Paranoia Personality Disorder Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Some quick myths and facts about Paranoia Personality Disorder

Myth 1: Paranoia is a personality disorder consisting of false beliefs.

Fact: Paranoia is a disorder that consists of fear. The symptoms include extreme privacy, finger-pointing, hypersensitivity, mistrusts, prejudice, and much more.

Myth 2: Hallucinations are one of the symptoms related to paranoia personality disorder.

Fact: Definitely not. Hallucinations are the symptoms of schizophrenia and don’t have any connection with paranoia.

Myth 3: The people suffering from paranoia feel awkward socially.

Fact: People suffering from paranoia have trouble with every relationship as they mistrust everyone. Being in a relationship is quite difficult for people having paranoia.

Myth 4: A particular cause regarding paranoia is known to the doctors

Fact: False. There is no particular cause known that leads to paranoia, a personality disorder.

Myth 5: Paranoia can be treated easily.

Fact: This personality disorder is not easy to treat. The treatment involves various therapies and medications depending on the condition of the patient.

Paranoia: An Introduction

Do you feel constantly that someone is threatening you? That continual feeling of someone following you, keeping a watch on you, etc. is termed as Paranoia in medical terms.

Paranoia, termed as a Paranoid Personality Disorder, is an eccentric personality disorder. In this condition, people feel threatened without any proof of what they are feeling or observing. The patient suffering from the situation might know that the situation isn’t having any authenticity yet, they seem to be troubled very often.

The patients having paranoia highly believe that they are been persecuted, and have delusional images keeping themselves in the center. They mistrust every relationship and often are found suspecting others. No doubt, everyone at one or the other way is suffering from minor paranoia, but the severe conditions can lead to anxiety and fear which comes with a major impact on the social life of the patient.

The individuals having paranoia might also suffer from other psychological health issues like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and other medical conditions. Again, intoxication due to drug abuse or alcohol can also lead to paranoia effects.

What are the possible things related to paranoid?

Paranoia can be different for different people. However, there are still particular types related to paranoid thoughts. Here are some of the common things related to paranoid.

  • Someone is talking about you behind your back or people or organizations are keeping a watch on you both online and physically
  • There are people willing to represent you in a bad condition or exclude you from the gathering
  • Feeling of high risk of getting physically harmed or even killed by anyone
  • People are using double meaning words or hints for threatening you secretly or even bring the feeling of badness
  • People are desperately and intentionally trying to irritate or upset you with any kind of action or words
  • The feeling of your money getting whipped by others or even taking the possession of your goods or property
  • Thoughts and actions getting restricted by other people
  • The feel of being controlled or governed by others who are targeting you

The patients of paranoia go through such thoughts either constantly or occasionally, but they have a strong impact on which braces as time passes or during any stressful situation. Such situations can lead to too much distress which can be disturbing. In severe conditions, people might also harm themselves.

What are the symptoms of paranoia?

No doubt, the feeling of threatening and nervousness is the primary symptom of paranoia, the issue can also be accompanied by various other symptoms which depend on the condition, disorder, or the underlying disease. Some of the symptoms of paranoia include:

  • Being aggressive, hostile, and defensive
  • The belief of yourself being right every time and having trouble while relaxing
  • Getting offended very easily
  • Having difficulty in compromising, forgiving, or accepting criticism
  • Looking for hidden meanings even in the normal behavior of the people
  • Difficulty in trusting or confiding with other people
  • Believing you are special or important in the whole world and are not recognized by others
  • Questing the actions or motives of other people in your mind
  • Having trust issues with friends, family, strangers, and other people

There are just a few symptoms related to paranoia. The symptoms can be minimum or severe depending on the paranoia type and severity the patient is going through.

Is anxiety and paranoia thoughts the same?

Many people think the thoughts during anxiety and paranoia are the same. However, there is a thin border that differentiates both of them. Paranoia thought is one of the types of anxious thoughts. Increased anxiety levels can result in paranoia, which affects the thoughts, and creates fearful thoughts.

Being anxious to some extent is quite normal, particularly when you are dealing with issues regarding your job, education performance, or even in relationships. But when the level rises to severity, and you start thinking about others’ reactions and thoughts that threaten you, it can be termed as paranoia thoughts. The mental illness slowly rises from mild to unadorned levels which can be harmful or dangerous.

So, if your level of anxiety turns out to be somber, and if you feel that your thoughts are getting paranoid, the anxiety level is surely turning dangerous.

What are the causes of Paranoia?

Talking about the causes of Paranoia, there are no proper causes that result in paranoia. The causes can be related to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain, increased stress levels, heredity, or any traumatic event. Injury in the brain or any infection there can also lead to paranoia.

Here are some possible causes of paranoia.

1. Reduced Sleeping Hours

Having a restless sleep at night once in a year is surely not going to lead you towards paranoia. But if this happens every now and then, it surely needs proper attention. This leads to unclear thoughts and misunderstandings. You might feel that the world is going against you, their actions are against you, etc. So, if you are often facing difficulties in sleeping, and you observe things and thoughts changing around you, it’s the right time to seek a doctor for getting healthy mentally.

2. Increased Stress Levels

When the stress levels increase in life, tensions also get added to it leading to suspicious feelings for others. Again, stress levels are not only connected with loss of job or illness, even happy occasions like weddings can lead to a boost the stress levels. So, make sure you carry out required steps to reduce the tension and stress of life which includes activities like relaxation after a hectic day, avoid things that stress you, spend time with family and friends, find a reason to enjoy and laugh, workout, meditation, etc.

3. Intake of Drugs

Just as drugs lead to various health issues, they are also harmful to the mental health of the user. The intake of marijuana, cocaine, psychotropic mushrooms, LSD, methamphetamine, and even alcohol for the long term can lead to paranoia. The harmful chemicals obtained from such stimulants can also result in short term hallucinations or paranoia thoughts for days or weeks. Again, if you are suffering from anxiety or are in the initial stage of depression, the intake of drugs can worsen the paranoid situation.

4. Memory Loss

To your surprise, there are certain mental diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease that can lead to paranoia. Memory loss as you age is quite common, however, changes in the brain can add suspiciousness to the life of the sufferer. The patients suffering from dementia start hiding things like money, jewelry, or any other things as they find the surrounding people having bad intentions of stealing it away. This is one kind of paranoia cause.

Apart from all these, some other causes of paranoia include delusional disorder, low self-confidence, psychosis, genetics, side effects of recreational drugs, external environment, deprived childhood experiences, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, social repression, etc.

How is Paranoia diagnosed?

As paranoia is difficult to track in the initial stage, the medical practitioners are sure to help you out in diagnosing it. The health care practitioner would inquire about the symptoms you are suffering from as well as might talk in detail about your medical history and habits. A physical evaluation is also carried out to check on any other medical conditions along with paranoia. If required, the health care practitioner would suggest you visit some psychologist, psychiatrist, or mental health professional for further diagnosing.

On visiting the psychologist, he would suggest an all-inclusive assessment of the mind and body. The psychologist would again go through your childhood, work, school history, and your relationships with others. They might also place some imagined situations in front of you and look for your response. All these would help the psychologist in learning the situation, the level of paranoia the patient would be at, its severity, etc. On the basis of all this information and your reactions, he might plan proper treatment for the patient.

What is the treatment for Paranoia Disorder?

The treatment of paranoia includes complete therapy which includes both physical and mental involvement with a strategically developed plan. For proper results, the doctors might need to make a complete change in your lifestyle.

In the initial phase of the treatment, the doctor might suggest a healthy and well-balanced diet plan, plenty of sleep, and required exercises. All these changes are a part of improving the mental balance which can help in reducing the number of paranoia thoughts.

Along with medications like benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and antidepressants, the doctors might also recommend going for particular therapies that are listed below.

1. Talking Therapy

Talking therapy is essential in understanding the life experiences of the sufferer as well as in developing coping strategies and different ways to deal with them. The therapy involves talking about the behavior, feelings, and thoughts related to the patient. The therapy aims the following:

  • Gives you personal space and time for talking with someone who isn’t going to judge your words
  • Assists you in sensing things that help in better understanding for yourself
  • It helps in resolving complicated feelings or find different ways that help in living with them
  • Helps in recognizing unhelpful patterns for the way one thinks, acts, or changes things

The talking therapy is usually carried out only with the psychologist and group counseling for the same is avoided as patients find it difficult to share in crowds.

2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

One of the common therapies experimented by doctors for paranoia is cognitive-behavioral therapy. Also termed as CBT, the therapy helps in determining the way the patients think, obtain the belief evidence, and look for possible explanations to improve the condition. CBT is also helpful in reducing the anxiety and stress levels that can worsen paranoia.

3. Other essential therapies

Apart from the above therapies, psychodynamic therapy, counseling, and family therapy are also widely suggested by psychologists which are also termed as types of talking therapies. Openly talking about the situation through the therapy can help in getting to the roots of the beliefs which helps in overcoming their fear. Through such therapies, it becomes easier to treat fear and anxiety levels.

Some psychologists also go for art and creative therapy which is based on art and creativity. Through such activities, the patients find it easier to express themselves and their feelings. Such therapy is also suggested when the patient finds it difficult to deal with talking therapy.

Summary

Paranoia is a condition that can be difficult to treat because of the misgiving of health care practitioners. As there is no particular treatment, cause, or symptom related to the disease, the disorder can lead to possible complications or permanent damage. Again, the outlook of the issue depends on whether the sufferer is ready to accept the treatment and react accordingly.

For the individuals who adopt the treatment, start with a job, and maintain relationships, it becomes a little possible for them to recover. However, the treatment needs to be carried out all over life as there is no particular cure to paranoia.

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