Persecutory Delusion

Persecutory delusions are a set of delusional conditions in which the affected persons believe they are being persecuted, despite a lack of evidence. Specifically, they have been defined as containing two central elements: The individual thinks that harm is occurring, or is going to occur.


Cluster Number:
Wiki Number: PW159
Diagnosis: Persecutory Delusion
US Patients:
World Patients:
Sex Ratio:
Age Onset:
Brain Area:
Symptoms: believe they are being persecuted without evidence; believes harm will happen with the persecutor intending to cause harm.
Progression: deluded beliefs my occur during manic episodes in bipolar disorder or paranoid schizophrenia.
Causes: None Listed.
Medications: antipsychotics
Therapies: CBT may be useful.


The world-wide medical research
reports chosen for each diagnosis 

Clicking each title opens the
PubMed article’s summary-abstract.

  • Homicides committed by delusional patients in the early 20th and 21st centuries: A study conducted in a French secure unit
    by Eloïse Provoost on October 11, 2021

    Homicides committed by delusional patients are the object of a rich scientific literature, which puts the risk of such acts occurring into perspective when analyzing the offenders' sociodemographic and clinical characteristics. However, few articles detail the themes and mechanisms underlying those patients' delusions. To help bridge that gap, the authors conducted this retrospective descriptive study, including two samples of delusional homicidal patients, one from near present day and one from...

  • Case Report: Usefulness of Biomarkers for Alzheimer's Disease in Two Cases With Very-Late-Onset Schizophrenia-Like Psychosis
    by Yuto Satake on October 1, 2021

    The association between primary psychotic disorders emerging in later life and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), is controversial. We present two female non-demented cases of psychosis with onset above the age of 60 years. Cases 1 and 2 were aged was 68 and 81 years, respectively. They suffered from persecutory delusions and scored 28 on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) at the first examination. Although detailed neuropsychological tests detected amnesia,...

  • An experience-sampling study on the relevance of affect dynamics to paranoid ideation
    by Ulrike Nowak on September 30, 2021

    Affective functioning is compromised in people who develop persecutory delusions, but the specifics of these affective disturbances remain unclear. To better understand the precise nature of affective disturbances in this group, it could prove helpful to focus not only on average or momentary affect intensities but also on the dynamic properties of affect, that is, the patterns and regularities with which affect fluctuates over time. This study used experience-sampling in a community sample with...

  • Transition Between Sensitive Delusion of Reference and Mood Disorder: A Case Report
    by Cecilia Maria Esposito on September 23, 2021

    The Sensitive Delusion of Reference is a clinical entity described by Ernst Kretschmer and never integrated into mainstream nosographic systems. It represents the possibility of developing psychosis starting from a personality characterized by sensitivity, scrupulousness, and fear of judgment of others. The presentation of the following clinical case highlights how the overlap between this clinical entity and mood disorders leads to characteristic psychopathology, which has not been sufficiently...