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date: 19 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

After a short introduction, in which definition and epidemiology of delusional ideas in mood disorders are described, the author attempts to develop a psychopathology of these delusions. Next, the author tackles one of the biggest problems delusional depression poses: is it a different nosological entity respecting the non-delusional depression? European psychiatry tends to deny this independence, considering it a severe form of depression. The question should instead be why some depressive patients have delusions and others do not. Following Blankenburg, 1991, the author postulates that some depressive patients have guilt delusions, because in the past they have committed some transgressions which contradict the characteristics of their typus melancholicus personality. Some examples of this link, from the author’s own clinical experience, are presented. In the last section the author develops a phenomenology of delusional depression a propos of a case of nihilistic (Cotard’s) syndrome.

Keywords: delusion, mood disorders, psychopathology, psychiatric phenomenology, Cotard’s syndrome

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