The concept of seeing things that others do not is one of the most well-known distinguishers of a possible mental illness. It is an incredibly isolating experience that is highlighted by feelings of fear, confusion, and frustration.
This can take the form of seeing images and figures, hearing voices that no one else hears, and even olfactory (related to the sense of smell) hallucinations. No amount of research will be able to truly personify this experience for those not afflicted with paranoid schizophrenia, but popular media has made at least some progress in illustrating the disorienting sensations of such a diagnosis.
Clearbrook Massachusetts explores the delusions of persecution associated with paranoid schizophrenia and ways that those closest to the afflicted can better understand their loved one’s condition.
What Is a Delusion?
The cornerstone of a schizophrenic diagnosis is the presence of delusions. These are beliefs that do not falter despite clear evidence to the contrary. In other words, no matter how absurd it may be, the afflicted will be unable (and even unwilling) to accept that what they are experiencing isn’t real.
In extreme cases, it can be a monster that no one else notices, but that is a clear and present danger that strikes fear and panic into the person that thinks they see it. However, non-bizarre delusions can also occur, involving scenarios that could possibly happen in real life.
Examples of non-bizarre delusions include:
- Being followed
- Being lied to
- Being watched
Delusions of persecution, specifically, present themselves as scenarios of conviction that someone is conspiring against or planning to harm you or a loved one if you do not comply with what your delusions tell you to do.
These experiences would make most people paranoid, but the concept of no one else believing you adds a whole new dimension of turmoil. As stated before, it is something that we will never understand unless we live it. Storytelling and history have been combined in the biographical drama, A Beautiful Mind to help fill in the gaps.
Why You Should Watch A Beautiful Mind
This 2001 film, directed by Ron Howard, stars renowned actor Russel Crowe as John Forbes Nash Jr. It was inspired by the 1997 biography of the same name, written by Sylvia Nasar. A Beautiful Mind explores Nash’s time at Princeton University, where he begins to exhibit signs of paranoid schizophrenia. His condition soon transforms into delusional episodes that have an effect on those he cares for most.
His delusions of persecution are the focal point of the film’s plot and can serve as informative examples useful in gaining more insight into the mind of a schizophrenic individual.
Is Paranoid Schizophrenia Genetic?
This is a common question that family members of mentally ill individuals may ask, and for a good reason. Just like hair color and physical features can be passed down, the likelihood for specific illnesses can be, too. That being said, while it can run in families, there is not one single gene that can be attributed to a schizophrenic diagnosis.
In lieu of arming ourselves with fear and dismissal, filling the gaps through empathy, patience, and understanding can be revolutionary.
If someone you care about exhibits any of the symptoms described above, our Massachusetts treatment center provides residential mental health care designed to give patients the most effective care possible. Programs like art therapy will keep patients engaged while providing a creative outlet, while dialectical behavioral therapy can aid in practicing mindfulness, stress tolerance, and emotional regulation.