Delusions may be as minor as an untrue belief, or as major as a state of psychosis, or mental illness. If your friend or loved one believes in something false to the marrow of his bones, he could be experiencing a severe delusion. Rescuing someone from this state of mind is a delicate process. They can sometimes be symptomatic of a larger midlife crises, or even schizophrenia. Proceed with care and caution before seeking to break a delusional belief.
Attempt nothing without first alerting a medical professional. Delusions could signify a legitimate psychiatric disorder, and the wrong move could aggravate the condition. Inform a doctor about her symptoms and the nature of her delusions.
Determine the types of delusion he is experiencing. Those with jealous delusions can accuse loved ones of adultery, whereas erotomanics believe that a celebrity is in love with them. Persecutory delusions are marked by a belief of being mistreated or spied on, and can often come with multiple attempts to contact legal authorities.
Encourage him not to act on his delusions until he has talked them through with a professional. Delusional behavior can incite legal issues and violent behavior, both of which can make help more difficult to come by.
Gently inform her about your concern for her mental well-being. Recommend that she get some help from a professional, and offer to go along with her. Reassure her that you are legitimately listening to her beliefs and not dismissing them. Communicate your understanding that a disconnect might exist between reality and her thoughts. We all disengage with the here and now at certain points in our lives, and it's at those times that we need counseling and assistance. Letting her know you're by her side will encourage her to cooperate with you, making it easier to get her the help she needs.
Jeffrey Norman has been writing professionally since 2005. His work has been published in such journals as the "Leland Quarterly" and on the blog, An Apple A Day. Norman earned a Bachelor of Arts in literature and creative writing from Stanford University.
John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images