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Who is Delusional?

According to Comer (2011), “delusions are ideas that individuals believe wholeheartedly but have no basis in fact.” Individuals who hold such believes hold them with high level of conviction in such a manner that even when they are exposed to some kind of proof that contradicts their beliefs, they resist the proof (Delusional Disorder, 2007). Delusions can be either non-bizarre or bizarre. Non-bizarre delusions are believes, which occur over a small number of times. On the other hand, bizarre delusions are believes, which are usually impossible in reality (Delusional Disorder, 2007).

There is a cult in North America: Christian Identity Movement, which can be termed delusional. This cult believes that God created man and gave him the freedom to dominate all other living creatures in the world, including women. All female members of this cult are usually locked in a big house, where they are subjected to many inhuman acts, including forced sexual intercourse. The women and children are deprived access to basic needs such as health care and education. The only kind of education that members of this cult get is religious education, which is done by the selected male members of the cult. When one gets sick, they pray for him/her for recovery. They believe that education and health care would make them unholy because people who are not members of their cult provide them. Unlike schizophrenic patients, members of this cult display occasional bizarre behaviors, absence of hallucinations (unless in individuals with psychiatric conditions), and absence of memory loss or drug/alcohol-related effects, associated with development of delusions.

Conversely, a schizophrenic patient suffering from delusions experiences frequent hallucinations. Such a patient may from time to time claim to see, hear, smell, or feel things that other people do not. Another symptom displayed by a schizophrenic patients suffering from delusions is inability to think and/or speak logically. Sometimes, such a patient may suddenly stop talking, and when asked why he/she stopped talking, the person says that the thought was taken aware from his/her mind. Other symptoms displayed by a schizophrenic patient suffering from delusion include inability to focus and pay attention, inability to understand and use information immediately after learning it (Delusional Disorder, 2007).

In my opinion, members from the aforementioned cult can be said to be delusional. Although they do not exhibit frequent hallucinations, memory loss, or bizarre behaviors like in schizophrenic patients, their beliefs are delusional. They make unusual choices in life based on their delusional beliefs. The only difference between the aforementioned cult members and schizophrenic patients suffering from delusion is that the delusional beliefs of the cult members are not because of memory loss, medical illness, or drug/alcohol-related effects. They base their delusional ideas on unfounded religious and cultural beliefs. This is consistent with Comer’s definition of delusions as ideas that have no basis in fact (2011).