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Persistent delusional symptoms and disorders 

Persistent delusional symptoms and disorders
Chapter:
Persistent delusional symptoms and disorders
Author(s):

Alistair Munro

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199696758.003.0082
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date: 18 August 2019

Paranoia/delusional disorder is unique in psychiatry in that it is virtually a newly discovered illness, yet much of the fundamental descriptive work was done a century or more ago. This long hiatus means that most practitioners have little knowledge or experience of the disorder, and the few who are aware of it usually only see a small part of the fabric. The dermatologist treats a case of delusional parasitosis, the cosmetic surgeon has an impossible patient wth a dysmorphic delusion, the lawyer does not know what to do with a totally unreasonable litigant, the police officer has to deal with a jealous murderer or an erotomanic stalker, and the personnel officer has an employee who is convinced his fellow workers are persecuting him, etc. How can we draw all this scattered material together and add it to the psychiatric literature to make a whole cloth? The answer is largely by consciousness raising and education. Kendler, an authority in this field, has said, ‘The paranoid disorders may be the third great group of functional psychoses, along with affective disorder and schizophrenia’. If he is correct, it is imperative that we hone our diagnostic and treatment skills in order to improve the help we might offer to delusional disorder sufferers and to facilitate research which is so badly needed.

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