I have always suspected Rena was mentally ill. She had two sides to her. I felt like her guardian angel. I apologize to her if I confused and frightened her. I suffer from mental illness. I am not diagnosed a Paranoid schizophrenia.
I wish I had responded to Rena’s letter in a very simple manner so she would feel safe. I put way too much emotions and prose in my letter that caused her to read between the lines for things that she might believe were a threat. Now that I understand what is going on, I can retreat.
Rena is isolated by her mental illness, and is very lonely. I got the idea she wants to continue to read my blog, and that will be it.
My late sister showed symptoms she was mentally ill at an early age. I became very protective of Christine when I was eleven.
Rena showed herself when I was blogging on Lucia Joyce who became mentally ill and died in a sanitarium, neglected and forgotten. This will not happen to Rena Easton. I still love her, and always will.
Lucia Anna Joyce (26 July 1907 Trieste – 12 December 1982 Northampton) was the daughter of Irish writer James Joyce and Nora Barnacle.
Italian was her first language and the language in which she corresponded with her father. She studied ballet while she was a teenager, becoming good enough to train with Isadora Duncan. She started to show signs of mental illness in 1930, around the time she began casually dating Samuel Beckett. Her deteriorating mental state caused him to call off the relationship, and in 1934, Carl Jung took her in as a patient. Soon after, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the Burghölzli psychiatric clinic in Zurich. She was placed in an institution in Ivry-sur-Seine, France, in 1935.
In 1951 Lucia was sent to St Andrew’s Hospital in Northampton, where she was visited at times by Beckett. She died at the institution aged 75 in 1982. She is buried in Kingsthorpe Cemetery.
Her mental state, and documentation pertaining thereto, is the subject of a recent study by Carol Shloss, who believes Lucia to have been her father’s muse for Finnegans Wake. The study makes heavy reference to the letters between Lucia Joyce and her father, and became the subject of a copyright misuse suit by the James Joyce estate. On 25 March 2007, this litigation was resolved.
Mnemonist is derived from the term mnemonic, it refers to the individuals with the unusual ability to recall long lists of information including names, numbers, etc. It has been suggested that individuals with such ability may possess eidetic memory. However, although it is not uncommon that such individuals frequently become the subjects of scientific studies, it still remains controversial on whether such ability is inborn or acquired it through learning
A number of people claim to have eidetic memory, but only two people have been tested and documented as having a memory that is truly photographic. Most people showing amazing memory abilities use mnemonic strategies, mostly the method of loci. This includes all winners of the annual World Memory Championships and most of the known scientific cases of excellent memories, like S. V. Shereshevskii. Regardless, there are a number of individuals with extraordinary memory who have been labeled eidetikers. The following list contains people who have claimed Eidetic memory.
Savant syndrome is a condition in which a person with a mental disability, such as an autism spectrum disorder, demonstrates profound and prodigious capacities or abilities far in excess of what would be considered normal. People with savant syndrome may have neurodevelopmental disorders, notably autism spectrum disorders, or brain injuries. The most dramatic examples of savant syndrome occur in individuals who score very low on IQ tests, but not always. In some very rare and extreme cases, some people with savant actually had an average to even a higher IQ while demonstrating exceptional skills or brilliance in specific areas, such as rapid calculation, art, memory, or musical ability. Intelligence in one or several areas lacking or without common sense. In spite of the name “syndrome”, it is not recognized as a mental disorder nor as part of mental disorder in medical manuals such as the ICD-10 or the DSM-IV.
According to psychiatrist Darold Treffert, almost all savants have prodigious memory which he describes as “very deep, but exceedingly narrow.” It is narrow in the sense that savants may exhibit exceptional memory but have difficulty putting it to use. Some individuals with savant syndrome also have a keen sense of priority, which can involve a broad understanding of politics, law, and a conceivably heightened vocabulary.
Savant skills (islands of ability) are usually found in one or more of five major areas: art, musical abilities, calendar calculation, mathematics and spatial skills. The most common kind of autistic savants are the calendrical savants, ‘human calendars’ who can calculate the day of the week with speed and usually with accuracy. Memory feats are the second most common savant skill in a survey.
50% of savants have autism; the other 50% often have some other forms of central nervous system injury or disease. Among autistics, 10% have some form of savant abilities.
Savant syndrome is poorly understood. No widely accepted cognitive theory explains savants’ combination of talent and deficit. It has been suggested that individuals with autism are biased towards detail-focused processing and that this cognitive style predisposes individuals either with or without autism to savant talents. Another hypothesis is that savants hyper-systemize, thereby giving an impression of talent. Hyper-systemizing is an extreme state in the empathizing–systemizing theory that classifies people based on their skills in empathizing with others versus systemizing facts about the external world. Also, the attention to detail savants is a consequence of enhanced perception or sensory hypersensitivity in these unique individuals. It has also been confirmed that some savants operate by directly accessing low-level, less-processed information that exists in all human brains but is normally unavailable to conscious awareness.
There is no agreement about how many people have savant skills. The estimates range from “exceedingly rare” to one in ten people with autism having savant skills in varying degrees. A 2009 British study of 137 parents of autistic children found that 28% believe their offspring met the criteria for a savant skill, defined as a skill or power “at a level that would be unusual even for “normal” people”. As many as 50 cases of sudden or acquired savant syndrome have been reported.
Males with savant syndrome outnumber females by roughly 6:1—slightly higher than the sex ratio disparity for autism spectrum disorders, which is 4.3:1. (See also: Epidemiology of autism)
Paranoid schizophrenia manifests itself in an array of symptoms. Common symptoms for paranoid schizophrenia include auditory hallucinations (hearing voices), paranoid delusions (believing everyone is out to cause you harm), anxiety, anger, emotional distance, violence, argumentativeness, self-important or condescending manner, and suicidal thoughts and behavior. However, two of the symptoms separate this form of schizophrenia from other forms.
One criterion for separating paranoid schizophrenia from other types is delusion. Delusions make the person behave in a manner that could lead them to cause harm to themselves or others. A delusion is a belief that is held strong even when evidence shows otherwise. Some common delusions associated with paranoid schizophrenia include, “believing that the government is monitoring every move you make, or that a co-worker is poisoning your lunch”. These beliefs are irrational, but they can cause the person to behave abnormally because he or she believes they are true. Another frequent type of delusion is a delusion of grandeur, or the “fixed, false belief that one possesses superior qualities such as genius, fame, omnipotence, or wealth”. Common delusions of grandeur include, “the belief that you can fly, that you’re famous, or that you have a relationship with a famous person”. Any of these delusions could lead the person to inflict harm upon others as well as him or herself.
Another criterion present in patients with paranoid schizophrenia are auditory hallucinations, in which the person hears voices or sounds that are not really present. The patient will sometimes hear multiple voices and the voices can either be talking to the patient or to one other. These voices that the patient hears can influence him or her to behave in a particular manner.
Researchers at the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research provide an excellent description: “They [the voices] may make ongoing criticisms of what you’re thinking or doing, or make cruel comments about your real or imagined faults. Voices may also command you to do thing that can be harmful to yourself or to others”. A patient exhibiting these auditory hallucinations may be observed talking to him or herself because the person believes that the voices are actually present. All of the symptoms of schizophrenia can lead to the person acting out and causing harm. Early diagnosis is important for the successful treatment of schizophrenia.
A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary. As a pathology, it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information, confabulation, dogma, illusion, or other effects of perception.
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). However, they are of particular diagnostic importance in psychotic disorders including schizophrenia, paraphrenia, manic episodes of bipolar disorder, and psychotic depression.
2 Types 2.1 Themes
2.2 Grandiose delusions
2.3 Persecutory delusions
4 Development of specific delusions
6 See also
8 Further reading
Although non-specific concepts of madness have been around for several thousand years, the psychiatrist and philosopher Karl Jaspers was the first to define the three main criteria for a belief to be considered delusional in his 1913 book General Psychopathology. These criteria are:
certainty (held with absolute conviction)
incorrigibility (not changeable by compelling counterargument or proof to the contrary)
impossibility or falsity of content (implausible, bizarre or patently untrue)
Furthermore, when a false belief involves a value judgment, it is only considered as a delusion if it is so extreme that it cannot be, or never can be proven true. For example: a man claiming that he flew into the sun and flew back home. This would be considered a delusion, unless he was speaking figuratively.
Delusions are categorized into four different groups:
Bizarre delusion: A delusion that is very strange and completely implausible; an example of a bizarre delusion would be that aliens have removed the reporting person’s brain.
Non-bizarre delusion: A delusion that, though false, is at least possible, e.g., the affected person mistakenly believes that he is under constant police surveillance.
Mood-congruent delusion: Any delusion with content consistent with either a depressive or manic state, e.g., a depressed person believes that news anchors on television highly disapprove of him, or a person in a manic state might believe she is a powerful deity.
Mood-neutral delusion: A delusion that does not relate to the sufferer’s emotional state; for example, a belief that an extra limb is growing out of the back of one’s head is neutral to either depression or mania.
In addition to these categories, delusions often manifest according to a consistent theme. Although delusions can have any theme, certain themes are more common. Some of the more common delusion themes are:
Delusion of control: This is a false belief that another person, group of people, or external force controls one’s general thoughts, feelings, impulses, or behavior.
Cotard delusion: This is a false belief that one does not exist or has died.
Delusional jealousy: A person with this delusion falsely believes that a spouse or lover is having an affair, with no proof to back up their claim.
Delusion of guilt or sin (or delusion of self-accusation): This is an ungrounded feeling of remorse or guilt of delusional intensity.
Delusion of mind being read: The false belief that other people can know one’s thoughts.
Delusion of thought insertion: The belief that another thinks through the mind of the person.
Delusion of reference: The person falsely believes that insignificant remarks, events, or objects in one’s environment have personal meaning or significance.
Erotomania A delusion in which someone falsely believes another person is in love with them.
Grandiose religious delusion: The belief that the affected person is a god, or chosen to act as a god.
Somatic delusion: A delusion whose content pertains to bodily functioning, bodily sensations, or physical appearance. Usually the false belief is that the body is somehow diseased, abnormal, or changed. A specific example of this delusion is delusional parasitosis: a delusion in which one feels infested with insects, bacteria, mites, spiders, lice, fleas, worms, or other organisms. Affected individuals may also report being repeatedly bitten. In some cases, entomologists are asked to investigate cases of mysterious bites. Sometimes physical manifestations may occur including skin lesions.
Delusion of poverty: The person strongly believes that he is financially incapacitated. Although this type of delusion is less common now, it was particularly widespread in the days before state support.
Main article: Grandiose delusions
Grandiose delusions are distinct from grandiosity, in that the sufferer does not have insight into his loss of touch with reality. An individual is convinced he has special powers, talents, or abilities. Sometimes, the individual may actually believe they are a famous person or character.
Grandiose delusions or delusions of grandeur are principally a subtype of delusional disorder but could possibly feature as a symptom of schizophrenia and manic episodes of bipolar disorder. Grandiose delusions are characterized by fantastical beliefs that one is famous, omnipotent, or otherwise very powerful. The delusions are generally fantastic, often with a supernatural, science-fictional, or religious bent. In colloquial usage, one who overestimates one’s own abilities, talents, stature or situation is sometimes said to have ‘delusions of grandeur’. This is generally due to excessive pride, rather than any actual delusions. Grandiose delusions or delusions of grandeur can also be associated with megalomania.
Main article: Persecutory delusion
Persecutory delusions are the most common type of delusions and involve the theme of being followed, harassed, cheated, poisoned or drugged, conspired against, spied on, attacked, or otherwise obstructed in the pursuit of goals. Persecutory delusions are a condition in which the affected person wrongly believes that they are being persecuted. Specifically, they have been defined as containing three central elements:[page needed] The individual thinks that
1.harm is occurring, or is going to occur.
2.the persecutor(s) has(have) the intention to cause harm.
3.they are constantly being prejudged or profiled.
According to the DSM-IV-TR, persecutory delusions are the most common form of delusions in schizophrenia, where the person believes they are “being tormented, followed, sabotaged, tricked, spied on, or ridiculed.” In the DSM-IV-TR, persecutory delusions are the main feature of the persecutory type of delusional disorder. When the focus is to remedy some injustice by legal action, they are sometimes called “querulous paranoia”.
John Haslam illustrated this picture of a machine described by James Tilly Matthews called an “air loom,” which Matthews believed was being used to torture him and others for political purposes.
The modern definition and Jaspers’ original criteria have been criticised, as counter-examples can be shown for every defining feature.
Studies on psychiatric patients show that delusions vary in intensity and conviction over time, which suggests that certainty and incorrigibility are not necessary components of a delusional belief.
Delusions do not necessarily have to be false or ‘incorrect inferences about external reality’. Some religious or spiritual beliefs by their nature may not be falsifiable, and hence cannot be described as false or incorrect, no matter whether the person holding these beliefs was diagnosed as delusional or not.
In other situations the delusion may turn out to be true belief. For example, delusional jealousy, where a person believes that their partner is being unfaithful (and may even follow them into the bathroom believing them to be seeing their lover even during the briefest of partings) may result in the faithful partner being driven to infidelity by the constant and unreasonable strain put on them by their delusional spouse. In this case the delusion does not cease to be a delusion because the content later turns out to be true.
In other cases, the delusion may be assumed to be false by a doctor or psychiatrist assessing the belief, because it seems to be unlikely, bizarre or held with excessive conviction. Psychiatrists rarely have the time or resources to check the validity of a person’s claims leading to some true beliefs to be erroneously classified as delusional. This is known as the Martha Mitchell effect, after the wife of the attorney general who alleged that illegal activity was taking place in the White House. At the time her claims were thought to be signs of mental illness, and only after the Watergate scandal broke was she proved right (and hence sane).
Similar factors have led to criticisms of Jaspers’ definition of true delusions as being ultimately ‘un-understandable’. Critics (such as R. D. Laing) have argued that this leads to the diagnosis of delusions being based on the subjective understanding of a particular psychiatrist, who may not have access to all the information that might make a belief otherwise interpretable. R.D. Laing’s hypothesis has been applied to some forms of projective therapy to “fix” a delusional system so that it cannot be altered by the patient. Psychiatric researchers at Yale University, Ohio State University and the Community Mental Health Center of Middle Georgia have used novels and motion picture films as the focus. Texts, plots and cinematography are discussed and the delusions approached tangentially. This use of fiction to decrease the malleability of a delusion was employed in a joint project by science-fiction author Philip Jose Farmer and Yale psychiatrist A. James Giannini. They wrote the novel Red Orc’s Rage, which, recursively, deals with delusional adolescents who are treated with a form of projective therapy. In this novel’s fictional setting other novels written by Farmer are discussed and the characters are symbolically integrated into the delusions of fictional patients. This particular novel was then applied to real-life clinical settings.
Another difficulty with the diagnosis of delusions is that almost all of these features can be found in “normal” beliefs. Many religious beliefs hold exactly the same features, yet are not universally considered delusional. These factors have led the psychiatrist Anthony David to note that “there is no acceptable (rather than accepted) definition of a delusion.” In practice, psychiatrists tend to diagnose a belief as delusional if it is either patently bizarre, causing significant distress, or excessively pre-occupying the patient, especially if the person is subsequently unswayed in belief by counter-evidence or reasonable arguments.
It is important to distinguish true delusions from other symptoms such as anxiety, fear, or paranoia. To diagnose delusions a mental state examination may be used. This test includes appearance, mood, affect, behavior, rate and continuity of speech, evidence of hallucinations or abnormal beliefs, thought content, orientation to time, place and person, attention and concentration, insight and judgment, as well as short-term memory.
Johnson-Laird suggests that delusions may be viewed as the natural consequence of failure to distinguish conceptual relevance. That is, the person takes irrelevant information and puts it in the form of disconnected experiences, then it is taken to be relevant in a manner that suggests false causal connections. Furthermore, the person takes the relevant information, in the form of counterexamples, and ignores it.[24