Paranoia refers to the irrational, persistent feeling or belief that others are trying to harm you physically or are otherwise out to get you. This pattern of thinking involves intense, unfounded suspicion and distrust. The deep mistrust of others associated with paranoia causes significant relationships and daily functioning problems.
Paranoia is linked to several mental health disorders, including paranoid personality disorder (PPD), bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Harmony Hills is a free-standing residential mental health center providing a comprehensive treatment psychotherapy program in a non-hospital setting. We treat paranoia through the use of evidence-based and holistic mental health therapies. Reach out to us at 855.494.0357 to learn more about treatment for paranoia.
Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Paranoia
Everyone can experience paranoia from time to time but generally recognize it as not reality-based. Clinical paranoia is different when the person doesn’t feel paranoid because they believe their thoughts and feelings are accurate, even when they are not based on reality.
Some of the signs and symptoms of paranoia include:
- Being defensive, hostile, or aggressive
- Not being able to compromise or forgive others
- Being easily offended and unable to accept criticism
- Hypervigilance and inability to relax
- Not being able to trust or confide in others
- Reading hidden meaning into others’ everyday behaviors
- Intense fear of being deceived or taken advantage of
- Preoccupation with the belief that others have hidden agendas
Paranoia manifests differently for everyone; symptoms can range from mild to severe. If you are worried that you are being paranoid, you are most likely experiencing paranoid thoughts caused by anxiety. In clinical paranoia, you are 100% convinced, even when facts can prove that your thoughts or beliefs are not valid.
Examples of Paranoid Thoughts Related to Mental Health Disorders
While paranoia is different for everyone based on their makeup, circumstances, and type of mental health disorder, there are some common themes. Examples of mental health-related paranoid thoughts include:
- Believing that you are being followed or spied on by an individual, organization, or government agency
- Thinking someone is stealing from you
- Believing others are deliberately excluding you or trying to make you feel bad
- Feeling like everyone is talking about you and staring at you
- Misinterpreting expressions or gestures from others as an inside joke about you
- Believing that others are trying to hurt or kill you
- Thinking others are whispering about you or laughing at you
The root causes of paranoia typically begin with a physical exam to rule out medical causes or substance use disorders. If neither of these is causing paranoia, a psychological evaluation can pinpoint specific mental health disorders.
Treatment for Mental Health Paranoia
Treatment for mental health paranoia depends on the underlying causes and the severity of symptoms. Most people require a combination of medication and psychotherapy. In milder cases and individuals with a strong support network and healthy living environment, outpatient therapy can be effective. However, more severe mental health paranoia requires residential treatment.
Finding the proper diagnosis and most effective treatment can take time, so it is vital to have patience in the process. With the appropriate treatment, acute symptoms can be managed fairly quickly. Once stabilized, you can fully engage in the therapeutic process.
Overcome Mental Health Paranoia at Harmony Hills
Paranoia itself is not a mental illness. Rather, it is a symptom of an undiagnosed mental health disorder such as bipolar, delusional, paranoid schizophrenia, or paranoid personality disorder. Diagnosing the root cause of mental health paranoia can be challenging because an exaggerated sense of mistrust is common across many mental health disorders. Additionally, many people suffering from mental health paranoia avoid doctors, hospitals, and mental health professionals out of their deep-rooted mistrust and fear of being harmed.
Harmony Hills offers a safe, secure, and welcoming residential environment where clients can receive a full assessment, accurate diagnosis, and ensuing mental health treatment. If you or a loved one suffers from mental health paranoia, reach out to our team today. Use our secure online form or call 855.494.0357.