How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Michael Your Own Question

Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
28397935
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Dr. Michael is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

is there a more formal definition to the Walter Mitty Syndrome,

Resolved Question:

is there a more formal definition to the 'Walter Mitty Syndrome', as I have tried surfing for it under that nomenclature, and have had very little success. I am dealing with an individual who is utterly convinced he is a Vietnam Vet; to the point of having read exhaustively enough to be able to hold his own with any real vet; and wearing military memorabilia, truck insignias, etc. The alternate persona is so real, it has completely overshadowed the person I factually know him to be; as he is a family member, and we grew up with him. Can I get a clinical name for this, so I can try approaching the subject with him and other family members regarding getting help?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 4 years ago.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

There is an old DSM-II personality disorder called "Inadequate Personality", in which a person with perfectly normal intelligence doesn't seem capable to "fit in" well with traditional job roles, is generally ineffective, despite possessing skills and normal intelligence etc. AlXXXXX XXXXX one of Freud's contemporaries, would have appreciated the fact that such individuals grossly overcompensate for their failures and deficiencies in life by doing such things as focusing on certain skills to the exclusion of others, adopting grandiose fantasies about themselves and portraying them to the world, etc. The term inadequate personality has more or less died with the advent of DSM-III and IV. Personality disorders are such a mess in terms of diagnostic classification that DSM-V will do something quite different it is hoped e.g., describe various behavior patterns and emphasize "social adaptations" people make to be able to better form and maintain relationships. Anyway, Walter Mitty would have fit the old DSM-II notion of Inadequate Personality Disorder and the notion of gross overcompensation due to severe feelings of inferiority----a la AlXXXXX XXXXX. You can Google Overcompensation Adler and read more about this psychological defense mechanism.

Another disorder that is fitting for the type of individual you describe is something called Delusional Disorder. This is a nonpsychotic disorder in which the person functions quite well in many domains of life but aggressively and strenuously embraces certain delusional beliefs that cannot be true or accurate. It tends to be fairly chronic in adulthood and the delusions seem to be "woven" into the person's sense of their personality and their core beliefs about how the world operates. The person is utterly unfazed by challenges to their delusional beliefs and defend them vigorously, if pressed. You can read more about this disorder by Googling: DSM Delusional Disorder.


I hope this information is helpful to you. Let me know if I have failed to answer your question adequately.

Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience: Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
Dr. Michael and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education