What is paranoia?
Paranoia is a thought process that causes you to have an irrational suspicion or mistrust of others. People with paranoia may feel like they’re being persecuted or that someone is out to get them. They may feel the threat of physical harm even if they aren’t in danger. People with dementia sometimes have paranoia, and it also can occur in people who abuse drugs. Paranoid thoughts can also be a symptom of a mental illness or a personality disorder.
_ Symptoms of paranoia.
Everyone experiences paranoid thoughts at some point in their life, but paranoia is the constant experience of symptoms and unfounded feelings of paranoia. The symptoms of paranoia vary in severity and can interfere with all areas of life. The symptoms include:
1. A constant stress or anxiety related to beliefs they have about others.
2. A mistrust of others.
3. Feeling disbelieved or misunderstood.
4. Feeling victimized or persecuted when there isn’t a threat.
6. Always question what others are doing, whether internally or out loud.
7. Belief that you have a special role or importance in the world that is not recognized, or been discouraged by, others.
8. The belief that there is special meaning in the way people perceive you and their tone of voice, or other aspects of their behavior that have no real meaning.
Mistrust of others and constant anxiety can make relationships and interactions with others difficult, causing problems with employment and personal relationships.
People with paranoia may feel that others are plotting against them or trying to cause them physical or emotional harm, and maybe even stealing from them. They may be unable to work with others and can be hostile or detached, leading to isolation.
Paranoid schizophrenia is a form of mental illness, and people with it can be distrustful of others and may be suspicious and guarded. They may also have delusions or believe that others are trying to hurt them. A person with schizophrenia may also experience hallucinations.
_ Causes of paranoia.
There are several reasons behind developing paranoia, which may be as follows:
1. Lack of sleep.
Losing one night’s sleep will not cause you to become paranoid, but if you suffer from persistent insomnia, it can distract you during the day, causing you to clash with others unintentionally.You may think that people have grudges against you as a result of your hallucination.
When the level of stress in your life rises, you may feel suspicious of others and develop paranoia.
Stress is not intended to cause stress only that it is a negative thing, such as: illness or job loss, as happy occasions, such as marriage, may also cause you anxiety and tension.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that makes it difficult for you to differentiate between what is real and what is imagined, which makes you more likely to develop paranoia.
3. Emotional fluctuations.
Your rapid emotional and mood swings that make you love someone at an instantaneous speed, and then hate them in the next moment, can make you more likely to develop paranoia.
Medicines that contain narcotics, stimulants, or alcohol contribute to hallucinations that may later develop into paranoia as a result of continuing to take these chemicals.
5. Memory loss.
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can change your brain in a way that makes you more fearful and suspicious of others.
_ How is paranoia treated?
Treatment depends on the cause and severity of symptoms and may include medication and psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy aims to help people with paranoia:
1. Accept their vulnerability.
2. Increase their self-esteem.
3. Develop trust in others.
4. Learn to express and handle their emotions in a positive manner.
Treatment for paranoid personality disorder usually involves psychotherapy to help you develop coping skills to improve socialization and communication.
Sometimes, doctors prescribe anti-anxiety medication to treat paranoid personality disorder for people who are often anxious or fearful.
Atypical antipsychotic medications may also help relieve symptoms.
If your paranoia is part of a psychiatric issue, your doctor will refer you to a psychiatrist or a psychologist who will then perform an evaluation and clinical psychological tests to help them determine your mental status.
Other conditions that can occur in people with paranoia are:
▪️ Bipolar disorder.
MaryAnn DePietro (8-1-2014), “Paranoia”، www.healthline.com
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