Overvalued Idea

An overvalued idea is a false belief that is maintained despite strong evidence that it is untrue.

What Is an Overvalued Idea?

Overvalued ideas are similar to delusions, but are not maintained to the same degree and may seem less strange than delusions. Overvalued ideas may have an element of truth. For example, a person who works at a company may rigidly maintain the idea that he or she is the most valuable member of the company, that he/she will save the company from ruin, or that he/she will soon be made president of the company. People do not obsess over overvalued ideas to the same degree that they obsess over delusions, but still become preoccupied by them to such a degree that they interfere with normal functioning. A person with no computer science training might, for example, believe he is going to write the next great computer program and fixate on this idea rather than pursuing training in computer science or going to work.

What Causes Overvalued Ideas?

Overvalued ideas do not necessarily accompany other mental health conditions. They can simply be the result of poor insight into one’s own capabilities or lifestyle. However, people with a number of mental health conditions may experience overvalued ideas, including schizophrenia, borderline personality, narcissistic personality, psychosis, and mania.

How Are Overvalued Ideas Treated?

When an overvalued idea is a symptom unto itself, psychotherapy can help a person overcome obsessive thoughts and gain insight into the reasons why the idea is so important to them. However, because overvalued ideas often accompany mental health conditions, treatment providers often focus on treating the underlying condition.


  1. American Psychological Association. (2009). APA concise dictionary of psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Print.
  2. Veale, D. (2002). Over-valued ideas: A conceptual analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 40(4), 383-400. doi: 10.1016/S0005-7967(01)00016-X

Last Updated: 08-17-2015

  • Leave a Comment
  • stormy wilson

    August 18th, 2016 at 5:07 AM

    selling to a market you know nothing about but going with it and all the consequences that you may face using a team that specializes in areas you don’t Excell and need help all the while creating friendships in the process? has it been done?

  • Usha

    January 2nd, 2023 at 5:57 PM

    good explanation

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