Shared Psychotic Disorder

(Also Known As: Psychotic, Psychosis, Psychotic Disorders, Psychotic Disorder, Psychotic Behavior, Shared Paranoia)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Shared Psychotic Disorder?

In 1877, researchers Lasegue and Falret described shared psychotic disorder as transfer of delusions from one person to another. The two individuals that are usually involved are closely associated for a long time and typically live together in relatively social isolation.1 This rare psychiatric disorder is also referred to as folie à deux which literally translates as a madness shared by two. The syndrome involves a symptom of psychosis, particularly a paranoid or delusional belief. When the same syndrome becomes shared by more than two people, it is then referred to as folie à trois, folie à quatre, folie à famille or even folie à plusieurs which means madness of many. Recent psychiatric classifications refer to the syndrome as shared psychotic disorder by DSM-IV-TR and induced delusional disorder or folie à deux in the ICD-10, although the research literature largely uses the original name. 2

The individual who first has the delusion is the primary case. This patient is often chronically ill and is typically the influential member of a close relationship with a more suggestible person who also eventually develops the condition. The latter is referred to as the secondary case, this patient is frequently less intelligent and more gullible, more passive or more lacking in self-esteem as compared to the primary case. If the pair separates, the secondary case may be able to abandon the delusion although it is not seen in all cases. 3

Could You Have Shared Psychotic Disorder?

Shared Psychotic Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Borderline Personality Disorder – variability of mood, split personality, delusion, dissociation, psychosis
Brief Psychotic Disorder – psychosis, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, delusion, hallucination
Paranoid Personality Disorder – pervasive suspiciousness, maladaptive behavior, hypervigilance, paranoia, schizophrenia
Schizophrenia – bizarre thinking, delusion, hallucination, disorganized speech, paranoid, psychosis
Schizotypal Personality Disorder – personality disorder, social isolation, odd thinking and behavior, paranoid ideation