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Good Question: Is Charlie Sheen Delusional?

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(credit: CBS) Jason DeRusha
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By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Charlie Sheen rants started on ABC News, moved to NBC, then to TMZ and finally to CNN. He talks and talks and talks about a world where he is the “rock star” and the rest of us are “jealous.”

“He’s in his own make-believe world, so whacked out and cracked out on everything he’s on,” said one man at a Minneapolis pub.

“A clinical definition of delusional is different,” said Lisa Cowley, a clinical psychologist with Minnesota Mental Health Clinics.

So what does it mean to be delusional?

“Typically having a belief that seems 100 percent real that something’s absolutely true in something that’s absolutely not true,” Cowley said.

She said that when she’s seen delusional patients, typically they are very negative, not highly narcissistic, such as Sheen seems to be.

“Being delusional involves talking in ways that aren’t true, when someone’s spouting off, people generalize that to, ‘Oh they’re delusional,'” Cowley said.

The problem with calling Sheen delusional is that he isn’t like you or me. He is a genuine superstar. His outlandish statements like: “I’m tired of pretending I’m not special. You can’t process me with a normal brain,” may have some truth to them.

To contrast, real delusions are “like I’m 900 years old or I’m receiving messages from TV. Or non-bizarre delusions like people are trying to spy on me, which isn’t true, but it’s possible,” Cowley explained.

Taking drugs like cocaine can result in delusions, which is why Cowley said it’s critical for patients to be sober before being able to understand if there are underlying psychological issues.

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