In our daily lives, many people have heard the phrase “stop being so paranoid.” Oftentimes, the word paranoia is used interchangeably for feeling worried, or to describe a person who may be overly concerned. Actually, paranoia is an intense, persistent mistrust of others, which frequently results from impairing, unfounded suspicion and a sense of anxiety and/or fear.
In the United States, movies, TV shows, and blogs usually distort and stigmatize people living with paranoia. Unfortunately, many people use the word “paranoid” without an adequate understanding of what this word means. So, what are some symptoms of paranoia? What does paranoid behavior actually look like? There may not be one correct answer to this question, but here are a few symptoms that are consistent with a person exhibiting paranoid behavior.
- Holding a unfounded, persistent, and strong concern that other people are attempting to harm them
- Difficulty maintaining or initiating relationships because of consistent mistrust and blaming of others
- A sense of hypersensitivity and hostility, coupled with accusatory remarks toward other people
- Intense suspicion of others, resulting in distant relationships and argumentative communication patterns
Like many personality disorders, paranoia can be difficult to treat. Many people who exhibit paranoid behaviors do not seek support because they don’t recognize how these behaviors may be diminishing their overall functioning and well-being. For this reason, paranoia can be particularly hard on friends and family members. However, one common treatment for paranoid thoughts is cognitive behavioral therapy.
If you know a person who may be struggling with paranoia, please search our database to contact support. Individualized attention from a psychologist may help you form a better understanding of how to best support your friend or loved one.
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