The key component of Shared Psychotic Disorder is a delusion that creates in a person who is included in a cozy association with someone else ( the “inducer” or “the essential case”) who has a current Psychotic Disorder with unmistakable delusions.
Usually the primary case in Shared Psychotic Disorder is dominant in the relationship and gradually imposes the delusional system on the more passive and initially healthy second person. Individuals who come to share delusional beliefs are often related by blood or marriage and have lived together for a long time, sometimes in relative social isolation. If the relationship with the primary case is interrupted, the delusional beliefs of the other individual usually diminish or disappear.
Although most commonly seen in relationships of only two people, Shared Psychotic Disorder can occur among a larger number of individuals, especially in family situations in which the parent is the primary case and the children, sometimes to varying degrees, adopt the parent’s delusional beliefs. Individuals with this disorder rarely seek treatment and usually are brought to clinical attention when the primary case receives treatment.
Specific Symptoms of Shared Psychotic Disorder
A delusion develops in an individual in the context of a close relationship with another person(s), who has an already-established delusion.
The delusion is similar in content to that of the person who already has the established delusion.
The disturbance is not better accounted for by another Psychotic Disorder (e.g., Schizophrenia) or a Mood Disorder With Psychotic Features and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.