The descent delusion is a content form of delusional symptoms. The patients are convinced that they come from aristocratic groups or other groups of higher value. Paranoid schizophrenia occurs most frequently in the context of paranoid schizophrenia.
What is ancestral mania?
The parental delusion is a content form of the delusional symptoms. The patients are convinced that they are descended from aristocratic groups or other groups of higher value.
The delusion is a symptom from the field of psychiatric illnesses. Delusions , for example, characterize clinical pictures such as schizophrenia , but can also be related to mania , depression or dementia. The delusional symptoms can be of different types in terms of content. Religious madness , for example, is relatively common.
Another and much rarer form of the delusional symptoms is the so-called parental delusion. The patient is convinced that he is related to a historical personality or of some other high origin. In the 20th century, the parental delusion among the delusional symptoms seems to be on the decline. According to studies by Scharfschetter and Steinebrunner, younger men are more often affected by the symptoms.
Avenarius, on the other hand, assumes an increased risk of disease for the female sex. The descent delusion is described by many scientists as a sub-form of the delusions of grandeur. In this context, those affected deny their own ancestry in order to attach greater importance to an ancestry.
The descent delusion can refer to currently living persons or groups of persons, to already faded ruling groups or other power groups of the past or to professional groups such as priesthoods and witch circles.
Within the group of delusional symptoms, there are mutual relationships with often similar primary causes. With the delusion of parentage, megalomania and religious delusion are often mentioned in the same breath. Like the religious mania, the descent mania is widespread primarily as a symptom of paranoid schizophrenia. There are different explanations for the cause of the delusional symptoms.
Avenarius explains the descent mania with cultural-historical contexts and points out that descent has always played a decisive role in the standard of living of the individual. Pfeiffer, on the other hand, is of the opinion that the schizophrenic’s identity problem is expressed in ancestral mania. Control needs are satisfied in the belief in the descent from different power groups.
Feelings of fear can also be compensated in ancestral mania, as belonging to a stable and powerful group can convey security and protection. It is also important that schizophrenia patients often live in social isolation. As human beings, they nevertheless experience a need to belong, which can be satisfied within the framework of ancestral mania.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
Patients with ancestral mania are often of the firm and unshakable conviction that they do not belong to their parents. They consider the names in their papers to be false and assume that they were only foisted on their alleged parents. Many of those affected are convinced that at some point they will be accepted into their true position.
They often start from a certain event or difficulty that has robbed them of their true identity and standard. Like the religious mania, the descent mania is associated in most cases with ego syntony . Those affected consider their true descent to determine their identity and refuse to recognize their delusions as such. Despite a number of counter-evidence, those affected consider their delusional behavior to be coherent and correct.
In most cases, the delusion relates to groups of nobility or ruling groups. In some cases, celebrities or worker groups such as priests may also correspond to the affiliation group. The delusion of parentage is characterized by symptoms of megalomania and is therefore often treated as a sub-form of these delusional symptoms.
Diagnosis & course
The psychotherapist or psychiatrist diagnoses delusional symptoms using the ICD-10. The delusion of parentage is to be distinguished from related delusions within the scope of the diagnosis. In addition, the disease for which the delusion is symptomatic is determined.
In most cases, this is paranoid schizophrenia, some of which was diagnosed before the diagnosis of delusion. In some case reports, however, the delusion of parentage is also mentioned as the first symptom. The prognosis for delusional symptoms differs from case to case. Since there is mostly ego syntony for the delusional thought content, there are usually unfavorable treatment and healing prospects.
Since parentalism is a purely psychological problem, there are mainly psychological side effects and complications. In most cases, the ancestral mania automatically leads to a loss of reality. The patient can no longer correctly assess his own life and actions.
This also has a negative effect on friends and on the partner and can destroy the relationship with these people. Often, this only intensifies the ancestral mania. The parentage delusion creates a generally aggressive behavior towards the parents for the patient. Panic attacks or paranoia often occur in addition to the symptom.
Everyday life is no longer manageable for those affected. Often the job can no longer be visited. Due to the delusion of descent, the patient completely escapes reality and loses connection with any important person. Treatment is carried out by a psychologist.
In most cases, antidepressants are used to curb parentage delusions. Successful treatment cannot be guaranteed, as this depends primarily on the personal attitude of the person concerned. In the case of a very pronounced parentage delusion, the patient can also be admitted to a closed clinic. This happens especially when the person concerned becomes aggressive.
When should you go to the doctor?
Since delusion of parentage is one of the delusional disorders of the schizophrenic group of forms, it usually does not occur alone. Friends and relatives of an affected person will also notice from other mental health problems that something is wrong with them. The earlier a doctor’s appointment is possible, the better it is for the person concerned. However, a distinction must be made between what is real ancestry mania and what is just a game of thought.
A patient with genuinely ancestral mania does not just toy with the idea of being descended from important people, he genuinely believes this theory and may even name a person he believes he descends from. If this is the case, a psychiatrist should be consulted, provided there is, of course, nothing to suggest that the suspicion might be true.
Only a doctor can tell whether there is a delusional parentage and what underlying mental illness it is related to. If the person concerned is interested in investigations that put them in danger because they stalk or threaten alleged relatives in the process, an inpatient stay can even be useful.
Treatment & Therapy
Patients with ancestral delusion consider their delusions to be a natural part of their personality. The descent from a higher group is perceived as identity-forming. Because of this, treatment is difficult. If they were to give up their madness, they would subjectively give up part of their personality. Since those affected can hardly be persuaded to understand their illness, many of the conventional psychotherapies fail .
The first treatment step in regular therapy is the understanding and acceptance of the disease. The patients are mostly treated conventionally with medication for their underlying disease. The administration of antipsychotics could at least temporarily reduce all symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia in the past in many cases. With the decrease in the individual symptoms, the delusional symptoms of the patients also improved.
On the other hand, more severe cases are known in which, despite drug treatment, no reduction in symptoms could be observed. In such treatment-resistant cases, the focus is often on supportive therapy aimed at increasing the quality of life of those affected. Measures such as exercise in the fresh air and other structuring measures in everyday life have been associated in individual cases with an improvement in the causal disease and thus also an improvement in the symptoms of the delusional.
Outlook & forecast
The delusional parentage usually leads to severe psychological complaints and problems. In some cases, the patient can no longer act properly on his own. Often social contacts are broken off and severely restricted.
The descent delusion can also manifest itself in an aggressive attitude towards other people. It comes to delusions and thus to depressive moods of the patient. It is not uncommon for the psychological complaints to also have a negative effect on the general health of the patient, which can lead to a lack of sleep or malnutrition. With this, the body is weakened, and the patient becomes susceptible to various infectious diseases and inflammation . The quality of life decreases sharply due to the ancestral mania.
In most cases, treating parentage delusions is difficult and therefore takes a relatively long time. Many patients do not recognize the disease directly, which leads to a belated diagnosis. Medicines are therefore often used in treatment. In serious cases, the patient must be admitted to a clinic. Even after the treatment, the parentage delusion can reappear and lead to the same symptoms.
The paranoia can only be prevented to the extent that diseases such as paranoid schizophrenia can be prevented. Since genetic factors seem to play a role as well as cultural and social factors, especially for schizophrenia, comprehensive prevention is hardly conceivable.
It is controversial whether the descent delusion is completely curable. Rather, cases are known after the typical symptoms have reappeared after a while. Basically, aftercare is less about preventing a recurrence. Rather, the therapy aims to prevent complications from occurring.
Depending on the severity, this may make long-term treatment necessary. In addition to psychotherapy, doctors usually also order drug treatment. Ancestry mania leads to a denial of close family members and friends. These sometimes suffer from the situation as well. Intact relationships are destroyed in this way, especially when there is no diagnosis.
Follow-up care takes the patient seriously. If she were to question the patient’s thoughts, the conversation would be broken off. The aftercare therefore tries to accept the specific reality. It should be noted that patients are not exposed to stress . It leads to anxiety – and delusional states .
Sometimes the symptoms even escalate into aggressiveness . Physical violence against oneself and others is then possible. The peculiarity of the disease means that, above all, the mental balance suffers. Psychotherapeutic treatment takes a lot of time and perseverance.
You can do that yourself
One challenge for self-help is that the person concerned does not regard the parental delusion as delusional, but rather considers it to be reality. However, patients can in principle develop an insight into the disease that also paves the way in everyday life.
In this case, it makes sense to use a psychotherapist or psychiatrist to identify individual warning signs. If the patient discovers such a warning sign in everyday life, he should check carefully whether it is e.g. B. a thought is a realistic idea, or whether it is probably the delusion behind it.
The parentage delusion does not usually manifest itself in isolation, but mostly shows as a symptom of paranoid schizophrenia . For this reason, those affected can also find out about the general self-help options that can be considered for schizophrenia. Since stress can worsen the symptoms or trigger more severe episodes, general stress prevention is also an option in better phases of the illness.
Ancestral schizophrenics sometimes deny their real family. This situation can be very stressful for relatives. However, you should not divert this burden onto the patient, but instead develop appropriate coping strategies yourself. Support groups for family members can alleviate the burden in many cases. If family members suffer greatly from the difficult situation (and possibly for other reasons), they should also consider psychotherapy of their own .