What is descent madness?The descent delusion is a content form of the delusional symptomatology. Patients are convinced that they are descended from aristocratic groups or other groups of higher value.
The delusion is a symptom in the field of psychiatric disorders. Delusions, for example, indicate illnesses such as schizophrenia, but may also be related to mania, depression or dementia. The delusional symptoms can be different in content. For example, religious delusion is relatively common.
Another and much rarer content form of the delusional symptomatology is the so-called descent delusion. The patient is convinced to be related to a historical person or otherwise of high birth. In the 20th century, the delusion of delusion seems to be returning among the delusional symptoms. According to investigations by Scharfschetter and Steinebrunner, younger men are more frequently affected by the symptoms.
Avenarius, on the other hand, assumes an increased disease risk for the female sex. The descent is described by many scientists as a sub-form of megalomania. In this context, those affected deny their own descent in order to assign a descent of greater importance.
The parental delusion may refer to current living persons or groups of people, to already faded rulers or other power groups of the past or to occupational groups such as priesthoods and coven.
Within the group of delusional symptoms there are mutual correlations with often similar primary causes. With the delusions of delusion, especially megalomania and religious delusion are often mentioned in the same breath. Like religious delusion, the delusion of delusion is especially common as a symptom of paranoid schizophrenia. Different explanatory approaches to the cause of the delusional symptoms exist.
Avenarius explains the ancestral delusion with cultural-historical contexts and points out that the descent has always played a crucial role in the living standards of the individual. Pfeiffer is of the opinion that the problem of identity of the schizophrenic finds expression in the descent of descent. Control needs come to the satisfaction of believing in the lineage of different power groups.
Even feelings of fear can be compensated in the descent of descent, since belonging to a strong and powerful group can provide security and protection. It is also important that patients with schizophrenia often live socially isolated. As humans, they nevertheless experience a need for belonging that can be satisfied within the framework of the delusion of descent.
Symptoms, complaints & signs
Often, patients with a delinquent obsession are firmly and unwaveringly convinced that they do not belong to their parents. They believe that the names in their papers are wrong and assume that they have been foisted on their alleged parents. Many of those affected are convinced that they will eventually be accepted into their true position.
They often start from a particular event or difficulty that has brought them to their true identity and standard. Like religious delusion, the parental delusion is in most cases associated with ego-syntonia. Those affected consider their true descent identity-determining and refuse to recognize their delusion as such. Despite a number of counter-evidence, those affected consider their delusional behavior to be consistent and correct.
In most cases, the delusion refers to aristocratic groups or ruling groups. In some cases, celebrities or groups of workers, such as priests, may also be members of the membership group. The parental delusion is characterized by symptoms of megalomania and is therefore often treated as a subset of these delusional symptoms.
Diagnosis & History
The psychotherapist or psychiatrist diagnoses a delusional symptom by means of ICD-10. The delusion of delusion is to be distinguished within the framework of the diagnosis of related delusions. In addition, the disease for which the delusion is symptomatic is determined.
In most cases, this is a paranoid schizophrenia, which was sometimes diagnosed before the delusion diagnosis. In some case reports, however, is also the descent delusion as the first symptom of the speech. The prognosis of the delusional symptomatology differs from case to case. Since there is usually ego-syntony for the delusional thought contents, there are usually unfavorable treatment and healing prospects.
Since the delusion of descent is a purely psychological problem, psychic side effects and complications occur in particular. In most cases, the delusion of delusion automatically leads to a loss of reality. The patient can no longer properly assess his own life and actions.
This also has a negative effect on friends and on the partner and can destroy the relationship with these people. Often the descent is thereby only exacerbated. Due to the descent of delusion arises for the patient a generally aggressive behavior towards the parents. Often occur in addition to the symptom also panic attacks or paranoia.
Everyday life can no longer be mastered for the person affected. Often, the job can no longer be visited. Due to the delusion of descent, the patient completely steals from reality and loses the connection to any important person. The treatment is carried out by a psychologist.
In most cases, antidepressants are used to control the descent delusion. Success in treatment can not be guaranteed, as it depends on the personal attitude of the person concerned. With a strong delusion of descent, the patient can also be admitted to a closed clinic. This happens especially when the person becomes aggressive.
When should you go to the doctor?
Since descent delusion belongs to the delusional disorders of schizophrenic form, he usually does not appear alone. Friends and relatives of an affected person will also notice other psychic abnormalities that something is wrong with him. The earlier a doctor's appointment is possible, the better it is for the person affected. However, it is important to distinguish what is genuine delusion and what is just mental games.
A patient with a genealogical delusion not only plays with the idea of descending from important people, he really believes in this theory and may even name a person from whom he believes to be descended. If this is the case, a psychiatrist should be consulted unless there is evidence to suggest that the suspicion might be true.
Whether there is a delusion of descent and which underlying mental illness it is related to, only a doctor can tell. If the person concerned is interested in investigations that put him in danger as he stalks alleged relatives or threatens them, even a hospital stay can make sense.
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Treatment & Therapy
Patients with descent believe that their delusions are a natural part of their personality. The descent of a higher group is perceived as identity-forming. For this reason, the treatment is difficult. If they gave up their delusion, they would subjectively give up part of their personality. Since those affected are hardly able to see their illness, many of the conventional psychotherapies fail.
The first treatment step is in the regular therapy namely the insight and acceptance of the disease. The patients are mostly treated conventionally with medication for their underlying disease. The administration of antipsychotics in many cases has at least temporarily reduced all symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia in the past. With the decrease in the individual symptoms, the delusional symptoms of the patients also improved.
On the other hand, more severe cases are known in which, despite drug treatment no decline in the symptoms could be observed. In such treatment-resistant cases is often a supportive therapy in the focus, which should increase the quality of life of those affected. Measures such as exercise in the fresh air and other structuring measures of everyday life were in individual cases associated with an improvement in the causative disease and thus also an improvement in the delusional symptoms.
Outlook & Forecast
Due to the delusions of descent, it usually comes to severe mental health problems and problems. The patient can sometimes no longer act properly independently. Often social contacts are broken off and severely restricted.
The delusion can also manifest itself in an aggressive attitude towards other people. It comes to delusions and thus depressive moods of the patient. Not infrequently, the mental symptoms also have a negative effect on the general health of the patient, so that there may be a lack of sleep or malnutrition. This weakens the body and makes the patient vulnerable to various infectious diseases and inflammation. The quality of life is greatly reduced by the delusion of descent.
In most cases, the treatment of descent mania proves difficult and therefore lasts for a relatively long time. Many patients do not recognize the disease directly, which leads to a delayed diagnosis. Often therefore also drugs are used in the treatment. In severe cases, the patient must be hospitalized. Even after treatment, the descent can occur again and lead to the same symptoms.
The delusion of descent can be prevented only to the extent that diseases such as paranoid schizophrenia must be prevented. Since genetic factors also play a role in schizophrenia in addition to cultural and social factors, full prevention is hardly conceivable.
It is debatable whether the descent is completely cured. Rather, cases are known after the typical symptoms have recurred after some time. Basically, aftercare is less about preventing recurrence. Rather, the therapy aims to prevent complications from occurring.
Depending on the severity, this may require a long-term treatment. In addition to psychotherapy, doctors usually arrange a drug treatment. The descent leads to a denial of the closest family members and friends. These sometimes also suffer from the situation. Intact relationships are thus destroyed, even if there is no diagnosis.
The aftercare takes the patient seriously. If she questioned the patient's thoughts, it would break off the conversation. The aftercare therefore tries to accept the specific reality. It should be noted that patients are not exposed to stress. It leads to anxiety and delusional states.
Sometimes the symptoms even increase to an aggressiveness. Physical violence against yourself and others is possible. The peculiarity of the disease means that especially the mental balance suffers. Psychotherapeutic treatment requires a lot of time and stamina.
You can do that yourself
A challenge for self-help is that the person concerned does not consider the delusion of delusion as delusion, but considers it to be reality. Patients, however, can generally develop a disease insight that paves the way in everyday life.
In this case, it makes sense to identify individual warning signs with the aid of a psychotherapist or psychiatrist. If the patient discovers such a warning sign in everyday life, he should check carefully whether it is z. For example, thinking about a realistic idea or perhaps the delusion behind it.
The parental delusion usually manifests itself not isolated, but usually shows as a symptom of paranoid schizophrenia. Because of this, sufferers can also learn about the general self-help options that may be considered in schizophrenia. Since stress can aggravate the symptoms or trigger more severe episodes, general stress prevention is also an option in better stages of the disease.
Schizophrenics with ancestral delusions sometimes deny their actual family. For relatives, this situation can be very stressful. However, they should not redirect this burden to the patient, but should themselves develop appropriate coping strategies. Self-help groups for relatives can alleviate the burden in many cases. If family members are suffering from the difficult situation (and for other reasons as well), they should also consider having their own psychotherapy.