Paralysing Paranoid Personality Problems
By Khalidha Naushad
Have you ever felt you were being threatened in some way? Such as people watching you, acting against you or that people are ‘out to get you.’ Even though it is not real, you feel like you are the subject of persistent and intrusive attention of others. Almost everyone has this feeling at some point, but it is quite troubling if it happens too often. This is a case of paranoia. As mentioned, having these feelings from time to time maybe a reflection of a mental illness but understanding the disorder and its causes can help you cope up and get the right treatment for it.
Anxiety vs. paranoid thoughts
Anxiety or fear plays a big role in paranoia. These beliefs are sometimes referred to as delusions, although a paranoid individual is certain that his sentiments are accurate. An anxious thought is a paranoid idea. Anxiety is natural, especially when you are going through a difficult time in your life. Going to a party or entering into a conversation with a large group of people, especially if you are an introvert like me, can make you feel as if others will criticise what you say or how you dress and behave. You might walk into a party by yourself and think, "Everyone is wondering why I'm alone." This is not a mental disorder, but feelings of fear and panic that last a long time or interfere with your daily life may be a sign of something more serious. The Centre for Clinical Psychology of Australia, explains more about how paranoia and anxiety thoughts differ. Paranoid ideation involves misperception of oneself as the target of another’s thoughts or actions. Someone with paranoid ideation will express beliefs that others are taking special notice of them or that another’s behaviour is targeted toward them. Someone who is anxious might express more generalised beliefs, the danger to themselves and others.
Justified suspicions vs. paranoia
Whatever has been said or done, we all have reason to be suspicious at times. And not all suspicious thoughts are paranoid, because we have proof for justified suspicions. That stated, proof and justification can refer to a variety of things. It can be tough to tell whether your ideas are paranoid or justifiable suspicions at times. Continue reading to learn what constitutes a paranoid notion. Your paranoid thoughts are your perceptions of others. You often wonder what they would think or assume about you and your actions. As previously stated, when you believe your thoughts are true but someone else believes they are paranoid, this can be quite tough. The 'risks' that you face may differ from what others believe. In reality, they approach hazards differently and hold distinct beliefs based on the same facts. Ultimately, it’s in your hands to decide it for yourself.
Symptoms of paranoia
The attribution bias is a common symptom of paranoia. These people have a skewed sense of reality and frequently have more hostile beliefs. A paranoid person may see someone else's unintentional behaviour as malicious or menacing.
- Be easily offended
- Find it difficult to trust others
- Not cope with any type of criticism
- Assign harmful meanings to other people’s remarks
- Be always on the defensive
- Be hostile, aggressive and argumentative
- Not be able to compromise
- Find it difficult, if not impossible, to ‘forgive and forget’
- Assume that people are talking ill of them behind their back
- Not be able to confide in anyone
- Find relationships difficult
- Consider the world to be a place of constant threat
- Feel persecuted by the world at large
- Believe in unfounded ‘conspiracy theories’.
What causes paranoia?
No one knows what the actual cause is. Having paranoid thoughts are normal in human experience and can be caused due to extreme stress. It is particularly common among people who are vulnerable. For instance, when I am walking alone at night or even in daylight surrounded by a crowd of people, I might believe I am being followed or watched, even if I am not. This usually happens when you are under a lot of stress or when you have not had enough sleep. These paranoid feelings generally are not a cause for concern and will go away once the situation is over. The causes of paranoia are unclear and depend on the condition with which it is associated. Read throughout to know about what may cause all these paranoid thoughts.
- Social circumstances appear to be highly influential. It seems to be associated with feelings of powerlessness and vicitimisation, enhanced by social situations.
- Many more mood-based symptoms, grandiosity and guilt, may underlie functional paranoia.
- A paranoid reaction may be caused from a decline in brain circulation as a result of high blood pressure or hardening of the arterial walls.
- Although the impact of a single restless night is less, having too little sleep can start taking a toll.
- Use of drugs and substance.
- Financial hardship.
- Having confusing or unsettling experiences or feelings that you can't easily explain.
- If you are isolated.
- If you have experienced trauma in the past.
- Some studies show a link of genes playing a role while others don’t; this is why the causes of paranoia are unclear.
- A combination of factors – it may be that a number of genetic and environmental factors working in combination cause paranoia.
To get treatment before things get extreme is better for you and people around. To cure any type of disorder, it is important to get plenty of sleep and maintain a healthy balanced diet. Most importantly, exercise! Or, just move around when you think your paranoid thoughts are at extreme. Because, all these are a part of a mental balance that can help keep paranoid thoughts at bay. What more could you want than for someone to talk to? Who, in your opinion, is a better partner than you? This only works if you can remain aware that your thoughts are irrational.
Talking to oneself in a genuine manner can actually assist you in overcoming paranoid thoughts. Remember that you are not insane for thinking things like this, and tell yourself things like, "I'm worried about something that is highly unlikely to be true." People with Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) rarely seek therapy because they do not realise their thoughts are unrealistic. They do not see themselves having a problem. Every mental disorder requires a therapy in order to be completely out of it. Seeking help from a friend, co-workers or even therapists is not a mistake but suffering alone is. It’s an important topic that must be discussed and it is definitely not attention seeking. Remember that healing takes time.