Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link

Shared Psychosis

By

Carol Tamminga

, MD, UT Southwestern Medical Dallas

Last full review/revision May 2020| Content last modified May 2020
Click here for the Professional Version

Shared psychosis occurs when people acquire a delusion from someone with whom they have a close personal relationship.

Psychosis refers to symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking and speech, and bizarre and inappropriate motor behavior (including catatonia) that indicate loss of contact with reality. (See also Introduction to Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Introduction to Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders—brief psychotic disorder, delusional disorder, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder—are characterized... read more .)

Shared psychosis (previously termed folie à deux) is now considered a subset of delusional disorder Delusional Disorder Delusional disorder is characterized by one or more firmly held false beliefs that persist for at least 1 month. The false beliefs may be ordinary things that could occur (such as being deceived... read more . It is a rare disorder that usually occurs in a person or group of people (usually a family) who are related to a person with a significant delusional disorder. The socially dominant member in the relationship has the primary disorder and imposes the delusion on or convinces the less dominant person (or people) in the relationship of the unusual beliefs.

Doctors try to identify the person in the relationship who has the primary psychosis, because the person with the secondary disorder typically does not maintain the delusional beliefs when separated from the person with the primary disorder. Counseling and therapy can usually help people who have a shared psychosis. Psychotic symptoms are treated with antipsychotic drugs Antipsychotic Drugs Psychosis refers to symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking and speech, and bizarre and inappropriate motor behavior that indicate loss of contact with reality. A number... read more as needed.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version
Others also read

Test your knowledge

Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder
A panic attack is a brief period of extreme distress, anxiety, or fear that begins suddenly and is accompanied by physical and/or emotional symptoms. Panic attacks are experienced by at least which percentage of American adults during any given year? 
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest

Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
TOP