Paranoia is a type of delusion where the affected individual thinks they are being watched or others act against them. If you are paranoid, the thoughts you experience are not realistic.
Causes of Paranoia
Most people experience paranoia more than once in their lifetime. However, paranoid feelings occur more frequently in vulnerable people.
For instance, if you are walking in a dark path at night, you might feel that someone is following you. If you are depressed, you might think that the world is against you. Sleeplessness can also make you paranoid because it tires your brain. The good thing about these feelings is that they go away once the adverse situation is over.
When paranoia goes beyond ordinary human experiences, it becomes problematic. The leading causes of problematic paranoia are drug abuse and mental health issues.
Some of the mental health complications associated with paranoia are depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and paranoid personality disorder.
The drugs known to make users paranoid include alcohol, cocaine, LSD, marijuana, and methamphetamine. The higher the drug intake, the more intense the paranoid feelings will be.
Symptoms of Paranoia
Here are some common manifestations of paranoia.
Ideas of Reference
This involves believing that what you see or hear on electronic, print, and social media contains a special message for you.
Overestimating Your Role
In this case, you believe that you have a unique role to play in the world. However, others are either unaware or don’t acknowledge your significance.
Here, you think that the way others interact with you, like talking, seeing, and even non-verbal cues, has a special meaning while in reality, they don’t.
You find yourself questioning the motives of others, either loudly or in your mind. You start wondering why they are doing a particular thing, especially when you see them. This can also happen when others are not around.
Paranoia can make you start distrusting others, including your friends, family, and loved ones.
These are only but a few of the signs of paranoia. Generally, the condition makes you see or feel unrealistic things.
Treatment for Paranoia
Paranoia is a severe condition that needs attention immediately after diagnosis. That said, affected individuals usually fear seeking help because they believe it makes them look inferior in others’ eyes.
When you visit the clinic, your doctor will assess you to determine your paranoid feelings’ and the underlying cause.
If the cause is drug abuse, you might need to undergo detoxification. As challenging as it is, it is the only way to overcome the condition. It is worth noting that some narcotics trigger dormant mental health issues.
Most patients tend to recover from paranoia, but the success rate is dependent on the underlying condition. Pharmaceutical drugs are effective in treating paranoia caused by mental complications like bipolar disorder and depression. However, a physician must recommend the right medication for your case.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is useful in treating paranoia caused by drug and alcohol abuse. It can also help in treating paranoid personality disorder.