The weeks before 100 persecutory delusions: the presence of many potential contributory causal factors

Table 1

Endorsement of checklist items

Item n
Length of delusion onset
It took years to be certain what was occurring. 21
There was a build up over several months in trying to be sure what was going on. 30
There was a build up over a few weeks in trying to be sure what was going on. 24
There were a few days working out exactly what was happening to me. 6
I knew instantly that others were definitely trying to harm me, there was no build up at all. Things just changed in a day. 17
Missing data 2
I’d been worrying a lot. 80
In my mind I had been going over problems again and again. 75
I’d been worrying about losing control. 59
I’d been worrying that I couldn’t control my thoughts as well as I would like. 68
Any of these items. 94
I kept having images in my mind of bad things happening. 75
Low self-esteem and depression
I felt very negative about myself. 75
I felt inferior to others. 66
My self-confidence got really low. 84
I just didn’t feel like my normal self. 77
I felt like I would make a fool of myself in front of others. 59
I was tormented by something, though I didn’t know what it was. 62
I became more passive and withdrawn. 58
Any of these items. 95
Poor sleep
I was having problems getting or staying to sleep. 75
I was sleeping at all the wrong times. 37
I was having nightmares. 50
I did not feel that I needed any sleep at all. 21
Any of these items. 85
I felt strange, as if I were not real or as if I were cut-off from the world. 62
My surroundings felt detached or unreal, as if there was a veil between me and the outside world. 54
I felt automatic and mechanical as if I were a robot. 25
I became preoccupied with my own world 65
Any of these items. 82
Mood dysregulation
My mood was very up and down. 66
It was hard to control my emotions. 67
Any of these items. 80
Manic symptoms
I was highly excitable. 25
I had difficulties concentrating. 77
My thoughts were jumping around too much. 76
I had so many thoughts that I couldn’t keep track. 59
Any of these items. 87
Aberrant salience
I was analysing everything in great detail. 72
I became interested in people, events, places, or ideas that normally would not make an impression on me. 33
My senses were sharpened. I became fascinated by the little insignificant things around me. 54
Sights and sounds possessed a keenness that I had never experienced before. 34
My senses seemed alive. Things seemed clear cut, I noticed things I had never noticed before. 46
Certain trivial things suddenly seemed especially important or significant to me. 70
Any of these items. 92
I heard noises or sounds when there was nothing about to explain them. 63
I saw shapes, lights or colours even though there was nothing really there. 33
I began to hear voices that were hard to explain. 56
Sounds were distorted in strange or unusual ways. 30
Any of these items. 78
Substance use
I was smoking cannabis (or taking other drugs). 18
I was drinking quite a lot of alcohol. 23
Any of these items. 32
I was being bullied. 44
Someone close to me died. 18
I had left home. 17
My relationship had ended with my boyfriend/girlfriend. 19
There were lots of arguments occurring. 31
I left school or university or my job. 23
There were lots of stresses in my life. 69
Any of these items. 83
Absence of changes
There was nothing unusual at all in the period before. 7
I was feeling perfectly fine. 9
Any of these items. 13

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