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Delusions Of Grandeur: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Delusions of grandeur are false beliefs held by an individual in which they believe with full conviction that they are a celebrity, person of high rank, omnipotent, and/or a powerful entity – despite significant evidence to the contrary.  Imagine waking up one day thinking that you’re the president of the United States, despite the fact that you’re homeless and living on the streets.  This would be an example of a grandiose delusion – your perceived sense of importance becomes inflated for no legitimate reason.

The grandiose delusions are often associated with fictional, religious, or supernatural themes.  A person suffering from delusions of grandeur may believe that they deserve public recognition as the human incarnation of Jesus Christ.  Individuals afflicted with these types of delusions often have diagnosable psychiatric conditions such as: bipolar disorder, delusional disorder, or schizophrenia.

What are delusions of grandeur? Definition.

Below is a technical breakdown of the terms “delusion,” “grandeur” and the phrase “delusions of grandeur.”  By defining each term separately from the phrase, it may help some people realize that grandeur is not always associated with delusions.

Delusion: This is a term used to describe a false belief that is held with full conviction, despite significant contradictory evidence.  In other words, it is a belief held despite irrefutable logical, rational, and/or scientific evidence in opposition to a particular belief.

Grandeur: This is a term that signifies being impressive, awesome, or magnificent.  A professional athlete may be described as “grandiose” in regards to being of significant talent.  In reference to a professional athlete, highly-skilled person, celebrity, or president – the associated grandeur is not delusional.

Delusions of grandeur: This is phrase that is utilized to describe a specific delusion (“false belief despite significant contradictory evidence”) in which a person believes they are grandiose (“impressive, high ranking, or superior to others”).

What causes delusions of grandeur?

It is difficult to pinpoint a specific cause for delusions of grandeur.  There is significant evidence associated with brain lesions, specifically to the frontal lobe and grandiose delusions.  That said, a variety of other factors may play a role including: drug use, genetics, medical conditions, neurotransmitter concentrations, and receptor density.

Brain anatomy: Delusions may be a result of anatomical abnormalities in the brain.  Research has suggested that the amygdala, fronto-striatal circuits, and parietal cortices are most likely to play a role in the development of delusions.  Anatomical abnormalities can lead to processing errors in these regions, which can perception and make an individual more prone to delusions.

Brain injuries: Those that have endured a brain injury or multiple brain injuries may be more prone to delusions.  Although injuries to any area of the brain may increase delusional susceptibility, the frontal lobes are most commonly linked to delusions of grandeur.

  • Frontal lobes: Individuals that have lesions in the frontal lobes are known to be increasingly susceptible to delusions of grandeur.
  • Temporal lobes: Those with lesions of the temporal lobes may be more likely to experience delusions of grandeur.

Drugs: Those that have used or abused drugs may experience delusions of grandeur as a side effect.  This is particularly common in cases of drug-induced psychosis.  Those that experience delusions of grandeur upon ingestion of drugs often have taken a stimulatory agent that affects dopamine.  The drastic increase of dopamine may provoke a stimulant-psychosis characterized by elevated mood and grandiose delusions.

It should also be mentioned that some individuals may be susceptible to experiencing grandiose delusions during drug withdrawal.  An example of a drug that is known to induce mania is that of levodopa (L-Dopa), a medication utilized among those with Parkinson’s to treat cognitive impairment.  Most drugs that cause delusions of grandeur tend to simultaneously induce a manic or hypomanic state.

Encephalitis: Those experiencing Japanese encephalitis, a condition characterized by brain inflammation, have been reported as exhibiting delusions of grandeur.  These delusions were accompanied by other symptoms including: euphoria, assaultive behaviors, and sometimes seizures.  It is possible that other cases of encephalitis may also result in delusions of grandeur.

Genetics: It has been suggested that certain genetic polymorphisms may result in delusions of grandeur.  In particular, researchers believe that polymorphisms of genes related to dopamine receptors are the culprit.  Some studies point out that paranoid schizophrenia and delusional disorders may stem from HLA (human leukocyte antigen) genes, which could influence grandiose delusions.

Hemispheric activation: In early studies of individuals with delusions, it was believed that the delusions were caused by overactivation or underactivation of a particular hemisphere.  First, researchers speculated that right hemisphere impairment was the predominant cause of delusions.  Upon further analysis, it appears that the actual cause of delusions stems from excessive activity in the left hemisphere.

Neurotransmitter concentrations: Those with abnormally high concentrations of certain neurotransmitters may result in delusions of grandeur.  It is believed that high dopamine levels are responsible for causing delusions, especially among individuals with schizophrenia.  For this reason, professionals administer atypical antipsychotics which act as dopamine antagonists.

Receptor density: The densities of receptors for neurotransmitters may play a role in facilitating delusional states.  One theory is that certain regions of the brain lack adequate dopaminergic receptors, thus leading to an overabundance of dopamine and causing delusions and/or hallucinations.  Those with reductions in receptor density, particularly of dopamine may be increasingly susceptible to delusions of grandeur.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20198522
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16786814
  • Source: http://www.springer.com/us/book/9781493910700

Do delusions of grandeur serve a functional purpose?

Some believe that delusions of grandeur may serve a functional purpose such as helping a person cope with severely damaged self-esteem and/or depressive feelings.  In most cases of grandiose delusions, an individual is not suicidal, thus it should be speculated that the delusions may be helping protect a person’s (potentially damaged) ego.  In other cases, the delusions may not have a functional purpose, rather they may be a manifestation of a particular mood or a byproduct of hallucinations.

Defense mechanism: It is though that some people may experience grandiose delusions to protect their ego from severely low self-esteem and/or major depression.  Those experiencing delusions of grandeur tend to experience a temporarily inflated sense of self-importance, thus counteracting the severely low self esteem or depressive emotions.  For this reason, many therapists are warned to weigh the pros and cons associated with eliminating the grandiose delusions, as elimination may result in severe depression.

Expansive delusions: In some cases, the grandiose delusions may be a byproduct of hallucinatory experiences.  In cases of schizophrenia, the delusions may not be mood-congruent, but may be related to the hallucination.  These are classified as “expansive” due to the fact that they expand upon the hallucination such as hearing voices.  An example would be a person experiencing paranoid schizophrenia and hearing a voice that tells them they are really Jesus Christ.

Mood-induced: Those with exaggerated emotions, such as an individual exhibiting bipolar mania may experience mood-induced delusions.  In this case, the delusions are thought to be a direct result of the person’s mood, and may serve to express the euphoria that the individual is feeling.  Someone experiencing grandiose delusions as a result of an inflated mood would be classified as exhibiting “mood-congruent” delusions.

Conditions associated with delusions of grandeur

There are a variety of psychiatric conditions associated with grandiose delusions.  Predominantly, delusions of grandeur are exhibited among individuals with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.  It is speculated that any conditions associated with mania (or hypomania) can induce delusions of grandeur.

Bipolar disorder: It is estimated that up to 3/5 individuals with bipolar disorder will experience delusions of grandeur.  Bipolar disorder is a condition characterized by transitions from a “high” mood (mania) to a low mood (depression).  During the manic phase, individuals may feel a heightened sense of self-worth accompanied by delusions of grandeur.

In the case of bipolar disorder, grandiose delusions are considered “mood-congruent delusions” in that they manifest from the manic (or hypomanic) state.  During manic or hypomanic phases, it is believed that brain activity changes, brain waves speed up, and neurotransmitter concentrations change; particularly levels of dopamine.

Delusional disorder: This is a psychiatric condition in which a person experiences delusions, but doesn’t have a mood disorder, psychosis, or a thought disorder.  Additionally, the individual experiences these delusions without consumption of alcohol or ingestion of drugs.  While not everyone with delusional disorder experiences delusions of grandeur, some individuals do.

Depression: Some individuals with major depressive disorder may end up experiencing delusions of grandeur.  In fact, an estimated 21% of those diagnosed with major depression are thought to experience grandiose delusions.  The grandiose delusions may be short-lived and/or related to neurochemistry and possibly medications.

Drug abuse: Those that abuse drugs may end up with delusions of grandeur as a result of drug-induced brain alterations.  Many drugs are capable of altering concentrations of neurotransmitters, regional activity, and receptor densities.  Long-term abuse may result in death of brain cells and/or a prolonged recovery period during which delusions of grandeur are experienced.

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD): This is a personality disorder characterized by an inflated sense of self-worth and/or feel inherently superior to others.  Not all individuals diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder experience delusions of grandeur.  Although many narcissists have grandiose fantasies or an obsession with power over others (megalomania) – this is not the same as a delusion.  That said, it is still possible for someone with a narcissistic personality to exhibit grandiose delusions.

Neurodegenerative diseases: Those with neurodegenerative diseases such as: Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and (a related condition) Wilson’s disease, may experience delusions of grandeur.  Although the percentage of individuals that experience grandiose delusions as a result of neurodegenerative diseases is relatively small, it can occur.  It is believed that circuitry damage, loss of brain volume, and neurotransmitter deficiencies play a role in causing these delusions among those with neurodegeneration.

PTSD: It is known that some people with PTSD experience manic and/or hypomanic symptoms that mimic those of bipolar disorder.  These manic and hypomanic symptoms are a result of an overactivated sympathetic nervous system in which the stimulatory response inhibits the body’s ability to relax (i.e. the parasympathetic nervous system).  It is already well-documented that psychotic symptoms (such as delusions) can manifest as a result of PTSD.  It is totally feasible for delusions of grandeur to occur among individuals diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Schizophrenia: It is estimated that up to 50% of all individuals with schizophrenia have experienced delusions of grandeur.  Schizophrenia is a condition characterized by loss of contact with reality.  Both hallucinations and delusions are characterized as positive symptoms of schizophrenia or experiences that don’t occur in normal, healthy individuals.

The delusions of grandeur experienced among those with schizophrenia are often related directly to the hallucinations that they report.  If they hear a voice (auditory hallucination) or see an entity (visual hallucination), they may claim that they just talked to Jesus Christ.  Of all diagnosable types of schizophrenia, delusions of grandeur tend to occur most frequently among those with paranoid schizophrenia.

A person with the paranoid subtype may believe that they are the CEO of a company, extremely rich, were sent on a special mission from Jesus Christ, is a celebrity, or ruler of a country.  The more common delusions of grandeur among those with paranoid schizophrenia tend to have religious themes.

Delusions of Grandeur Symptoms

Below is a list of symptoms associated with grandiose delusions.  Keep in mind that these are the symptoms as defined by the DSM-IV.

Grossly exaggerated belief of the following:

  1. Identity: Those with delusional grandiosity believe that everyone should know them and that they are famous.  They may expect complete strangers to recognize them publicly or friends to treat them special due to the fact that they’re famous.
  2. Knowledge: A person believes that they have more knowledge or insight than other people.  They may believe that they were blessed with this knowledge from a particular deity, or that they were born with genius level intelligence.
  3. Power: A person believes that they hold more power than others, even those in high ranking positions.  Those with power-based grandiose delusions may believe that they are the king of a particular country, the president, or CEO of a large corporation.  Some cases may involve the individual thinking that they possess supernatural powers such as the ability to change the weather with their thoughts.
  4. Self-worth: A person exhibits exaggerated self-worth, and believes that they are of higher rank or superior to others.  They may act as if they should be first-in-line at a restaurant or should be given top priority over others due to their high degree of worth.
  5. Relationship (to Iconic Entities): An individual believes that they are related to someone of celebrity status (e.g. the son of Brad Pitt) or is related to a deity (e.g. the son of Jesus Christ).  They may believe that they are related to famous people or are directly related to a spiritual leader.

Examples of delusions of grandeur

There are substantial differences in the degree of grandiosity linked with grandiose delusions in different patients.  The delusional perceptions may be directly related to cumulative environmental stimuli.  In other words, if a person watches a particular show a lot, they may think that they’re the host.  If a person reads books about presidents, they may believe that they are in charge of a particular country.

  • Celebrities: Some people may believe that they are famous celebrities such as actors, musicians, or TV show hosts.
  • CEO of a company: In other cases, a person may believe that they’re the CEO of a large corporation and that they have millions of dollars in their bank account.
  • Deities: Certain people may believe that they are a deity, sent from a deity to Earth with a special mission, or directly related to a deity.  A common example is when people think that they are Jesus Christ.
  • Fictional characters: A person may believe that they were blessed with the same powers as a comic book character like Superman or Batman.
  • Inventor: There have also been some cases in which people thought they were famous inventors (e.g. Thomas Edison).
  • Professional athlete: Some cases of grandiose delusions involve people believing that they are a professional athlete (e.g. Michael Jordan).
  • Royalty: Experiencing grandiose delusions may make someone believe that they are a famous king, queen, prince, or princess.  In other cases, a person may think that they just deserve to be treated like royalty.
  • Ruler: Someone may believe that they are the president or ruler of a particular country.

Who is most likely to experience delusions of grandeur?

Some data has been compiled in regards to which conditions are most associated with delusions of grandeur.  Understand that the list below does not include the percentage of individuals diagnosed with “delusional disorder.”

Mental Disorders

  • Bipolar disorder: (59%) Approximately 3/5 individuals with bipolar disorder are thought to experience delusions of grandeur.  There appears to be an association based on a person’s age.  Nearly 3/4 individuals under the age of 21 diagnosed with bipolar disorder experienced delusions of grandeur upon onset, while only 2/5 individuals over the age of 30 have this experience during onset of the disorder.
  • Schizophrenia: (49%) Nearly 1/2 individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia experience grandiose delusions.  These delusions are most likely to occur among those with the paranoid subtype of schizophrenia.
  • Drug abuse: (30%) Among those that have abused drugs, nearly 1/3 individuals has experienced delusions of grandeur.  These delusions may have occurred while intoxicated or upon discontinuation (withdrawal) from a particular drug.
  • Depression: (21%) Some statistics demonstrate that nearly 2/5 individuals with major depressive disorder may be prone to delusions of grandeur.  While it would seem unlikely that a person could feel an inflated sense of self worth during a depressive phase, it has been reported.
  • General population: (10%) Among the general population, it is thought that nearly 1/10 people experience thoughts of grandiosity, but these do not fit the DSM-IV criteria for delusions of grandeur.

Other Factors

In addition to specific mental illnesses, delusions of grandeur tend to be more likely based on socioeconomic status, educational advancement, marital status, and eldest siblings.

  • Socioeconomic status: Grandiose delusions with supernatural or religious themes tend to occur more often among those of high socioeconomic status.  Some reports suggest that all types of grandiose delusions are more likely to occur among individuals of higher social status.
  • Educational advancement: In addition to social status, delusions of grandeur were found to occur at greater rates based on educational advancement.  The more an individual has progressed through the educational system, the greater likelihood of grandiose delusions.
  • Marital status: Those who are single tend to experience grandiose delusions at a greater rate compared to those who are married or in relationships.
  • Older siblings: Research shows that the eldest siblings are most likely to experience grandiose delusions compared to the youngest ones.
  • Men vs. Women: Rates of grandiose delusions are thought to be equal based on sex (male vs. female).

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21482326
Source: http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/108/457/747

Delusions of Grandeur Treatment

Those that experience grandiose delusions may be treated with medication, therapy, and/or other medical intervention.  If there is a specific condition that is causing the delusions (e.g. Parkinson’s), steps are generally taken to treat that condition rather than the delusional symptoms.  Therapy is thought to be more effective for some individuals than others.

  • Antipsychotics: Among those with schizophrenia, antipsychotics may be the preferred option for treating delusions of grandeur.  These drugs work as dopamine antagonists, decreasing dopaminergic activation in the brain.  In many cases, these will simultaneously minimize both delusions and any associated hallucinations.
  • CBT: In some cases, CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy is used to help individuals cope with grandiose delusions.  In a therapy session, a psychotherapist may use a technique known as “inference chaining.”  This is a questioning tool that uses rationality and logic to help combat the delusional perception.  Another technique known as “thought linkage” involves a therapist continuously asking a patient to explain jumping from thought-to-thought.
  • Hospitalization: In cases where an individual may experience grandiose delusions as a result of drug abuse, hospitalization may be required to address physical symptoms.  During this time a professional psychotherapist may attempt to address some of the delusions that are experienced until the individual comes down from their “high.”
  • Mood stabilizers: Drugs that stabilize mood may be effective to treat delusions of grandeur among those with bipolar disorder.  An example of a mood stabilizer is that of Lithium – a drug that works to prevent manic highs and depressive lows.  By stabilizing the mood, an individual is less prone to experiencing mania induced grandiosity.
  • Treating underlying medical condition:  Any other medical condition such as a neurodegenerative disease, vitamin deficiency, tumor, or thyroid problem may contribute to delusions of grandeur.  Once the medical condition is effectively treated, the delusions generally subside.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10665619

Have you (or someone you know) experienced delusions of grandeur?

If you or someone you know has experienced delusions of grandeur, feel free to share the experience and/or observation in the comments section below.  Delusions of grandeur are the second most common type of delusion reported (to persecutory delusions), and thus are fairly common.  To help others get an idea of the experience, you could mention the specifics of the grandiose delusion (e.g. I was the King of England). Also mention what you think may have caused the delusion of grandeur and how it was treated or overcome.

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{ 33 comments… add one }
  • Dana June 29, 2018, 12:41 am

    My sister started using drugs in grade school. She is now in her 50’s. She has not held a job since her early 20’s. She has always lived with our parents. Now she is their caregiver. She is highly disorganized, leaves frequently when we are all together – for an hour or more.

    She believes she talks to dead people. Her stories about this are extensive and frequent. She has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and is on an antidepressant and on something like lithium. She has been in weekly counseling for over 6 months. I have not seen any changes.

    When she is with someone, she talks non-stop, dominates the conversation. It is exhausting to be around her. It is criminal that she is the caregiver for my parents but my parents lives have become her life as the years have gone by.

    Living in filth, sleeping until noon, staying up until 2 or 3am. I struggle so much being around her that I end up rarely seeing my parents. Any suggestions?

  • Brandon March 17, 2018, 9:40 pm

    The best way to get rid of delusions is to simply fight them. Humility is what’s needed for it. Also, some kind of success helps, too. You have to get out into the world and help people, if you want your delusions to go away. You have to force yourself to see the world as it is. Not how you want it to be.

    Generally, if you let yourself persist in a delusion, it will get to a point where you’ll be in a worse position for it. Maybe hospitalized, maybe an invalid. To get rid of delusions – this is the method I’m working on – is to reality check. Simply bring yourself to bear on the actual situation of your life, and don’t invent reasons for it.

    You need to understand that you ought not let someone persist in a delusion. Depression is part of the cure. You have to be depressed, otherwise you won’t get to the healing. Depression comes with any reality wake up call, and people with psychosis are not necessarily dangerous, but they’re dangerous to themselves. They self destruct, they look absolutely insane to those observing them.

    Frankly, I don’t know what happened to me recently, but I was persisting in some major delusions, and I just looked at my life, and said, “Nothing is working out the way I want them to.” That’s the reason.

    I have everyone in my life telling me my dreams aren’t good enough, and they’re trying to force me into positions that would debilitate me and aggravate my condition. You have to sometimes just realize the fact: Delusions suck, whatever probably sounds like it’s a science fiction or fantasy is.

  • Anika March 28, 2017, 9:07 pm

    I have a 24 year old adult son who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia as well as bi-polar disorder when he was a senior in high school. He was on meds, but is now off and is having delusions of grandeur about like @Littledragon comment. We want to get him back on the meds, but he refuses because although he realizes everyone thinks he’s crazy, he believes what he thinks, hears and sees.

    We can’t admit him to the brain research hospital because he is not suicidal or homicidal. Sometimes he makes scary cryptic remarks like he could just “go ape sh-t and take everyone out (not specific to whom)” or “start world war 3”, but follows with he doesn’t because he is a peaceful person “namaste” and is God as well as an alien here to protect the human race. Something big is going to happen and anyone around him will be protected.

    It feels like being held hostage our own home. I don’t want to call the Sheriff to come for him; that would easily turn into a very, very bad situation – likely him being shot dead. I don’t want to kick him to the streets; he wouldn’t survive the drugs or thugs. He doesn’t have any other family that could (or would) take him in to give us a break.

    But I also don’t want him living with us anymore. It’s so mentally and emotionally draining… And then I have to step back from my own feelings and try to grasp what it must be like for him knowing that no one really want’s him around. Life is crap…

    • Leslie June 8, 2017, 9:16 am

      I have no words of wisdom to share. Is he working or going to school? Perhaps you could help him find some theology or sociology class. Get him out of the house more often. Good luck.

  • Mary October 28, 2016, 3:56 pm

    I have a husband who decided he should have been a writer his whole life. He has worked I the financial area for many years but has had 2 episodes of losing his job. He is currently working and is making less money than he did 30 years ago. He says he can’t look for another job because he is 60 yrs old. He feels he will make it as a writer. He has self published 2 books which have cost us money. He has not broke even.

    Then last year he also decided to rent office space so he could write. And he has signed a 2 year lease. He took money out of his retirement for this.
    He did a film project two years ago and invested about 8k of his own money. He still has not put it out there and hopes to sell it. At times he is down. We have 4 older children and a grandchild. If I don’t reach out to spend time with them he doesn’t speak to them.

    Is always running to his office to write and talks about all his writing projects and how this is his talent. Tells me he meets these producers who tell him his writing is good. So I am concerned these are grandiose delusions. Any advice?

  • Kyle August 14, 2016, 6:45 am

    For months I’ve been battling this deep, unshakable and rather irrational belief that I was Kurt Cobain in a past life. I put a lot of energy in to rejecting the idea, but I tend to get these strange visions/sensations when I perform Nirvana songs. I also get a deeply disturbing sense of Déjà Vu and sadness/emptiness when I see his face.

    That’s about the only “proof” I have, and though I am aware of the truth, I’m unable to accept it. The logical conclusion (truth, if you will) is that I feel helpless and worthless – and as a result of this, my subconscious clings to a non-disprovable notion that would assign satisfactory value to my otherwise unbearably meaningless pain. It’s immensely painful to reject the idea, and immensely painful to accept the idea.

    I’m constantly at war with myself… even this comment has been very carefully worded to suggest the feasibility my belief, while justifying sanity by directly contradicting it. I can’t stand my own subjective perspective – I need to know how I appear to others. So please, someone, tell me how this looks to you, even if it sounds bloody ridiculous. It would mean a lot to me.

    • LJT September 6, 2016, 8:24 am

      You appear to me as a very intelligent and empathetic person. Your honesty has helped me – thank you. I share this in the hope that it will help normalize your feelings – I am also so conflicted about accepting or rejecting a self narrative that is non-disprovable, as you say. It is a comfort that also terrorizes. It is so hard. There is no knowing.

      Maybe you are Kurt Cobain reincarnated. Maybe you feel connected to him because you share a similar consciousness or experience. Maybe your brain has been traumatized and is building this beautiful escape path for you. It also seems to me that Kurt Cobain was married to a narcissist – which makes me wonder, especially because you seem so empathetic, if you have been traumatized by a narcissist – perhaps your mother?

      That could maybe be an explanation to your connection to Kurt and also the reason why you are feeling helpless and worthless. I could be way off here – so please take with a grain of salt. If it does resonate, being parented by a narcissist is very, very difficult to survive and overcome. It is very hard to even identify this dynamic when it is so close – especially if the narcissist is intelligent.

      It is confusing. Maybe your mind is trying to make sense of it all and has brought this connection into your consciousness so you can start to unravel the past. Or, maybe not. Peace to you on your journey.

  • Pretty August 4, 2016, 6:55 pm

    I’m not not sure if I suffer from the delusions but often when my mind is not occupied I would think that I lead a certain lifestyle not necessarily a celebrity but well of with everything I need. I am from an abusive background emotionally. I also believe I suffer from anxiety because I struggle with expressing myself even with people I know.

    I am known as the shy one but I hate this because I now struggle with public speaking and this becomes a problem during meetings. I’m not sure whether I’m shy or it is anxiety and delusions of grandiose. This has been going on for sometime and I struggle mostly with expressing my feelings and thoughts. I feel I will be judged should I say anything stupid. I need help.

  • Christine July 7, 2016, 3:01 pm

    I found out I am bipolar after taking an antidepressant. It made me “manic”. I believed I was Mary, the mother of GOD. And let me tell you, I really believed it. It’s crazy to feel that way.

  • Kaley June 10, 2016, 1:40 am

    My brother thinks he can talk to a Superior being or sometimes God. He used to never believe in God and in fact almost hated the thought of there being a God. Two days ago he disappeared with a very high minded superior Facebook status of saying good bye. He also claimed he had the highest knowledge of spirituality.

    He claimed no one else did that he could hear and talk to God and that he was going away to wait to hear from God. So in a way God has not talked to him yet. I guess. Any way I’ve literally tracked down every person he’s talked to, and no one knows where he is. He’s recently become a black belt in martial arts but has also in a way hit rock bottom in his life.

    But he’s also been talking about how he had been on the highness of life, even though his life wasn’t exactly what he had seen for himself. The black belt just recently happened but his life was way before that. He talks like he has been on this spiritual journey. But the other people in his group don’t talk the same way about it…

    Any way he is divorced, with one child, he’s 27, and he just loss a copious amount of weight from all “fasting” and martial arts and algae powdered drinks. There is a good amount of bipolar disorder in my family, but I also think my brother has a massive ego and constantly thinks he’s right. So it could be the narcissistic disorder, which really wouldn’t surprise me.

    But I really wish he didn’t runaway and leave his daughter who’s 7 years old behind, at any rate it’s probably best because if he’s sick then she shouldn’t be to close, but still close enough to know where he is at least… something… jerk.

  • Littledragon June 2, 2016, 7:29 pm

    I also experienced delusion of grandeur last year. I always spend my whole life alone with no friends to be with. When I am depressed of my life situation I take drugs to cope. Then the time came that I suddenly think about myself that I am special among the people. My ego has gone loose and think of myself as Christ.

    I also think that I came here for a purpose; to awaken the masses against the false sense of reality our governments and different institutions installed into our minds. That everyone else are living under the spell of social and cultural illusions. After months of believing myself that I am Christ I soon realized that maybe I am wrong.

    That maybe what I think as a mystical experience is just a psychic response to my overall mental problems. Because of my mental states I soon realized that some of my acquaintances are avoiding me and I become their laughingstock. Now that I am aware of my condition, I don’t know how to face the world and the people around me.

    Whenever some people that I know see me they already have the impression that I am crazy. Right now I don’t know how to start. I also have no job and no friends to ask for help. My family where also problematic that they will pay no attention to my problem.

    • Donna July 24, 2016, 6:12 pm

      Littledragon, You should be proud of yourself that you are aware of the issue and are overcoming it. Not ashamed. My husband has had this problem for nearly 20 years and cannot see it. Periods of stress and depression do him in. I am proud of you. Go talk to a counselor – and remember, you are not crazy if you know that you had a problem. You are crazy when you do not know you have a problem. God bless…and be strong. You deserve a good life.

    • Leslie June 8, 2017, 8:52 am

      Hi you have already taken a step towards mental health. You say you have no true friends. Don’t worry about what people think. You can’t change their minds only your own. I suggest that you find a local support group. Do not isolate yourself. Best of luck to you. Leslie

  • Anon May 17, 2016, 7:17 am

    Last year, December 2016, I had my first psychotic break during the time I became 21. It was actually a very strange experience because I didn’t know it was going on, until my girlfriend and sisters noticed something weird going on with me. I started to not make sense (I spoke in gibberish and/or analogies), spent time alone in the dark a lot, and had some wild delusions that the Freemasons made Jesus and I was some weird invention… oh and my dad was a Rockefeller and I had lots of money.

    Yeah. The strange thing I wanted to point out during my experience was that… I saw myself slowly eroding the more I did things for myself, I noticed myself losing touch. I couldn’t listen to the television, listen to the radio and etc. because I couldn’t stop focusing on symbolism and colors and feeling that people were talking about me. Although I was living in hell, I found art to be therapeutic; art (architecture, painting, etc.) and “life”.

    Long story short. After New Years hit, I began to recover. My delusions told me how something amazing was going to happen that night, but for me… I was getting away from those thoughts and I was celebrating with my girlfriend. I knew those thoughts were false, they were just overwhelming and confusing. From that day, I found on myself recovering.

    Right now, I’m totally okay… except I’m taking steps in order for me to not stress as much (changed ways I approached things (more open minded), school, working out, acceptant to opportunity, sleeping earlier, and etc.). P.S. I do have my depressed states, but it’s either because I’m determined and maybe have the lack of confidence or I feel guilty.

    P.P.S. I was never diagnosed because I approached, whatever, my way… but I advise you to speak to two or one people: someone you know who cares and willing to listen to your confusion that you’re willing to listen to and a doctor. You’re only going crazy if you give up on yourself. Don’t do it cuz this life is pretty awesome.

    • Heather Furby September 21, 2016, 2:54 pm

      I respect what sounds like your preference to stay away from the psychiatric system; but do suggest you have a plan in place in case you become unwell again (if, say, you have bipolar disorder and have (another) manic episode)…

  • Theo April 4, 2016, 12:04 am

    My best friend experienced delusions of grandeur. After reading this article I understand his form wasn’t even abnormal! He explained how he was going to be high up in the company Apple, and how he is going to fly to California (from the UK) he had been taken to the hospital and was diagnosed with bipolar. Pretty sad, but he’s okay got some medicine and should be out in the next couple days. Helpful article :). Theo

  • MONIQUE March 24, 2016, 6:37 pm

    I just found out my boyfriend is having grandeur delusions. He has dealt with some depression, but I’m not sure what to do at this point. I would like him to get blood work and probably an MRI to rule out all the other medical reasons besides mental illness someone could get these delusions.

    I don’t know If he will listen or even if he knows there’s a problem, but I know when he’s not going thru this he is an amazing person with a huge heart. Even if he has a mental illness of sorts like Bipolar or something he needs to get diagnosed and treated. It breaks me to see him like this.

  • jennifer March 6, 2016, 8:29 am

    My fiancee is experiencing severe delusions about religion. He spends days at a time reading the Bible, staring at the sun, praying, posting tons of things on FB that don’t even make sense. He believes he’s Jesus, but I got him to day “son of man” now instead of” the son of the most higher living God “.

    He says he’s going through a manifestation. He thinks he was put here to save the world. He’s obsessed with “the rich are gonna fall & the poor will rise”. He talks a lot about Bill Gates & other super rich people. Says he’s rich, when in fact, he’s broke. He hears nothing I say sometimes for days because he’s almost in a trance.

    I love him & he’s very kind & gentle with me. He doesn’t believe meds help him. I think he’s been like this since age 14. He’s 47 now. It’s never gone on this long. He’s been committed a few times but won’t stay on meds. Any advice so I can help him? Thank you.

    He also thinks he can give people eternal life, heal people & he tells this to strangers, always making scenes in public & will even go to random Churches & interrupt services or Sunday school classes & say things that make no sense to these people.

    • Leon July 23, 2016, 10:54 pm

      My mum used to do the same stuff as your fiancee did… She thinks she’s on a mission to rid the world of bad people and will constantly preach to people however it it was getting to a point where she was paranoid and thought that many people were evil and that god was telling her to follow the bad people and show them the right way… She would have arguments with random people on the street about religion, etc. It got too much for us so we took her into get help she is currently in hospital getting the help she needs. I suggest you seek help for him.

  • Michael March 1, 2016, 12:54 am

    Isn’t it fascinating that some of us get so wrapped up imagining being a great person? I have spent many months of my life quietly experiencing various renditions of “I am the reincarnation of King Tut/some Pharaoh’s sacrificed wife/Moses/Jesus’ brother/Van Gogh/Nostradamus/the soul of Carl Jung” or psychically connected to pop stars who aware of me, or trying to get in touch with me.

    I do not romanticize these states. They were lonely, isolating, and temporarily served as a viable, relieving alternative to feeling suicidal for multiple seasons at a time. Being grand felt like a necessity – my destiny. Now, after spending multiple years trying to integrate the energies I felt as a messiah-like person into everyday life, I still feel like a beginner is who is learning how to heal myself.

    I feel grateful to no longer be homeless, and to have learned that I needed to separate myself from my super-caustically-critical family. Having a history of repetitive neglect and abuse calls upon me to become the self-care warrior who can take responsibility for discovering the rhythms of what works best for me, feels good, and is sustainable. For me, a huge missing link to understanding a person who is so far on the inflated spectrum is the context of their relationships to family, significant others, culture, and the world.

    I am only getting better and have been able to become a therapist for others because of a gradual lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ong-term process of exposing my stories, my face, my contradicting emotions in accepting communities that value me as a whole. A significant part of this whole is my willingness to let others actually see me. I still have a lot of shame for being “powerful” or “not enough” or taking up space, but I am learning to let myself feel “big” and just right for merely being.

    And learning to be okay with makings mistakes. I have to go work now. Thanks for all who shared on this blog. If anyone else has imagined or currently knows that they are destined to be grand – or even the “grandest one ever” – and wants to share their experiences, feel free to send me a note to balancing resources at that place known as GMAIL.

    • Alireza February 5, 2017, 9:27 pm

      I have the same problem. I write sometimes. I work and no one can notice my internal world. It happened during a day I blocked the delusional ideas repeating to myself “IT’S A DELUSION” several times. And sometimes I give up. I say to myself “just let it be, swallow the delusions” and sometimes I forget I’m giving up.

      I never dared telling any one, mainly because I don’t have any one intimate enough. I several times tried to start writing a fiction about my delusions. My delusions are so weird and mostly aroused from my dreams. I just need someone to talk to. I know my delusions have no root in reality that’s why I cannot share them with anybody.

  • Zacharie December 15, 2015, 7:10 am

    I’m not sure if what’s up with me is the same as this, but I’ll take a shot anyways. I’m always thinking I’m a video game character; specifically Zacharie from OFF. I rarely have moments of clarity where I realize that I’m an actual human and not this character. I’m always commenting with strange things such as “Too bad this is just a video game” or “I’m the merchant! A very important character, oui?”

    My family usually catches me in this state of half reality and half IRL, and my friend has helped me keep it under control a bit? (I’ve been in a few abusive relationships, was almost raped once, and I was bullied until I couldn’t go to school. This game was my only comfort for a long time and over time this started happening. Possibly those contribute to the issue?)

    • PARANOID ALWAYS September 12, 2016, 1:16 am

      I have no idea if this could be considered a delusion considering your awareness. I’m no doctor, but perhaps reaching out to a doctor would be beneficial. Not just for medication. They may also help you develop more reality driven coping mechanisms for your childhood pain.

      Being aware of the problem is half the battle, but at times, I wonder if it’s easier for the people who are truly delusional? They don’t have to consider illness as an option, which sounds like less pressure. But I’m not a doctor, nor will I pretend to understand. Best of luck.

      Sorry to hear about your past, thats incredibly rough. You have an entire world of support though. Even the shiestiest of criminals and lowlifes will rarely validate that sort of behavior. You didn’t deserve it.

  • Wendy December 1, 2015, 12:06 am

    This is the first time that I have read that something related to my lovely daughter. I have had ten years of it and don’t know what to do or where to turn. I don’t have any relatives, so dread if any thing were to happen to me… she won’t seek any help as she doesn’t think anything is wrong.

    • PARANOID ALWAYS September 12, 2016, 1:10 am

      How old is she? When these delusions start forming, its nearly impossible for the sufferer to realize that something is amiss. This seems especially true in adolescents and young adults, who do not have enough life experience to measure their delusions against.

      My delusions are persecutory, but this fact still applied for me. I remember my first delusion was so menacing and real, that a police report of a ‘suspicious individual hiding in backyards’ was the only thing responsible for kick starting my treatment.

      The police found me, and through whatever bureaucratic process, had me admitted to a psych ward. That sort of reality check can really turn a persons mind around. At least now Im aware there is an illness present.

      Admitting a person against their will is an ugly, ugly reality. But its only a couple weeks. If you can at least convince her to see a doctor, he may find it beneficial to her safety to put her on 72 hour psychiatric hold.

  • Chuck_1919 October 6, 2015, 9:00 pm

    I believe I might be suffering from this disorder as well. I come from an abusive family, and suffered 2 physically/emotionally abusive relationships in the last 5 years. Brain injury is more than likely, and I’m scared to go into the hospital because I don’t know what it will feel like getting the help I need. I don’t understand what’s going on with how my head feels, nor how my social behavior has been – I feel it’s very out of character for me.

    There is a silver lining throughout all of this though, and that is, that I am aware. I hope I can get the proper help I really need. I have two children and they need me to be there for me as much as I can, and dealing with this is not in our best interest… Guess I will have to fight the fear and do what needs to be done, and seek help. I just don’t want to feel judged :(.

    • Chitra Perez November 10, 2015, 12:25 am

      Chuck please for the sake of your children, go talk to a doctor/psychologist and let it take you from there. You may still be young enough that the suspected condition, or whatever it is, can be managed, with any of the many treatments available – even if it’s just counseling. Opening up and communicating is the first step. Please do it.

      I work as a carer in Aged Mental health, and we see the tail end of these sufferers, and it is very very sad. As for being judged (I assume you refer here to friends and family), those who truly care for you will take the journey with you, they will learn with you, and not judge you. I wish you all the very best.

  • Don October 5, 2015, 2:07 pm

    I’m pretty sure my wife is suffering from delusions of grandeur. She is convinced she has special psychic powers that only a handful of people in the world are capable of understanding. She feels like she is constantly “clearing” the space around others and takes in their negative emotions and clears them like a human filter.

    She says the invisible work she does is draining and is something she has no choice in doing. She says she’s traveled through time and space and has experienced past lives. She has said for years she’s going to write a book and share this with others and it could change the world but never does anything with it. She wants to divorce and take half the money from our 401k and go live on her own so she can concentrate on her consciousness work.

    She’s left before and lived in a mountain cabin to work on this for almost a year with nothing to show for it. I’m pretty sure nothing will happen this time again and will just got through our money. We care for each other deeply and have been married 25 years. She seems perfectly normal in other ways except she keeps to herself and has no local friends. I’m her sole source of most human interaction besides our daughter who lives in another state. She hasn’t worked in years, suffers from self esteem and depression.

    It has become very difficult to live with her and has become a “can’t live with her, can’t live without her”. I don’t know what to do. Should I just let her go and let her hit rock bottom? She won’t go a see a counselor because they won’t understand her and she knows so much more of the big picture that they do. Any advice out there?

    • Don October 24, 2015, 3:45 pm

      Wow that’s crazy Don, we have the same name, almost same story, and same dead end question. Yes, can’t live or without situation… Let them go, she’s not fit to survive…stick around”!?);:/(?!!

      My advice: lesson repeats as needed. Rarely… People change. People don’t change. I let my ex-wife go, but I am still checking up on her. Never ends, until someone else can do what you did for her. Sending you good vibes, Don

      P.S. Do fill me in. Good luck.

    • Edna January 12, 2016, 4:28 pm

      Don, sorry to hear about your wife. While she won’t see anyone, are you? What does your support system look like? Have you talked to anyone about her mental illness & you option regarding her mental health. In the old days family mentals could force the mentally ill into therapy. What will happen to her if something happens to you? My prayers are with both of you.

    • Tamara January 27, 2017, 8:34 am

      Hi Don, your wife is sick – mentally ill. My ex suffered from paranoid schizophrenia (diagnosed) and had many of the same symptoms as your wife. When on anti-psychotic meds he was “normal”. When off he was delusional. He wouldn’t stay on his meds and it disrupted our relationship. He too would “disappear” to our other home which was a cabin in a small town hidden away.

      Why are you co-dependent? Were either of your parents alcoholics or suffered from mental or other illness. These people don’t get better. Don’t you want to be married to a “normal”, healthy person like yourself? You need to ask yourself these questions. Your wife most likely is either Paranoid Schizophrenic or has Bi-Polar disorder. She needs meds.

      9 times out of ten they don’t want our help and we become “The Enemy” because they don’t think they are sick. For YOUR health and well-being RUN Away as fast as you can and don’t look back. Your wife is sick and it is usually progressive. My husband lives in that cabin and is a recluse and hasn’t shaved or bathed in years and is malnourished. Our son and his brother brings him food and had pays for his utilities. FYI…

      • DJ March 23, 2017, 5:52 pm

        Wow, Don, that sounds like my ex. We had been together for 13+ years when, about 5 years ago, she got into the occult through Tarot, graduating up to hardcore stuff (Satanic Bible, homemade Ouija board, etc.). Over the past couple of years, she became convinced that she is a real witch with real powers.

        Over time she began seeing visions during meditations or when we would visit certain places (i.e., seeing dark spirits standing around Indian ruins in broad daylight when we visited Arizona two years ago). Over time, she became much more distant and preoccupied with her “studies” in the occult. She would want me to leave the house so she cold “meditate.”

        Up until about three months ago, she was going to a professional Tarot-reader’s class, but she stopped going because she was hearing the voice of her “spiritual father” yelling “bullsh-t” in her ear whenever the instructor was teaching. Her knowledge had outstripped that of the professional, she said. Two months ago I came home to find her in tears because in one of her visions, she realized that she, her parents and I were all together in a past life and her parents and I died there trying to save her.

        That was the last time I saw her cry; right after that, she became super distant, stopped laughing, and became really un-empathetic (to the point of saying that, if she were queen of the world, she would eliminate 90% of the people in it because they are useless). A couple of weeks after that, I came home to find her with a totally flat affect; when I asked her whether she didn’t love me anymore, she said: “I believe that to be true,” in this imperious voice.

        I left, and the next day she called me back home to tell me she had awakened to the sound of voices saying “time to come home,” accompanied by the sight of three “beings” ripping the soul of a warrior goddess from her body. This warrior goddess was, of course, the main mother goddess of the entire pantheon. As I stood in silence processing this, she said, “can you hear me?” to which I replied, “yes,” thinking she was talking to me. But she said, “not you,” and then began having a conversation with something that I could not see regarding getting her soul back.

        Again, she ordered me to leave the house. I did, very afraid for her (and us). Shortly thereafter, she OD’ed on booze and Ambien and was hospitalized and held for psychiatric evaluation. The diagnoses was “Psychosis-unspecified,” and doctors wanted to hold her longer, but her family wanted her out, and she seemed perfectly normal by that time, so out she got into the care of her mother, who has been staying with her.

        Three weeks ago, she texted me a message out of the blue as though she never left me. But then yesterday, when I texted her because I need to make arrangements to move the last of my belongings out of her house (I’m out for good next week), she told me to stay away and had changed the locks on the doors. She assures me she will see that the movers get all my stuff. We will see.

        I’m really, really concerned for her. I’m not sure whether this is schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder — she is a statistician M-F and is very high-functioning except for this — but I’m terrified that I’ll see her homeless living under an overpass in a year or two if she doesn’t get treatment. (According to her mom, she is not getting treatment, even though she agreed to do so when we got her from the hospital.)

        Any advice is appreciated. I’m going through a tremendous array of feelings that I can’t deal with all at once: heartbreak (of losing the relationship with her), grief (because I feel like the woman I knew and loved is gone forever), guilt and anger at myself (because I feel like I somehow caused this by working 80-100 hour weeks at my job and not seeing the signs and by being a source of stress generally), and false hope (that she will somehow snap out of this and realize that she made a mistake).

  • CrazyGirl1960 June 8, 2015, 6:43 pm

    I don’t know if what I experience is delusions of grandeur, or true communication with God. I talk to God every day, and what is so remarkable is that He talks back! He talks back to me personally, out of prayer books and Catholic magazines mostly, but He’s not limited to those. He talks to me every day, interactively, at least once a day. I’m the most blessed person in the world and I don’t deserve Him.

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