Paranoia



Paranoia 792
Photo by: Refat

Definition

Paranoia is a symptom in which an individual feels as if the world is "out to get" him or her. When people are paranoid, they feel as if others are always talking about them behind their backs. Paranoia causes intense feelings of distrust, and can sometimes lead to overt or covert hostility.

Description

An individual suffering from paranoia feels suspicious, and has a sense that other people want to do him or her harm. As a result, the paranoid individual changes his or her actions in response to a world that is perceived as personally threatening. Objective observers may be quite clear on the fact that no one's words or actions are actually threatening the paranoid individual. The hallmark of paranoia is a feeling of intense distrust and suspiciousness that is not in response to input from anybody or anything in the paranoid individual's environment.

Other symptoms of paranoia may include

  • Self-referential thinking: The sense that other people in the world (even complete strangers on the street) are always talking about the paranoid individual.
  • Thought broadcasting: The sense that other people can read the paranoid individual's mind.
  • Magical thinking: The sense that the paranoid individual can use his or her thoughts to influence other people's thoughts and actions.
  • Thought withdrawal: The sense that people are stealing the paranoid individual's thoughts.
  • Thought insertion: The sense that people are putting thoughts into the paranoid individual's mind.
  • Ideas of reference: The sense that the television and/or radio are specifically addressing the paranoid individual.

Demographics

Paranoia is a very human feeling. Nearly everyone has experienced it at some or another time, to varying degrees. Paranoia exists on a continuum, ranging from a feeling of distrust due to an occasional misinterpretation of cues that can be appropriately dealt with and reinterpreted, to an overarching pattern of actual paranoia that affects every interpersonal interaction.

Some research studies have suggested that 6% of all women and 13% of all men have some chronic level of mistrust towards the motivations of others towards them. Only about 0.5% to 0.25% of men and women can actually be diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder , however. It remains interesting to researchers that men are more prone to paranoid traits and mental disorders with paranoid features than are women.

Causes of paranoia

Researchers do not understand fully what chemical or physical changes in the brain cause paranoia. Paranoia is a prominent symptom that occurs in a variety of different mental disorders, as well as a symptom of certain physical diseases. Furthermore, use of certain drugs or chemicals may cause symptoms of paranoia in an otherwise normal individual.

Paranoia is often manifested as part of the symptom complex of schizophrenia . In fact, one of the subtypes of schizophrenia is termed "paranoid schizophrenia," which actually refers to a type of schizophrenia in which the individual is particularly preoccupied with delusions in which the world seems to be pitted against him or her. As with other forms of schizophrenia, sufferers often lack contact with reality, and display hallucinations , flat or emotionless affect , and disorganized thinking and behavior.

Paranoid personality disorder is diagnosed when an individual does not have other symptoms of schizophrenia, but a personality that is driven by chronic manifestations of paranoia. These individuals are mistrustful, suspicious, and convinced that the world is out to get them.

In order for an individual to be diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder, he or she must display at least four of the following traits:

  • chronically suspicious that people are lying or cheating him or her in some way
  • frequently preoccupied with whether people are loyal or trustworthy
  • cannot confide in others for fear of being betrayed
  • misinterprets benign comments or events as being personally threatening
  • harbors long-term grudges against others who are perceived as having been threatening or insulting in some way
  • sees others' actions and/or words attacking him or her in some way, and therefore goes on the counterattack
  • repeatedly assumes that partner or spouse is unfaithful

Paranoia can also occur as a symptom of other neurological diseases. Individuals suffering from the aftereffects of strokes, brain injuries, various types of dementia (including Alzheimer's disease ), Huntington's disease, and Parkinson's disease may manifest paranoia as part of their symptom complex. The paranoia may decrease in intensity when the underlying disease is effectively treated, although since many of these diseases are progressive, the paranoia may worsen over time along with the progression of the disease's other symptoms.

A number of different medications and drugs can cause paranoia. These include corticosteroid medications, H-2 blockers (cimetidine, ranitidine, famotidine), some muscle relaxants (Baclofen), antiviral/anti-Parkinson drugs ( amantadine ), some amphetamines (including methylphenidate, or Ritalin), anti-HIV medications, anti-depressants (Nardil). Abused drugs that can prompt paranoia include alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy (MDMA), amphetamines (including Ritalin), LSD, and PCP (angel dust). Withdrawal from addictive drugs may also cause symptoms of paranoia.

Treatments

It can be quite challenging to get an individual who is suffering from paranoia to accept treatment. Their paranoid condition makes them distrustful of people's motivations towards them, so that even a medical doctor appears to be a suspicious party. Medications that may be offered are usually looked at with great distrust, and efforts at psychotherapy are considered "mind control" by a profoundly paranoid individual.

The first step to be taken when someone is suffering from paranoia is that of determining whether an easily reversible situation (such as an adverse reaction to a medication) might be causing the paranoia. If so, discontinuing the drug (either immediately or by gradually weaning the dose) might end the symptoms of paranoia.

Patients who have other diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, Huntington's disease, or Parkinson's disease may notice that their paranoid symptoms improve when their general medical condition is treated. The circumstance that can occur as their underlying disease progresses, is that the paranoia may return or worsen over time.

People who are suffering from diagnosable mental conditions such as schizophrenia or paranoid personality disorder may benefit from the use of typical antipsychotic medications, such as chlorpromazine or haloperidol , or from the newer, atypical antipsychotic medications, such as clozapine , olanzapine , or risperidone .

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or other forms of psychotherapy may be helpful for certain people who have paranoia. CBT attempts to make a person more aware of his or her actions and motivations, and tries to help the individual learn to more accurately interpret cues around him or her, in an effort to help the individual change dysfunctional behaviors. Difficulty can enter into a therapeutic relationship with a paranoid individual, due to the level of mistrust and suspicion that is likely to interfere with their ability to participate in this form of treatment.

Support groups can be helpful for some paranoid individuals—particularly helpful in assisting family members and friends who must learn to live with, and care for paranoid individuals.

Prognosis

It is difficult to predict the prognosis of an individual who has paranoia. If there is an underlying mental illness, such as schizophrenia or paranoid personality disorder, then the paranoia is likely to be a lifelong condition. It may improve with some treatments (remission), only to become exacerbated under other more stressful conditions, or with changes in medication.

Individuals who have symptoms of paranoia as part of another medical condition may also have a waxing-and-waning-course.

When paranoia is caused by the use of a particular drug or medication, it is possible that discontinuing that substance may completely reverse the symptoms of paranoia.

Resources

BOOKS

Tasman, Allan, and others. Psychiatry. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 1997.

ORGANIZATIONS

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Colonial Place Three, 2107 Wilson Blvd., Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22201.(703) 524-7600. <http://www.nami.org> .

National Institute for Mental Health. 6001 Executive Blvd., Room 8184, MSC 9663, Bethesda, MD 20892. (301)443-4513. <http://www.nimh.nih.gov> .

Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, M.D.



User Contributions:

1
Harry Mann
Report this comment as inappropriate
Oct 15, 2008 @ 5:17 pm
Thank you for this article, it helped me realize the degree of my paranoia. I cannot treat it, obviously, otherwise I would not have used a fake name and email address. Don't get me wrong, you just can't trust people on the internet anymore. Come to think of it, when could you.

The reason I started looking for symptoms of paranoia is because one day in class (in college, last week), my teacher appointed me class representative, and gave me a pile of sheets to hand out. I thought it was unusual that I should be class rep, as we had had no need for a class rep before. Then he told me to go to the library after class and photocopy the sheets previously mentioned. He then proceeded to write notes on the board. I noticed a striking similarity between what he was writing, and what he just handed me (it was word for word). I then thought it was a blessing that I would not have to write anymore notes. Then I thought "...hold on, he must want me to get lazy, then he'll stop writing the notes and having me photocopy them, then I'll fall behind, and fail. Ultimately, he wants me to fail, but look like he's helping me..." I told my theory to a friend, and he called me paranoid. That is why I came here. Now I know I'm paranoid.

He is still having me photocopy notes and he's still writing them on the board, but he doesn't see it, I will be the one to have the last laugh when I graduate his class!
2
Pachia Yang
Report this comment as inappropriate
Feb 6, 2009 @ 2:14 pm
It's kind sad, pretty sad to read all of this, thinking I might be one of a kind.

I have such a stressful life that I am going through...
I am always thinking and thinking things in my head...afraid of other people such as in college-negative thoughts,
and in my relationship too...
I don't know why...something is wrong with me, i can't focus in
school at all too...
learning is pretty hard for me, when I can not concentrate...
I might be paranoid, and it is hard to say if I am or not...

Everything just look like-it's so mess up
what have i done and am I being mental?

It's so hard to be myself right now.
I just wish, that feeling can go away...
so i can live fair and freely with other people i meet
around the in life here, in this world.
3
unknows
Report this comment as inappropriate
Aug 14, 2009 @ 3:15 pm
hi,

i was wandaring if someone has paranoia is it a permanant thing or something that can just occur say once a month?

thank you

it would be of great help to get a reply as soon as possible
4
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jun 9, 2010 @ 6:18 pm
I know my 34 year old son's behavior fits this article. He needs medical help but what as his parents can we do. The last "meltdown" was over the edge - more rage, more out of control more accusing- very much a domestic violence feel. When should I call for the police? could I say he is a 5150?
5
Jae
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jul 22, 2010 @ 2:14 pm
Is there any help available for people whose paranoia prevents them from consenting to treatment? I have a family member who desperately needs help, but consenting to treatment is one of the things he is too sick to be able to do. Asking him to consent to treatment is just like asking a person with a broken leg to walk to a hospital: he will be able to do that only after he is better, not while he still needs the treatment. Please, can anyone help us?
6
Report this comment as inappropriate
Aug 9, 2010 @ 12:12 pm
Can menstruation trigger paranoia? I'm being serious, not making a PMS joke.
7
Jessica
Report this comment as inappropriate
Aug 15, 2012 @ 9:09 am
I Have paranoia problems I'm always thinking someone laughing or talking about me I can sense feelings of people saying stuff about me and drives me crazy insane I'm afraid to talk and meet people
8
Mary Anne
Report this comment as inappropriate
Aug 12, 2013 @ 1:01 am
I have been having symptoms of paranoia for years. It has been getting worse in the last three years while I was working as an in-home caregiver for an old woman and her quadrapligic son. The woman, who was 99yrs and blind,was very verbally abusive and combative with me. Their friends and family came to the house frequently and always commented that I never talked to them because I was too shy and embarrased. They would joke about me turning red when I got embarassed. I went into a mental hospital because the stress became overwhelming. I kind of fit in at first until they learned I had mrsa (staph) pneumonia and they moved me to a private room. No one talked to me or wanted to be around me but they sure did talk about me, patients and staff alike. I had a similar experience later on when I had a hysterectomy
9
freddie
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jul 19, 2014 @ 12:12 pm
my wife is paranoid of everything somebody comes up behind her she freaks out she's on Zoloft buspar listaril all together will this cause paranoid
10
jessiebender
Report this comment as inappropriate
Dec 10, 2014 @ 11:23 pm
My husband has abandon me and the kids for the the past 8months now,
and refuse to come back because he was hold on by a woman whom he just met, for that, my self and the kids has been suffering and it has been heel of a struggle, but I decide to do all means to make sure that my family come together as it use to, then I went online there I saw so many good talk about this spell caster whose email is Holyspellcast@gmail.com Or Holyspellcast@yahoo.com so I had to contact him and explain my problem to him and in just 2days as he has promised, my husband came home and his behavior was back to the man i got married to. I cant thank the spell caster enough for what he did for me, i am so grateful and i will never stop to publish his name on the internet for the good work he has done for me,once again his email is Holyspellcast@gmail.com Or Holyspellcast@yahoo.com
11
Danielle
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jun 28, 2015 @ 8:08 am
I have always had paranoia but I didn't want to tell anyone about it.I am afraidthat if I tell.someone they will send me away. I argue with my thoughts, when I am alone they talk to me and tell me things that are not true.I have to prove to myself that they ar not true. When you hear a noise , is that someone watching me or attempting to break in, if it is someone what do they want , I'm going to die they will kill me.I have lost many relationships because of this. I am married now but I have had to hide these thoughts, but they just came out and now I have to tell someone or else he will but when I so someone will lock me up in a crazy house. I have thoughts about my stepson, that he hates me and this is why my husband cannot see his son as much anymore. When my husband is away I know what he's doing but my thoughts don't. They constantly tell me he not doing what he said, he's out with someone else, he hates you and is out finding another sane woman when I have these thoughts I can't make them go away I can just argue with them. Then my stomach gets in knots, I sweat, and I have to reach him and if he doesn't answer they race so much that I get sick. When he comes home I explode on him my accusations. I can't stop these thoughts , I would love for these to go away. But I have been d dealing with them all my life. I know I will deall with them in my future. I don't think anything will help them, or me. I am better when I am part of conversations ad with my husband But I know he hates that I am so clingy. I just want to make the thoughts go away. I have to be in control of it all or it will be bad for me.
12
stella marris
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 25, 2016 @ 7:07 am
Hello everyone here in this forum i am so glad that i have this great opportunity to come out here and share my testimony on how Dr idahosa was able to cure me totally from Hiv disease, i have been suffering from this Disease for approximately 4 Years now, i have tried various ways to get rid of this Virus out of my body, i have also purchase for Medical treatment from my doctor but they all failed, sometime back now while i was browsing the Internet i found some good quote concerning Dr idahosa Herbal Medicine, and how he has been using it to save souls from Different Disease including Cancer, someone also said she was been cured of Hiv from his medicine, and they gave out his contact details in case anyone needs his help, i decided to contact Dr idahosa and i told him about my Hiv illness he told me not to worry that he was going to send me his herbal medicine all i was to do is to send him my personal details and also my home address so he can post the Medicine to me, actually i did all that was required by this Man, i took the medicine just as prescribe by him, he told me to go for check up in the hospital which i did and to my great surprise my Doctor told me the Hiv Virus was no longer there, i even went to other hospital for better confirmation its was still the same thing, Today i am so happy that i am Negative again, Dr idahosa has given me reasons to share tears of Joy, you can reach to Dr idahosa on his email address at ( dridahosasolutioncenter@gmail.com) or call him on +2348134261542
13
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 27, 2016 @ 1:13 pm
I am from New York. I was in trouble when doctor told me that I have been diagnosed with Genital Herpes… I though about my Family, I know my Family will face a serious problem when I’m gone, I lost hope and I wept all day, but one day I was surfing the internet I found prophet suleman contact number. I called him and he guided me. I asked him for solutions and he started the remedies for my health. Thank God, now everything is fine, I’m cured by prophet suleman herbal medicine, I’m very thankful to prophet suleman and very happy with my hubby and family. email him on prophetsuleman@gmail.com
14
jenk murray
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 29, 2016 @ 2:02 am
God bless Dr.owona for his marvelous work in my life, I was diagnosed of HIV since 2014 and I was taking my medications, I wasn’t satisfied i needed to get the HIV out of my system, I searched about some possible cure for HIV i saw a comment about (drowonaspelltemple@gmail.com) how he cured HIV with his herbal medicine, I contacted him and he guided me. I asked for solutions, he started the remedy for my health, he sent me the medicine through UPS SPEED POST. I took the medicine as prescribed by him and 14 days later i was cured from HIV, Dr.owona truly you are great, do you need his help also? Why don’t you contact him through his WHATSAPP NUMBER +2348115204568.. : or you can also reach him on email address, drowonaspelltemple@gmail.com
15
Allen
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 29, 2016 @ 9:09 am
Hello my names are Ellen Peters and I’m giving a testimony about Dr.Sunshine who cured me from Herpes, when I did the test and I was confirmed positive, I was so confused because my son is just too young and I need to be there for him, so I tried all means to make sure I will be there for him, I saw a blog where Dr. Sunshine cured Herpes, I contacted him through his email and explained my problems to him, and he assured me of healing, he did what he has been doing for other people and after taking his Herbal medicine I was cured.Dr.Sunshine also a asked me to go for check-up and i was negative again... I’m so happy for what Dr. Sunshine did for me, contact him via email on sunshineherbalhome@gmail.com
16
Jessica Ruiz Hasiba
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 29, 2016 @ 10:10 am
Do you know that there is a great Herbal doctor who can cure any disease? Like Cancer, HIV, HPV, syphilis, diabetes, herpes, anthrax, madness, low spam count, pregnancy And also bring back your Lover E.t.c. Well my main reason why i am writing this right now is to inform the whole world about the great deeds, DR. ITUA did for me. My name is Jessica Ruiz Hasiba, I was diagnosed of HIV in the year 2012 ever since then I was taking my medications, until I met the great spell caster, though I never believed in spell. I saw many testimonies on how he cured deadly diseases. I contacted him through his Email ituaherbalcenter@gmail.com I Email him, he asked me to send him my information, which I did. He told me that his god’s required some items in which he will use in casting a curing spell on me. I don’t know where to find the items he required. He told me that the only alternative is for me to send him the money, and then he can help me to get the items and herbs for my treatment. I promised myself to do anything to get cured. I sent him the money. He bought the items and casted a curing spell on me and also sent me a herbal potion, I used it as He instructed. 7 days later he asked me to go for check up, when I did the check up I was tested HIV Negative. I am so happy, I can not stop thanking Him, if you passing through hardship and you need a way out, kindly contact him via his email on ituaherbalcenter@gmail.com add me on face book: Jessica Hasiba
17
Williams Donald
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 30, 2016 @ 2:14 pm
I want to appreciate Dr Suku for using his herbal medicine to cure my family herpes virus,since 3years ago my family have been having this herpes disease and it have been giving my family challenges,we were so perplexed cause my family have taken several drugs to be cure but every of our effort was in-vain,a fateful morning i was browsing through the internet then i saw several testimonies about Dr Suku curing people of their herpes disease immediately i contacted Dr Suku on his email:greatsukusolutiontemple@hotmail.com,told him about my family troubles and he told me that my family must be cure,so he prepare a herbal medicine for my family which we use for 2 weeks and everything was like a dream for my family,my family herpes disease was totally gone,why don't you contact him today and be free from your disease,his Mobile:+2348074839242
18
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 30, 2016 @ 4:16 pm
I'm giving a testimony about DR Aziegbe the great Herbalist, he has the cure to all manner of diseases, he cured my herpes simplex virus, though I went through different website I saw different testimonies about different spell casters and herbalist, I was like: 'Many people's have the herpes simplex virus cure why are people still suffering from it?' I though of it, then I contact DR Aziegbe via email, I didn't believe him that much, I just wanted to give him a try, he replied my mail and Needed some Information about me, then I sent them to him, he prepared it (CURE) and sent it to me through Airfreight Online Courier Service for delivery, he gave my details to the Courier Office, they told me that 2-3 days I will receive the parcel and i took the medicine as prescribed by him and I went for check-up 2 week after finishing the medicine, I was tested herpes simplex virus negative, if you are herpes simplex virus patient do me a favor by you contacting him and I assure anyone who is suffering it,your problem will never remain the same again you will be cured.ALSO DR Aziegbe help my sister husband to cure his HIV/AIDS he was suffering from it for the past 3 years, After he {cure} my herpes simplex virus, then my sister heard about it, she went home to tell her husband about DR aziegbe then her husband email him and explain his problem to him, he also prepare herbal medicine and he use Airfreight courier service to sent him the herbal medicine and he instruct him on how he will be using it for 14 days, That on the 15 days of it, he should go and check his self in the hospital and he did as he was instructed by DR Aziegbe to GOD be the glory he was cure of his HIV/AIDS which he was suffering from for the past 3 years thanks to these great man we will ever remain grateful to you sir indeed might work you did in our families. When you contact him, make sure you tell him that I refer you.. contact him via: DRAZIEGBEHERBALHOMEOFSOLUTION@GMAIL.COM

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA