Delusional Disorder vs. Schizophrenia

About Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects over two million Americans. Schizophrenia commonly does not appear until a person is in their mid to late twenties or early thirties, and it is a disorder that requires the need of medication in order to manage it. Schizophrenia is a life-altering disorder because it commonly results in people having bizarre delusions, and sometimes irrational behavior, and then shunning themselves from society.

Common symptoms of schizophrenia include delusions and hallucinations, as well as hearing voices. Because of the symptoms of schizophrenia most people stay in a paranoid or fearful state and have difficulty functioning in society.

About Delusional Disorder

schizophrenia and related disorder

Someone with delusional disorder will likely have delusions that are untrue, but that are not totally out of the realm of possibility.

According to Psych Central, delusional disorder is characterized by the presence of non-bizarre delusions which have persisted for at least one month. Non-bizarre delusions typically are beliefs of something occurring in a person’s life which is not out of the realm of possibility.

When a person has delusional disorder they will believe delusions they are having are real, but the delusions may be undetected from other people because they are believable. For example, a person with delusional disorder may believe that their boss secretly works for the CIA, it is unlikely, but it is still a possibility. In addition, a person living with delusional disorder may not even realize it and they can function in their everyday life normally without any noticeable problems in their behavior.

Delusional Disorder vs. Schizophrenia

The first main difference between delusional disorder and schizophrenia is that delusional disorder does not typically disrupt a person’s daily life, whereas schizophrenia commonly interferes with a person’s life.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, schizophrenia interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage their emotions, relate to others, and make decisions. When schizophrenia is not treated it impairs a person’s ability to function to their full potential, and there is no simple treatment that exists to manage schizophrenia.

Another major difference between delusional disorder and schizophrenia is hallucinations. A person with schizophrenia commonly sees and hears hallucinations, whereas a person with delusional disorder does not have any hallucinations.

The third difference between the two disorders is that schizophrenia will significantly affect a person’s behavior, and sometimes their speech, whereas delusional disorder does not.

The fourth difference between the two disorders is the delusions. With schizophrenia, the delusions are bizarre and unbelievable, whereas the delusions with delusional disorder are non-bizarre and can be believable.

The fifth major difference between the two disorders is that schizophrenia is mostly managed through medication, whereas delusional disorder is primarily managed through psychotherapy.


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