31 May Addiction and Delusional Disorder
Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that worsens over time without professional treatment. Unfortunately, many people who struggle with a substance use disorder also deal with a mental health condition. This is known as having co-occurring disorders.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “approximately 9.2 million adults in the United States have a co-occurring disorder.”
When people think of co-occurring disorders, they often imagine someone with an addiction who struggles with depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, substance use disorders can be comorbid with any type of psychiatric condition. One of the conditions that is known to co-occur with addiction is referred to as delusional disorder.
What is Delusional Disorder?
Delusional disorder is a mental health condition that makes it difficult to separate reality from imagination. There are many different types of delusions that someone may suffer from when they have this condition. A delusion occurs when you fully believe in something that is untrue or not based on reality.
Oftentimes, people with a delusional disorder experience non-bizarre delusions, meaning the delusions they experience could possibly occur in real life. For example, believing you are being followed when you are not is a common example of a non-bizarre delusion.
Early symptoms of delusional disorder include:
- Feeling like you are being exploited by people around you
- Being obsessed with the loyalty of your friends and family
- Reading into benign statements or events and believing you are finding hidden messages
- Holding grudges
- Being ready to respond to perceived disrespect
Having this condition can significantly impact your ability to function in your daily life. The delusional disorder makes it difficult to maintain close relationships with others and maintain your responsibilities. As a result, you should always seek mental health treatment if you believe you or a loved one is struggling with a delusional disorder.
Understanding the Nine Different Types of Delusions
There are nine different types of delusions. Each type of delusion is characterized by thoughts that are not grounded in reality.
The different types of delusions include:
- Grandiose – delusions characterized by an over-inflated sense of worth, power, knowledge, or identity.
- Persecutory – believing that a person is treating you unfairly, threatening you, or even stalking you.
- Jealous – delusions that a spouse is cheating on you even when there is no proof.
- Erotomanic – delusions that someone (often celebrities or people in power) is in love with you, even when you have never had a conversation with them.
- Somatic – delusions related to your bodily functions, including believing you have a deformity or a disease that there is no evidence of.
- Thought Broadcasting – believing that your thoughts are being projected and perceived by other people.
- Thought Insertion – believing that your thoughts are not your own and are being inserted into your brain by another entity.
- Mixed – experiencing a combination of different types of delusions that are mentioned above.
- Unspecified – experiencing delusional symptoms that do not quite fit into one of these categories.
Each type of delusion can become dangerous, sometimes leading to self-injury or violence against others. However, it is important to note that people with delusional disorders are not inherently violent. When one’s behavior becomes threatening, it is a result of long-term unmanaged symptoms of delusional disorder.
How is Addiction Connected to Delusional Disorder?
People with delusional disorders might begin abusing substances to quiet the thoughts and delusions in their heads. While certain substances like alcohol can provide temporary relief because they depress the central nervous system, the delusions will eventually begin again.
Additionally, some substances can cause delusional thoughts. For example, central nervous system stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine are known to induce psychosis. If you experience substance-induced psychosis and have a genetic predisposition for delusional disorder, you could begin experiencing the symptoms of this mental health condition.
Whether you are self-medicating with substances or triggering your delusional disorder by abusing drugs and alcohol, it’s clear to see that doing drugs only worsens mental health conditions over time.
Find Help for Addiction and Delusional Disorder
If you or a loved one frequently abuse substances and experience the symptoms of a delusional disorder, it’s time to seek help. Dual-diagnosis treatment programs can provide you with a combination of evidence-based addiction treatment services and mental health recovery techniques. Receiving treatment for both of your conditions at once will provide you with the best chance at long-term recovery.
To learn more about our mental health treatment programs or to find help for yourself or a loved one, please contact Florida Recovery Group today.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Co-Occurring Disorders and Other Health Conditions, Retrieved May 2023 From https://www.samhsa.gov/medications-substance-use-disorders/medications-counseling-related-conditions/co-occurring-disorders
- National Library of Medicine: Delusional Disorder, Retrieved May 2023 From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539855/
- University of New South Wales: Psychosis + Substance Use, Retrieved May 2023 From https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/sites/default/files/ndarc/resources/NDARC_PYCHOSIS_FINAL.pdf