From PsychonautWiki
(Redirected from Delusion)
Jump to: navigation, search

Delusions are the experience of spontaneously occurring incorrect beliefs that are held with strong conviction despite evidence to the contrary, rational argument and a prior knowledge of what is generally accepted as reality.

In the context of psychoactive substances, many hallucinogens can induce delusions as temporary perspectives which one may slip into during high dosage experiences. They are most likely to occur during states of memory suppression and share many common themes and elements with clinical schizophrenia. In most cases, these delusions can be broken out of when appropriate evidence is provided to the contrary or when the person has sobered up enough to logically analyse the situation.


Delusions are typically categorized into four different groups:

  • Bizarre delusion: This is a delusion that is very strange and completely implausible. An example of a bizarre delusion could be the belief that aliens have removed the delusional person's brain.[1]
  • Non-bizarre delusion: This is a delusion that, though false, is at least possible. An example of this could be the belief that the delusional person is currently under police surveillance.[2]
  • Mood-congruent delusion: This is any delusion with content consistent with either a depressive or manic state. For example, a depressed person may believe that a news anchors on television highly disapproves of them or a person or that the world is ending. However, a manic person might believe that they are a powerful deity, that they have special talents or abilities, or are a famous person.[3]
  • Mood-neutral delusion: This is a delusion that does not relate to the sufferer's emotional state. For example, a belief that an extra limb is growing out of the back of one's head would likely be neutral to a persons depression or mania.[4]


In addition to these categories, delusions often manifest according to a wide variety of themes. Although delusions can have any theme, certain themes are more common. Some of the more common delusional themes which are induced by psychoactive substances are described and documented below:

Delusion of reference

Delusions of reference are perhaps the most common type of delusion. They typically entail falsely held beliefs that insignificant remarks, events, coincidence, or objects in one's environment have personal meaning or significance that relates directly back to the person's life.

  • Believing that everyone on a passing bus is talking about them
  • Believing that people on television or radio are talking about or talking directly to them
  • Believing that headlines or stories in newspapers are written especially for them
  • Believing that events (even world events) have been deliberately contrived for them, or have special personal significance for them
  • Believing that the lyrics of a song are specifically about them
  • Believing that the normal function of cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices are sending secret and significant messages that only they can understand or believe.
  • Believing that objects or events are being set up deliberately to convey a special or particular meaning to themselves
  • Believing that the slightest careless movement on the part of another person has a significant and deliberate meaning
  • Believing that posts on social network websites or Internet blogs have hidden meanings pertaining to them.

Delusion of sobriety

This is the false belief that one is perfectly sober despite obvious evidence to the contrary such as severe cognitive impairment and an inability to fully communicate with others.

Delusion of control

This is a false belief that another person, group of people, or external force controls one's general thoughts, feelings, impulses, or behaviour.

Delusion of death

This is a false belief that one is about to die, is currently dying, does not exist or has already died.

Delusion of guilt or sin (or delusion of self-accusation)

This is an ungrounded feeling of remorse or guilt of delusional intensity in which one believes that they have committed some sort of unethical act.

Delusion of mind being read

This is the false belief that other people can know one's thoughts.

Delusion of mind being controlled

This is the false belief that a separate entity of some sort is controlling one's thoughts and/or actions.

Delusion of thought insertion

This is the belief that another thinks through the mind of the person. This results in the person becoming unable to distinguish between their own thoughts and those "inserted" into their minds.

Delusion of reality

This is the delusion that something which is actually fictitious is real and either has occurred, is going to occur or is currently occurring. The most common example of this is the belief that a television show, video or a movie which one is watching is a real event that is currently happening within the room and is not just a video.

Grandiose delusion

This is the belief that the affected person is a god or chosen to act as a god. An individual can become convinced they have special powers, talents, or abilities. Sometimes, the individual may actually believe they are a famous person or character such as Jesus Christ.

Delusion of transcendence

This is the belief that one has permanently transcended to a higher plane of dimensional existence as a result of high dosage hallucinogen use. It can also manifest itself as thinking that one has discovered the secret to "transcending" and that they will be able to implement it just as soon as they sober up. Once this occurs, however, the secret is found to be nonsensical or incorrect.

Delusions of enlightenment

This is the belief that one has solved a difficult problem or answered a profound question which is important to the "enlightenment" of the person experiencing it or humanity as a whole.

Psychoactive substances

Compounds within our psychoactive substance index which may cause this effect include:

Experience reports

Anecdotal reports which describe this effect within our experience index include:

See also


  1. " |
  2. " |
  3. " |
  4. " |