Grandiose delusions

What Are Grandiose Delusions?

Grandiose delusions are often referred to as delusions of grandeur. These are false, fixed beliefs held by an individual that they possess superior traits such as wealth, fame, and prominent social standing. Grandiose delusions are typically associated with schizophrenia, but can also be found in other mental health disorders. These can include individuals with bipolar or psychotic disorders, as well as in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

What Causes Grandiose Delusions?

There are several contributing factors to developing delusions of grandeur. Delusions are often difficult to associate with one particular cause. There are several ideas on what may cause grandiose delusions including:

  • Mental disorders such as bipolar or schizophrenia
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Drug and/or alcohol abuse
  • Problems with brain receptors
  • Brain injuries to the frontal or temporal lobe
  • Withdrawal from certain medications such as some used to treat Parkinson’s disease
  • Inflammation of the brain
  • Abnormally high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine

Symptoms of Grandiose Delusions

Grandiose delusions hold the false belief that something is adamantly true. Common types of delusions of grandeur include false beliefs about:

  • Personal Identity: The belief a person holds that they are famous or important and everyone should love and respect them. They might expect people to treat them differently because they believe they’re famous.
  • Power: The belief a person holds that they hold some position of power. They may think they are the president, king or queen, or CEO of a large corporation.
  • Knowledge: The belief a person holds that they contain more knowledge than other people. They might believe that they are a genius or they were blessed with great knowledge from God or a deity.
  • Relationship: The belief a person holds that they are directly related to someone famous such as an actor, or a deity such as Jesus.


Conditions Associated with Grandiose Delusions

There are several conditions associated with grandiose delusions. These include the following:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major Depressive disorder
  • Drug abuse
  • Delusional disorder
  • Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Narcissism
  • Schizophrenia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Treatment for Grandiose Delusions

People who experience grandiose delusions can be treated in a variety of different ways. The cause typically determines treatment, and can include the following:

Medication: Antipsychotics are the most preferred method of medication treatment for those who suffer from grandiose delusions caused by schizophrenia. Antidepressants may be prescribed to those suffering from depression. Mood stabilisers such as lithium can also help treat grandiose delusions.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT has shown to help treat people who experience grandiose delusions. It is used to help a person fight delusions by using rational thinking. It also helps a person to identify the thoughts that lead to delusions of grandeur.

Hospitalisation: When a person experiences grandiose delusion because of drug abuse, hospitalisation is often used to address the symptoms a person is experience. They may be given medication to help stabilise mood until they’ve gone through the phases of withdrawal.

Frequently Asked Questions about Grandiose Delusions

What does grandiose mean?

Grandiosity typically refers to an unrealistic feeling or belief or superiority.

What are delusions?

Delusions are false beliefs held by an individual that they adamantly believe despite evidence that proves they are not real.

What is a delusional disorder?

Delusional disorder is a mental illness where a person has delusions without accompanying hallucinations, mood disorder, or thought disorder.

External Links

Delusions of Grandeur: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Mental Health Daily

A randomized controlled trial of cognitive-behavioral therapy for persistent symptoms in schizophrenia resistant to medication, Sensky T1, Turkington D, Kingdon D, Scott JL, Scott J, Siddle R, O’Carroll M, Barnes TR., PubMed

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