Mental Health and Delusional Disorder
How Is Delusional Disorder Treated? continued...
The primary medications used to attempt to treat delusional disorder are called anti-psychotics. Drugs used include:
- Conventional anti-psychotics: Also called neuroleptics, these have been used to treat mental disorders since the mid-1950s. They work by blocking dopamine receptors in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter believed to be involved in the development of delusions. Conventional anti-psychotics include Thorazine, Loxapine, Prolixin, Haldol, Navane, Stelazine, Trilafon, and Mellaril.
- Atypical anti-psychotics: These newer drugs appear to be effective in treating the symptoms of delusional disorder with fewer side effects than the older typical anti-psychotics. They work by blocking dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is another neurotransmitter believed to be involved in delusional disorder. These drugs include Risperdal, Clozaril, Seroquel, Geodon, and Zyprexa.
- Other medications: Tranquilizers and antidepressants might also be used to treat delusional disorder. Tranquilizers might be used if the person has a very high level of anxiety and/or problems sleeping. Antidepressants might be used to treat depression, which often occurs in people with delusional disorder.
People with severe symptoms or who are at risk of hurting themselves or others might need to be hospitalized until the condition is stabilized.
What Are the Complications of Delusional Disorder?
- People with delusional disorder might become depressed, often as the result of difficulties associated with the delusions.
- Acting on the delusions also can lead to violence or legal problems; for example, a person with an erotomanic delusion who stalks or harasses the object of his or her delusion, could lead to arrest.
- Further, people with this disorder can eventually become alienated from others, especially if their delusions interfere with or damage their relationships.
What Is the Outlook for People With Delusional Disorder?
The outlook for people with delusional disorder varies depending on the person, the type of delusional disorder, and the person's life circumstances, including the availability of support and a willingness to stick with treatment.
Delusional disorder is typically a chronic (ongoing) condition, but when properly treated, many people with this disorder can find relief from their symptoms. Some people recover completely and others experience episodes of delusional beliefs with periods of remission (lack of symptoms).
Unfortunately, many people with this disorder do not seek help. It often is difficult for people with a mental disorder to recognize that they are not well. They also might be too embarrassed or afraid to seek treatment. Without treatment, delusional disorder can be a life-long illness.
Can Delusional Disorder Be Prevented?
There is no known way to prevent delusional disorder. However, early diagnosis and treatment can help decrease the disruption to the person's life, family, and friendships.