Delusion Diagnosis

According to the most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), delusion is defined as: “A false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes the inconvertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary.”

Delusion is diagnosed by a psychiatrist who carries out a thorough examination. For an individual to be diagnosed as delusional, the belief cannot be occurring as a result of using drugs or a general medication and the person must be free of any history of schizophrenia.

In order to diagnose delusion disorder, tests are carried out to detect and rule out symptoms that are consistent with other psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, mania or depression.

In paranoid schizophrenia, the delusions tend to be absurd or bizarre and are accompanied by other schizophrenia symptoms such as disordered thought and auditory hallucination, for example.

Sometimes, delusions of persecution (fear that someone is out to harm their person) are seen in patients with depression and may be associated with a sense of guilt where the person feels they have done something very wrong for which they are being persecuted. Delusions of persecution are also seen in people with mania. Similarly, individuals with paranoid personality disorder inherently distrust and suspect people, which can lead to delusions of persecution.

Several medical conditions such as thyroid disorder, systemic lupus erythematosus and dementia also cause symptoms similar to those seen in individuals with delusion and these conditions also need to be ruled out when diagnosing delusion.

According to the DSM-IV, the symptoms of delusion disorder should be present for at least a month before confirming a diagnosis and according to the ICD-10, the symptoms should be present for at least 3 months for a diagnosis to be confirmed.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jun 12, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2023, June 12). Delusion Diagnosis. News-Medical. Retrieved on February 27, 2024 from

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "Delusion Diagnosis". News-Medical. 27 February 2024. <>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "Delusion Diagnosis". News-Medical. (accessed February 27, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2023. Delusion Diagnosis. News-Medical, viewed 27 February 2024,


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment