Autochthonous Delusions

Autochthonous delusions (also called delusional intuitions) are delusions Opens in new window that appear to arise suddenly ‘out of the blue’; they are phenomenologically indistinguishable from the sudden arrival of a normal idea.

A patient who had experienced an autochthonous delusion gropes for explanations for the occurrence of his delusion in answering the interviewer’s question, in the same way that a healthy person would find it difficult to account for the arrival of any idea if he were asked to explain it.

The difference lies in the ability of the observer to empathize with, to understand, a non-delusional idea even though it may be bizarre and destructive, but he cannot understand how a person can have come to believe his delusion.

Schneider regarded the term delusional idea as based on outmoded psychology, and he felt it should therefore be abandoned. It is often confused with delusion-like idea, even in some textbooks, and this is another good reason for abandoning it.

Delusional intuition is perhaps the most satisfactory translation of the German Wahneinfall. Delusional intuition occurs as a single stage, unlike delusional perception Opens in new window, which occurs in two stages: perception and then false interpretation.

Like delusional perceptions, delusional intuitions are self-referent and usually of momentous import to the patient.

    Research data for this literature has been adapted from these following manuals:
  1. Sims' Symptoms in the Mind: An Introduction to Descriptive Psychopathology By Femi Oyebode
  2. Oxford Handbook of Psychiatry By David Semple, Roger Smyth
  3. Crash Course Psychiatry - E-Book By Katie FM Marwick, Steven Birrell