Delusions are false beliefs that a person has and most people from the same culture would agree that they are wrong.
Even when the wrongness of the belief is explained, a person with delusions is convinced that they are true. For example, a person with schizophrenia who experiences delusions may believe such things as:
- Neighbours are spying on them with cameras in every room; or
- A famous person is in love with them; or
- People are plotting to kill them; or
- There is a conspiracy about them.
These are only a few examples, and delusions can be about anything.
This means hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, or tasting things that are not real. Hearing voices is the most common. Some people with schizophrenia hear voices that provide a running commentary on their actions, argue with them, or repeat their thoughts. The voices often say things that are rude, aggressive, and unpleasant, or give orders that must be followed. Some people with schizophrenia appear to talk to themselves as they respond to the voices. People with schizophrenia believe that the hallucinations are real.
Thoughts may become jumbled or blocked. Thought and speech may not follow a normal logical pattern. For example, some people with schizophrenia have one or more of the following:
- Thought echo. This means the person hears his or her own thoughts as if they were being spoken aloud.
- Knight’s-move thinking. This means the person moves from one train of thought to another that has no apparent connection to the first.
- Some people with schizophrenia may invent new words (neologisms), repeat a single word or phrase out of context (verbal stereotypy), or use ordinary words to which they attribute a different, special meaning (metonyms).
Symptoms called disorders of thought possession may also occur. These include:
- Thought insertion: the person believes that the thoughts in their mind are not their own and that they are being put there by someone else.
- Thought withdrawal: the person believes that their thoughts are being removed from their mind by an outside agency.
- Thought broadcasting: the person believes that their thoughts are being read or heard by others.
- Thought blocking: the person experiences a sudden interruption of the train of thought before it is completed, leaving a blank. The person suddenly stops talking and cannot recall what he or she has been saying.