Paranoia is a mental health condition that is thought to stem from severe anxiety and can cause you strong suspicions or beliefs that may not be grounded in reality. Some patients may feel as though people or forces are watching them or out to get them.

Though everyone may experience feelings of paranoia in their life, for example when walking alone at night you may feel as though you are being followed or watched. Those feelings often subside once the situation is over, however, patients diagnosed with paranoia experience these feelings constantly and may interfere or disrupt their day-to-day life.

The cause of paranoia can be due to several mental and emotional factors. Paranoia can often be a symptom of a mental health disorder or personality disorder. Other common causes of paranoia include genetics, stress, lack of sleep, and substance abuse.

Common symptoms of paranoia may include:

  • Being defensive, hostile, and aggressive
  • Believing that hidden messages are being transmitted to you through movies, tv, newspapers, and the internet
  • Inability to relax
  • Intense feelings of mistrust or suspicion
  • Not being able to compromise, forgive, or accept criticism
  • Overthinking interactions that others may mean something in the way they look, speak, or interact with you
  • Thinking you have a special role or significance in the world that is unrecognized, unacknowledged or is being thwarted by others

Your doctor will be able to do a medical exam and discussion of your symptoms and medical history. Depending on the findings, your doctor may refer you to a psychologist or other mental health professional for further evaluation and tests.

Treatment will depend on the cause and severity of symptoms, which may include medication and psychotherapy. Therapy aims to help patients accept their vulnerability, increase self-esteem, develop trust with others, and learn to handle emotions and symptoms positively. If the cause is due to a mental health disorder, treatment will also involve helping patients to manage and treat the specific disorder.

For more information on paranoia and our services or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office.