Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Truman Show Delusion


Okay, so I'm not sure where to credit the idea for this post. I read about the Truman Show Delusion on The Last Psychiatrist blog, and it linked to a piece in the National Post.

The story starts by discussing a paper in process by two psychiatrists who are brothers-- that in itself is weird enough and maybe someday I'll know enough about it to blog about psychiatrist sibs (I only know of one family where this actually exists). The Gold shrink brothers are interested in a phenomena they've titled The Truman Show Delusion. It's when a patient believes he is a character in a reality TV show (when he isn't, obviously). From the National Post article:

While traditionalists insist that this delusion offers nothing new -- it is no different from, say, a deranged man who believes that the CIA has planted a microchip in his tooth -- the Gold brothers argue otherwise.

"It's really a question of the extent of the delusion," said Joel Gold, 39, who has been on staff at New York's Bellevue Hospital Center for eight years. "The delusions we typically treat are narrow: There is Capgras Delusion, where someone will think his family has been replaced by doubles. Or the Fregoli Delusion, where someone believes that one person is persecuting him: a doctor, mailman, butcher. The Truman Show Delusion, though, involves the entire world."

The Last Psychiatrist wants to discuss the delusion as a metaphor for maturity and fixation in adolescent developmental challenges. Okay.

I haven't examined the patients the Gold Shrink-bros write about, and I've never seen a patient with this particular delusional scheme, but in general, I've found that delusional schemes happen apart from personality characteristics and developmental fixations. In other words, I've seen patients with grandiose delusional schemes who aren't otherwise narcissistic in their overall approach to the world, and I know plenty of self-centered narcissistic folks who don't seem to have any type of delusional disorders. Oh, I'm rambling, I just thought the idea of a Truman Show Delusion was interesting.

And speaking of having one's life broadcast to the public eye: where oh where is Roy today?