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Delusions and Paranoia | Common Signs

  • Believes that others are stealing money or other belongings
  • Believes that uninvited people have been in their home (or are on their way)
  • Believes that people who are on TV are actually in the room
  • Believes that deceased family members are actually still alive
  • believes that they live somewhere else (e.g. asks to go "home")
  • Thinks inanimate objects (like dolls or figurines) are real
  • Speaks of news events as if they have a direct effect on him/her (e.g. when the convenience store was robbed at knifepoint, they believe that they were the one who was robbed at knifepoint)
  • Believes that his/her spouse is being unfaithful
  • Becomes jealous when attention is directed towards others
  • Is suspicious of the motives of others
  • Believes others are being untruthful
Delusions and Paranoia | General Description

The memory impairments that accompany Alzheimer's disease often lead to suspicion of others and beliefs in things that are untrue. The person you care for may be overly suspicious and distrustful of the actions and motives of relatives, friends and strangers. For example, if they cannot find an item, they may believe that it has been stolen by you or by someone else. The person you care for may also often believe that they are being threatened or that they are in danger. They may believe that a trip to the dentist for a check-up is really a plot to have them put away in a nursing home. Additionally, the person you care for may have a distorted sense of reality. Since Alzheimer's disease affects judgment, it may affect their ability to separate fact from fiction. They may believe that the people on television are actually in the room or that deceased family members are actually alive.

Some people with Frontotemporal dementia may experience psychiatric manifestations, including depression or mania, which can have persecutory delusions, such as thinking that people are "out to get you". It is not uncommon for an individual to first be diagnosed with mental illness (bipolar disorder, schizophrenia , or depression) before it is determined that they have Frontotemporal dementia. While hallucinations are much more common than delusions in Lewy Body dementia, delusions occur often enough to be a supportive feature in the diagnostic criteria for dementia with Lewy bodies .

The first step in taking a more active role in symptom management is understanding how a symptom is affecting everyday life; the next step is communicating this knowledge to the care planning team and family members. SymptomGuideTM is designed with these goals in mind.

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See Also:
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Memory
Symptom Library > Behaviour > Irritability/ Frustration
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Anxiety and Worry
Symptom Library > Memory & Language > Misplacing or Losing Objects
Symptom Library > Thinking & Judgment > Judgment
About Dementia > Treatments for Dementia > Neuroleptics
About Dementia > Types of Dementia > Parkinson's Disease
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Last updated January 9, 2019
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