Paranoid is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or
fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes
persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself.
(e.g. “Everyone is out to get me.”) Making false accusations and the general distrust of
others also frequently accompany paranoia. For example, an incident most people would view
as an accident or coincidence, a paranoid person might believe was intentional. However,
just because an individual is paranoid does not necessarily mean his or her suspicions are
false, as noted in Catch-22: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after
Historically, this characterization was used to describe any delusional state. In modern
use, the term “paranoia” is sometimes misused to describe a phobia. The general
lack of blame in phobia disorders sharply differentiates the two. In other words, fearing
that something bad or harmful might happen does not in itself imply paranoia. Rather,
with paranoia there is an irrational fear of malice by others (excepting rare cases of
From the Greek, The term was used to describe a mental illness in which a delusional belief
is the sole or most prominent feature. In an original attempt at classifying different forms
of mental illness, the term pure paranoia was used to describe a condition where a
delusion was present, but without any apparent deterioration in intellectual abilities and
without any of the other features of dementia praecox, the condition later renamed
Symptoms of Paranoia
Symptoms of paranoia and paranoid disorders include intense and irrational mistrust or
suspicion, which can bring on sense of rage, hatred, and betrayal. Some people suffering
from paranoid personality may have a high-capacity to annoy or enrage others because of
rigid and maladaptive behavior. Some identifiable beliefs and actions of paranoid-related
disorders include mistrust, taking offense easily, difficulty with forgiveness, defensive
attitude in response to imagined criticism, preoccupation with hidden motives, fear of
being deceived or taken advantage of, inability to relax, argumentative, abrupt, stubborn,
self-righteous, and perfectionistic.
Causes of Paranoia
The cause of paranoia is a breakdown of various mental and emotional functions involving
reasoning and assigned meanings. The reasons for these breakdowns are varied and uncertain.
Some symptoms of paranoia may arise from repressed, denied or projected feelings. Paranoid
thoughts and feelings can become part of a delusional system through an accident, a
misunderstanding or minor injustice, heightened intimacy, or increased responsibility.
Treatment of Paranoia
Treatment of paranoia is usually via behavior therapy which is aimed at reducing sensitivity
to criticism and improving social skills. It can be difficult to treat a person with
paranoia as they may be irritable, emotionally guarded, hostile, and unwilling; therefore,
progress is slow. Therapy attempts to break the cycle of suspicion and isolation by using
relaxation and anxiety management and by aiding the person to change certain behaviors.
Paranoia and mental health problems:
is a particular type of schizophrenia that features
extreme paranoid thoughts. If you experience paranoid schizophrenia, then you may also hear
voices, which might confirm your paranoid feelings and cause you further distress by mocking
or threatening you. You might also feel that you are an important or powerful person, such
as a religious figure or royalty, which is why you are being persecuted.
If you experience delusional disorder you are likely to develop one particular dominating,
paranoid idea, of great complexity, that puts you in conflict with those around you. You
are more likely to contact the police or a lawyer than a psychiatrist for help, as you will
feel your persecution is real.
Paranoid personality disorder
is another diagnosis which is usually considered if your paranoid feelings have been around
for some time, perhaps since adolescence. If you have received this diagnosis, you are
likely to feel very suspicious and find it difficult to trust other people. You might feel
that people are plotting against you, and will find it difficult to accept that these
feelings might be exaggerated or unfounded.
Other diagnoses that may include paranoid feelings are bipolar disorder,
schizoaffective disorder, severe anxiety or depression, and postnatal psychosis.
What causes paranoid thoughts?
Anxiety and depression
The effects of drugs and alcohol
for more information about causes and treatments for Paranoia.
Personally Speaking, I have had a problem with Paranoia all my life to some extent.
As I wrote in my journal “A Journey of a girl of many faces” as a child I feared
That I was a project that all the world knew about. Everyone knew who I was even the
strangers around me as I went out and about. My parents were in on it and were going
to kill me at some point. When I saw The Truman show, I had an anxiety attack in
the theatre. Then I was paranoid about that. Other than that, I have never really
dealt with finding out why exactly. I know some of it for me has come along with
mistrusting of people in general. Mental illness as surely played a part.
It is getting better. At this point in my life, I don’t go looking for things to
be paranoid about. I just stay away lol. But I am obsessed with fixing everything
and knowing all the answers. I don’t handle not knowing well. The “unavailable”
post is a very good example. It wasn’t fear that caused the paranoia, it was
the not knowing. I had to believe that I knew and that I had the upper hand. I
had this whole game thought up in my head. So that I felt like I had him
figured out. I do not trust anyone except God. In some ways, I don’t even
completely trust my children. I would never tell them that. As different as
my relationship with my mother is now, I wouldn’t trust her as far as I could
throw her. I still feel like something is up somewhere.
So I thought I would look into it and write about it. There was so much
information that my post would have been way longer than this even. But I
learned a lot and I am going to take the time to figure out my paranoia and
what I can do to get better.