Friday, April 6, 2012

Does "Coast to Coast" Foster Delusional Thinking?

A few months ago on the Realityuncovered Forum I started a discussion about delusional thinking, specifically targeting the popular late night radio program "Coast to Coast."  Since I work 3 pm to 12 midnight at a university teaching hospital, I'll occasionally tune into the program while driving home.  This allows me to gather current insight into what is being discussed concerning any and all things paranormal. 

With Coast to Coast in mind (do not draw any conclusions as to my "bias" towards C2C) I present the following case study.  The patient is not named due to confidentiality.

Most of you only know me as "The former SAC Missile Crew Commander" dealing mostly with UFOs and nuclear ICBMs, yet few may know that I've been involved with the psychiatric health care system for the fast 16 years, all with inpatient care. I have a little case history to present (informally).

Recently I cared for an elderly 87 year old female patient admitted for severe anxiety and panic attacks. For all practical reasoning this patient was alert and oriented to name, time and place. Well stable concerning medical issues. Some what socially out going, though did have difficult time with interacting with our other patients. I observed that she was predominantly reclusive to her room, yet at times briefly would come out into the milieu (day room activities/environment).

Upon reading her History and Physical (H&P), I noticed where the patient's daughter had expressed concerns of recent belief systems regarding government conspiracies and expressing thoughts that there were secret bases on the moon. This caught my eye, yet not surprisingly, glossed over by the attending physician as he never mentioned nor appeared to press the patient on this ideation on any subsequent chart notes.

Later that night, the patient asked me to help her with getting her radio set up for a particular radio program...C2C. Immediately, the meaning of that small segment of the H&P became evident of the source of this lady's thought content. What follows was the patient's answers to questions that I politely and in a social manner put to her:

1. She always listens to her radio vs. that of watching TV.
2. She listens to C2C regularly.
3. Richard Hoagland was her favorite guest of C2C and was intrigued with his theories. (This accounts for daughter's recent concerns)
4. Hoagland's "Dark Mission" was her favorite book. (Further cementing the source of her daughter's concerns)

Further questions of mine evoked a belief of absolute faith in Hoagland's assertion of ancient moon bases by alien civilizations and the companion belief that the government was withholding this information to the public. During my interview, I had asked the patient if she had sought out other explanations concerning Hoagland's theories. Her replies were always polite yet showing of absolute faith in Hoagland's views.

So my question for the readers to ponder:  Does this woman suffer from a delusional disorder? If so, tell me why.

I leave this post up for a few days then I'll follow with the clinical answer.  Again, as stated at the start of the blog, do not draw any conclusions concerning bias towards Coast to Coast.  


  1. Well, now you've got me hooked -- pretty sneaky holding back the climax; I'm now eager for the sequel!

    As for your question, "Does this woman suffer from a delusional disorder?" Yes, absolutely!

    Of course, I think everyone who listens to "Coast to Coast" is delusional, so I suspect it won't help a whole lot in regard to a medical diagnosis -- not unless you consider masochism a delusional affliction...

  2. OK, James has her as "ate up" with a delusional disorder...and evidently not an avid listener/fan of C2C.

    Yes, James, you'll have to what for a couple of days...

  3. Here are some of the responses that were given on the original realityuncovered forum thread:

    From Nablator: "I don't think so. From her point of view there is compelling evidence. Hoagland poses as a scientist and NASA consultant so the argument from false authority works for him. His book looks good to the uncritical eye: he presents actual NASA imagery of the Moon and Mars to support his fantasies of glass castles, severed C3PO head and Martian architecture. Yes, they are obvious photographic artifacts and pareidolia, but Occam's razor was never too popular."

  4. Not necessarily delusional. If unwilling to do basic reality checking, then it's self-aware and so merely ideological. If unable to do reality checking, then it's a psychiatric delusion.

  5. Terry, thanks for stopping by. I'll post later tonight the clinical response to the post's question.