Paranoia is the condition where a person has string of negative and uncomfortable thoughts leading to fear and anxiety. It leads to irrational trepidations and illusions. In this state he holds on strongly to his delusional beliefs. These beliefs are exaggerated and are not based on any rational facts. People suffering from paranoia constantly anticipate something bad and blame it on others. The common form of paranoia that exists among human beings is anxiety. People feel distressed and are left feeling threatened but will still manage to function normally. But there are more severe forms of paranoia that some people suffer from. These are less common but can intensely affect the quality of life. People feel alarmingly terrified and secluded under such paranoia. The people suffering from placid paranoia suffer from irrational thoughts for a short period of time and know at the back of their minds that their fear is baseless. On the other hand people suffering from more severe paranoia suffer from it for a long period of time and think that their fear is very real. There are many forms of extreme paranoia like paranoid schizophrenia where the patient hears voices, which leads to paralyzing threats and fears. Then there is delusional or paranoid disorder where a person develops a very strong and conflicting idea in his head which leads to a dysfunctional life. There is another kind called the paranoid personality disorder which makes a person very suspicious of others, so much so that he feels that people are constantly plotting against him. There are other mental diseases as well that are caused by paranoid thoughts like: bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, postnatal psychosis, etc.
What Causes Paranoia
Though the exact cause cannot be pinned, it is generally stated that paranoia occurs when there is a breakdown of a patient’s mind. The breakdown is of the various mental and emotional functions, due to which he/she is not able to come in terms with reality and starts to live in fear coupled with delusions. The cause for the breakdown is unclear and could range from many things like repressed dreams, memories, profound fears, etc. Though the cause may be a minor or a major one, once determined, it helps the treatment become easier and helps both the patient and the counselor to get over the disorder.
Symptoms Of Paranoia
- People suffering from paranoia are suspicious of other people’s intention towards them, thinking that they are under perpetual threat of physical, emotional, psychological and financial harm.
- These people are constantly occupied with the irrational thoughts about questioning the loyalty of their own friends and family.
- These people severely shy away from confiding in people.
- These people read too much into people’s words and actions.
- There people are excessively resentful and do not forgive other people even for their harmless mistakes.
- These people are self paralyzingly suspicious of their partner or sexual mate’s fidelity.
How To Overcome Paranoia
Recognize The Problem: If you think that your fears and anxieties are hampering the normal functional flow of your life then you should acknowledge that you are suffering from paranoia. There is no need to live in denial, because then that would cause you more problems. If your paranoia is out of your control then you should ask for the help from your friends and family or you can directly contact a professional. Do not keep yourself in the dark about it and pay attention to your dysfunctional behavior patterns and attitude. Question yourself if all of your feelings are based on facts and rationality. If the answer is no then you have a problem, you should accept it.
Origin Of Paranoia: Now that you have established in your mind that you have a problem and you are keeping a watch on every thought of yours, it is time to go back in time and figure out the origin of your paranoia. Fears and anxieties leading to paranoia starts from an early age in a person’s mind or because of a life altering experience; you might have a traumatizing childhood or very unhappy growing up years that has lead you to a dysfunctional mindset. Try to assess the problem and go up to its roots. This might help you to stop being irrationally suspicious of people, since now you know that the problem is not the current event but because of a past occurring. You can take help of a professional to figure out the source of your paranoia because it might be a tricky task to do on your own since it calls for a lot of unfolding of memories.
Reason With Yourself: Spend time with your thoughts trying to rationalize them. Think in the depth why you are suspicious of people and why you fear what you fear. Try to pen down these thoughts so that you can track them in the end when you start to get confused. This will help you to calm down and relax. You might start to see the impracticality of your fears and nervousness.
Extend Yourself To People: Since by now you will know that most of your fears are untrue and other people have absolutely no contribution in making you feel anxious, you can start to be more friendly to people. You can start a step by step process where you can try shedding your inhibitions with people and place your trust in them; give them a benefit of doubt. Do not jump to conclusions or be quick to judge and believe in the goodness of people.
Change In Lifestyle: Try to be more fit physically. A healthy mind can only reside in a healthy body. Take proper diet and include a fitness regime in your life. This will help you to take control over your body which will manifest itself in letting you take control over your mind eventually. Thinking about fears and feeling anxious all the time leaves your mind and body exhausted. Bring in more calmness into your life, introduce meditation in your life and watch over your thoughts in a more peaceful way.
Take Therapy: There is no harm in taking professional help if your problem is bigger than yourself. Talking to a professional about your problems will only bring more clarity in your life and will help you sort out your thoughts quicker. Having someone else to deal with your deep down issues, who knows what they are doing, will help you achieve better perspective and make you less suspicious and self-absorbed.