Quickbite: Overvalued ideas: a lost concept?

by Dr Millia Begum and Dr Peter J. McKenna


Last updated: October 2015


The concept of the overvalued idea has been debated by European psychopathologists for more than a century, and in recent years there has been renewed interest in the concept, particularly in the context of debates about the classification of certain disorders as delusional or non-delusional.


DSM-5 defines an overvalued idea as 'an unreasonable and sustained belief that is maintained with less than delusional intensity', whereas some argue that overvalued ideas are distinct from delusions and are present in a range of disorders.


In this module we will look at the historical development of the concept and outline the various theories proposed. We will then apply these theories specifically to body dysmorphic disorder and olfactory reference syndrome. By the end of the module we hope you will have a better understanding of the DSM-5 and 'Jasperian' definitions of the overvalued idea, and be able to take both perspectives into account when diagnosing and treating your patients.


Start the module



If you like this module, you may also be interested in:


Body dysmorphic disorder: Part 1 and Part 2 by Ms Nell Ellison and Dr David Veale 


Or why not try another Quickbite module?:


Asking for a psychodynamic psychotherapy opinion in general psychiatry by Dr Jon Patrick


Use of mental health legislation in eating disorders by E Jane B Morris


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