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Obsessions and Delusions: Separate and Distinct, or Overlapping?

  • Paul C. Bermanzohn, Linda Porto, Phyllis B. Arlow, Sylvia Axelrod, Roslyn Stronger, Jeannette Martino-beyer, Simcha Pollack and Samuel G. Siris...


The convergence of obsessive and schizophrenic symptoms, particularly the blending of obsessional and delusional features into complex symptoms, calls for a clarification of the relationship between obsessions and delusions, which are usually thought of as separate and distinct, even opposite entities. This brief review is a preliminary attempt to assess some of the difficult issues raised by these phenomena.

We evaluate obsessions and delusions, and how they may overlap. A patient's degree of insight has been deemed a determining factor in distinguishing between these primary symptoms. However, our review of the literature shows that a definite distinction between obsessions and delusions cannot be made solely on the basis of insight.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence to Paul C. Bermanzohn, MD, 87-80 Merrick Blvd. Jamaica, NY 11432


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