Investigations into the case and early assessments of the detained parents’ mental health conditions appear to indicate that a rare psychotic illness is known as “shared delusion disorder” may be at the core of the murder of two women by their parents in Andhra Pradesh’s Madanapalli town on January 24.
Alekhya V (25) and Sai Divya (22) were discovered beaten to death at their Madanapalli home, with their parents, V Purushotham Naidu, a college professor, and V Padmaja, a school principal, in a trance-like condition, saying that their daughters would “return.”
The parents were discovered to be acting strangely after being arrested. Padmaja refused to cooperate with authorities, claiming to be a deity. Her spouse, too, was acting in a hallucinatory way.
A group of doctors at the Madanapalle government hospital believe the couple, and perhaps the dead suffered from a’shared delusion illness.’
“When we went to the sub-jail to assess them, Padmaja refused to comply. Pursuhottam Naidu was certain that their children would return. Dr G Radhika, a psychiatrist who was part of the first team of physicians that examined the couple at Madanapalle, said, “A definitive report can only be provided after a thorough mental examination.”
A shared delusional illness and its underlying causes, according to individuals acquainted with the Madanapalle case, may be difficult to evaluate for people who aren’t mental health professionals.
Padmaja and Pursuhottam have been sent to a government mental health facility in Visakhapatnam for treatment and assessment, with final findings on their mental health condition pending.
The couple’s mental health status cannot be disclosed, according to a psychiatrist in Visakhapatnam who is treating and assessing them. The psychiatrist said, “This is a matter that is before the courts, and it is a confidential problem, and we should not talk about it.”
“They were transferred to Visakhapatnam and we have no information on what treatment they are receiving,” a police officer in Madanapalle said when asked about the case’s progress. We don’t know whether they’re hallucinating. We’re just looking at it from the perspective of the prosecution. “
According to many individuals who knew Padmaja, Pursuhottam, and their children, the family had a history of mental illness – Padmaja is said to have suffered from delusions, and one of the girls was treated for delusional experiences when she was around ten years old.
In psychiatric literature, shared delusion disorder or shared psychotic illness, often known as folie a deux (French for “madness shared by two”), is defined as “an uncommon mental condition characterised by the sharing of a delusion among two or more individuals in a close connection.”
The phenomenon is known as a folie a famille when it happens in a family.
“Folie a famille is defined as a shared psychotic illness affecting more than two members of a family. According to a 2010 research article published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, “the implicated patients have an abnormally tight connection and are secluded from others,” based on a case study of a family of five in India who was afflicted by an uncommon mental illness.
Separating the main or dominating individual from the more lightly afflicted and providing therapy is one of the methods for such a condition. According to research on the condition, those who are mildly afflicted recover rapidly when removed from the main inducer, while those who are significantly impacted need lengthy therapy.
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