Pathogenic parenting delusional disorder is a relatively rare psychiatric disorder in which a parent or caregiver develops a delusional belief that their child has been abused or is in danger of being abused, despite no evidence or against all evidence to the contrary. The belief is typically related to a particular person or group of people, such as a former spouse or a child custody evaluator, whom the parent perceives as a threat to their child.
The delusional belief is often accompanied by behaviors that are harmful to the child, such as restricting access to medical care, keeping the child isolated from others, or making false accusations against others. In some cases, the parent may even attempt to harm the child in an effort to protect them from perceived harm.
Pathogenic parenting delusional disorder is a controversial diagnosis, as some experts believe that the disorder is not a distinct psychiatric condition, but rather a manifestation of other underlying conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or borderline personality disorder. There is currently no consensus on the cause or treatment of this disorder, but therapy and medication may be used to manage the symptoms and help the individual develop more rational thinking patterns. It is important to note that this disorder is distinct from cases in which a parent or caregiver legitimately suspects abuse and takes appropriate action to protect the child.