Understanding Persecutory delusion

Persecutory delusion

When someone experiences persecutory delusions, they believe a person or group wants to hurt them. They firmly believe this is true, despite the lack of proof. Persecutory delusions are a form of paranoia. They’re often seen in schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, like schizoaffective disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.


Persecutory delusion symptoms

The main symptoms of persecutory delusions is a person believing that others intend to harm them or that they’re being accused of doing something horrible that they never did. The belief, which is based on bizarre or irrational reasoning, affects how a person behaves and thinks.

Persecutory delusions may cause symptoms like:

  • fearing ordinary situations
  • feeling threatened without reason
  • frequently reporting to authorities
  • extreme distress
  • excess worry
  • constantly seeking safety

If their delusions are disputed, the person may further explain the belief with more unrealistic reasoning.

Examples of persecutory delusions

If a person has persecutory delusions, they might say things like:

  • “My co-workers are hacking into my email and trying to get me fired.”
  • “The neighbours are planning to steal my car.”
  • “People walking outside are putting thoughts inside my head.”
  • “The mailman is spying on my house because he wants to hurt me.”
  • “The airplane above us is the government, and they want to kidnap me.”
  • “Everyone believes that I want to hurt things.”

The person will say these things as if they’re facts. They might also use vague terms and seem agitated or suspicious.

Developing Persecutory delusion indicates the patient needs immediate medical treatment from a psychiatrist. Many a times both the patient and the family need to be educated about the illness and taught how to manage it, this can be best done by the counsellor.