in thinking and subordinates to itself the behavior of a person.
Wernicke divided overvalued ideas into two categories:
- normal, in which the experiences experienced by the patient are commensurate with the event that caused them;
- painful, the main feature of which is the excessive exaggeration of the causes that caused them.
It is important to note that, focusing on an overvalued idea, the patient finds it difficult to perform other tasks, has difficulty concentrating.
What are the most valuable ideas? Psychiatry highlights several of their main characteristics:
- Ideas arise on the basis of real events.
- The subjective significance of ideas and the events that caused them to the patient is excessively large.
- Always have a pronounced emotional color.
- The patient can explain the idea to others.
- The idea has a close connection with the beliefs and value system of the patient.
- The patient seeks to prove the correctness of his idea to others, while he can behave quite aggressively.
- The idea has a direct impact on the patient's actions and his daily activities. You can say that everything that a person does is somehow connected with his idea, the carrier of which he is.
- Having shown some efforts, it is possible to dissuade the patient from the correctness of the idea.
- The patient retains the ability to objectively evaluate his own personality.
Can such ideas arise in healthy people?
Super-valuable and obsessive ideas can arise in healthy people who do not suffer from mental disorders. For example, scientists who are passionately devoted to their work and devoted to a scientific idea for which they are ready to disregard their own interests and even the interests of their close people can be cited as an example.
Supervalued ideas are characterized by constancy, they are not alien to consciousness and do not make their media an inharmonious person. Some psychiatrists, for example, DA Amenitsky, call this kind of idea "dominant."If a person has a dominant idea, he becomes extremely goal-oriented and is ready to do anything to prove to his surrounding people that he is right.
It should be noted that D.O. Gurevich believed that the dominant ideas can not be called overvalued in the full sense of the word: they can only indicate a propensity for their appearance. The researcher believed that overvalued ideas always have the character of pathology and make the person disharmonious, affecting adaptive capabilities and making thinking inconsistent and devoid of logic. However, over time, the dominant idea can acquire a super-valuable character, and this is due to the development of some kind of mental illness. Under certain circumstances, this can turn into nonsense: judgment begins to dominate the psyche, subjecting the patient's personality to himself, and becomes a symptom of a serious mental disorder.
Supervalued and delusional ideas: is there a clear boundary?
There is no consensus on the relationship between delusions and overvalued ideas. There are two main positions on this issue:
- delirium, overvalued ideas and dominant ideas are independent symptoms;
- there are no differences between delusions and overvalued ideas.
Why did this uncertainty arise and what does modern psychiatry think about this? Supervalued ideas and delusions do not have an unambiguous definition, and a clear boundary between them is almost impossible to conduct. For this reason, in scientific literature and research, these concepts are often mixed with each other and are considered synonymous. For example, the main signs of supervalued ideas are the dominant place in the psyche, a bright emotional color, the ability to dissuade the patient from the correctness of the idea, as well as its comprehensibility to others. However, the first two characteristics are also characteristic of delusional ideas. Some delusional statements by patients may also seem understandable and even rational. Therefore, it is possible to speak with complete certainty about only one differential feature: the ability to convince a patient that his idea is erroneous. The syndrome of overvalued ideas is characterized by all of the above, except for the patient's unshakable conviction of his own right. In case of delirium, it is impossible to convince a person. If the patient is confident in his irrational beliefs, then we can conclude that he is having nonsense.
Reasons for the emergence of
Studies show that there are two factors for the appearance of a symptom:
- Personality characteristics of a person, that is, a tendency to overvalue ideas. As a rule, patients who have overvalued delusional ideas, have character accentuations and inflated values. That is for a person throughout life characterized by some enthusiasm.
- A specific situation that serves as a "trigger mechanism" for starting the formation of an overvalued idea. Often, there are psycho-traumatic situations: for example, if a person's relative is seriously ill, an over-valued idea may arise about taking care of one's own health. In this case, in premorbid( a painful condition), the personality must have disturbing and hypochondriacal features.
Thus, the syndrome of overvalued ideas develops according to the same laws as any neurotic level disorder. A person with a certain premorbid, getting into a psycho-traumatic situation, develops a certain idea, which does not at the same time conflict with the values and beliefs that existed before.
Supervalued ideas, the classification of which is given below, are of great variety. Most often there are the following varieties:
- Ideas of invention. The patient believes that he can invent an adaptation that will change the life of mankind. The person is ready to devote all his time to the creation of his invention. It is interesting that such enthusiasm often brings good results.
- Ideas of Reforming. Such ideas are characterized by the fact that the patient is confident that he knows how to change the world for the better.
- The idea of adultery. A person is sure that the partner is wrong to him. In this case, a lot of effort is applied to prove this idea. As evidence of infidelity can be regarded as too well-groomed appearance, a five-minute delay at work or even watching a movie in which a cute actor plays.
- Hypochondriacal overvalued and obsessive ideas. A person believes that he has a dangerous disease. If doctors can not find evidence of this thought, the patient will go to new medical institutions and undergo expensive diagnostic procedures to prove his case.
Delusions: the basic characteristics of
In some circumstances, the overvalued idea, the examples of which are given above, can acquire the character of delirium. Delirium is a collection of judgments that have nothing to do with reality. Delusional ideas completely take possession of the patient's mind, while it is impossible to convince him.
The content of crazy ideas is always connected with the events that surround the patient. In this case, the filling of ideas varies from era to era. So, in the past centuries, mystical ideas related to witchcraft, obsession, spoiling, evil eye, or love spells were very common. These days, these ideas are regarded as archaic forms of delirium. In the XIX century, patients developed delusions, the main content of which was self-incrimination and thoughts of their own sinfulness. At the beginning of the twentieth century, hypochondriacal ideas dominated, as well as ideas of impoverishment. Today, patients often have ideas of persecution from the secret services, delirious fear of psychotropic weapons and even the idea that the world will be destroyed because of the work of the andron collider. The delirium of obsession was replaced by delirium of influence from the aliens from other planets.
It should be noted that if the emergence of supervalued ideas is closely related to events in the life of the patient, then if there is delirium to determine why ideas have a certain content, it is not always possible.
Basic forms of delirium
Based on the mechanisms of the development of delusions, three main forms of delusion are distinguished:
- Delusional perception. At the same time, the patients perceive the perceived. It acquires a new meaning and inspires fear, anxiety and even horror.
- A delirious idea, expressed in the sudden appearance of unusual thoughts or ideas. Such ideas may have nothing to do with reality: for example, the patient decides that he is the messiah and must save the world from imminent death. In this case, under the influence of this kind of ideas, a reassessment of the entire past life of the patient is often carried out.
- Delusional Insight. Man is sure that he comprehended the meaning of all things. At the same time, his explanations of reality seem to be strange, fanciful and not grounded by any facts.
Delirium can be accompanied by hallucinations: in these cases it is called "hallucinatory delirium".Supervalued ideas are never accompanied by hallucinations. As a rule, this symptom occurs in patients suffering from schizophrenia.
The content of crazy ideas
Most often in psychiatric practice, there are the following types of delusional ideas:
- Quirulent nonsense. The patient is inclined to litigation, appeals to the courts to prove his case, writes numerous complaints to various instances. At the same time, he can complain, for example, to neighbors who are exposing him from his apartment or even want to kill him.
- The Bunder of Reform. Based on very peculiar and unusual ideas, the patient seeks to change the political structure in the country( or even in the world) or the social structure of society.
- The delirium of invention. Patients devote their lives to the creation of a mechanism, for example, a teleport, a time machine or a perpetual motion machine. At the same time, it is impossible to stop the fundamental impossibility of inventing such devices of such kind. To buy the necessary details can spend a significant part of the family budget: a person can easily leave their children without the most necessary, just to "bring to life" his creation.
- Religious delirium. Patients have a very peculiar understanding of religion. For example, a person with religious delirium considers himself to be a son of God or a new reincarnation of the Buddha. In schizophrenia, a person even feels convinced that God regularly comes into contact with him, gives advice and guides him.
- Megalomania, or crazy ideas of greatness. A person overestimates the importance of his personality and believes that he has a direct impact on the events taking place in the world. Such patients may believe that they caused an earthquake on another continent or triggered a plane crash.
- Erotic delirium. In this case, the delirium of jealousy is inherent in men, and love delirium, or erotomania, is more often observed in women. The delirium of jealousy is expressed in a firm belief in the partner's infidelity. If there is an overvalued idea with a similar content of a person, one can be persuaded that he is mistaken, then with delirium it is impossible to do this. Patients can be convinced that the partner managed to change it by going out for a few minutes for bread. With erotomania, the patient is sure that another person experiences romantic feelings for him. As a rule, this person is not even familiar with the patient: it can be a show business star, politician, actor, etc. With love delirium there is an unshakable conviction that the object of delirium sends him secret signs during his speeches or reportsencrypted information in their publications or interviews.
A special place is occupied by pathological pursuers: patients have a tendency to harm their imaginary opponents.
Thus, it can be noted that it is not always possible to differentiate between the content of which the patient is delirious, and which of them has an overvalued idea. Psychiatry proposes to focus on the role of the idea in the mind of the patient and whether it is possible to make him question his own convictions.
Chronic and acute delirium
There are two main forms of delirium - acute and chronic. Naturally, with chronic delirium the symptoms accompany the patient for a long time, coming to naught under the influence of drug treatment. In acute delirium, symptoms develop suddenly and quickly enough.
Chronic delirium has a number of rather unpleasant consequences, which include:
- Fraud. Delusional ideas can cause a patient to deceive others in order to prove their own rightness. Often, patients who believe in their own messianism organize whole sects, collecting quite impressive "contributions" from the flock.
- False testimony in court: the patient is convinced that he is telling the truth, while he can easily confirm his case to the lie detector.
- Vagrancy: under the influence of delusions, a patient can begin to lead a marginal way of life.
- Development of induced( induced) delirium in the family members of the patient. Close people can join the delusional ideas of the patient, especially if they are sufficiently impressionable, inspired by people.
In addition, under the influence of delusional ideas, a patient can commit a serious crime, for example, to kill a person, deciding that he has attempted his life or the lives of his loved ones. Quite often murders are committed by patients suffering from the delirium of jealousy, firmly believing in the partner's infidelity. In this case, aggression can be directed both at the "changed" partner, and on the one with whom allegedly there was treason. In addition, under the influence of delirium, a person can commit suicide: this often happens in a delusion of self-blame. Therefore, if a delusional super-valuable idea arises in a patient, treatment should be immediate: otherwise a person can harm himself and others. As a rule, the therapy is carried out in specialized medical institutions, where the patient is monitored around the clock.
Supervalued and delusional ideas have much in common. They occupy a dominant place in the consciousness of the patient, force him to act in a certain way, affect the adaptation in society. However, delirium is considered a more serious disorder: if, in the presence of an overvalued idea of a person, one can be persuaded that he is mistaken, then delusional beliefs disappear only after drug therapy. At the same time, delusions always arise as one of the symptoms of a serious mental disorder, and overvalued ideas can also appear in healthy people. AND dei, having the character of supervaluity, can develop over time and acquire the features of delirium, therefore their appearance requires immediate appeal to specialists in the field of psychiatry and psychotherapy.