If you know someone who you think might be paranoid, you may be curious about their behaviors. Here are 10 common behaviors of someone who is paranoid.
What is paranoia?
Paranoia, according to a recent study, Paranoia has two main characteristics:
- The belief that something bad will happen
- The belief that people want to hurt them
Those who suffer from paranoia have the feeling of being watched or threatened by the people around them. Paranoia is common, although it varies in intensity and frequency in people. Everyone is a little paranoid from time to time, especially when you feel vulnerable. You can worry about things, even if you know they are not based on reality.
But clinical paranoia is different. It is associated with a mental health disorder that causes sufferers to live with constant anxiety and fear that people are trying to deceive, lie, or hurt them. It is a disabling disorder.
There are some common symptoms of people suffering from paranoia. They can present a little differently depending on the person and the severity of their condition. These are the behaviors you may see in someone who you think might be paranoid. According to the National Institute of HealthHere are some of the main red flags.
1 – Distrust
Paranoid people have a hard time trusting people. They assume that people are going to hurt them. Because of this, they will limit your social contact with people. They begin to question the loyalty of their relatives, assuming they are trying to exploit or deceive them.
2 – Looking for hidden meanings
Similar to distrust, a paranoid person questions people’s motives, assuming they want to do harm. They look for hidden meanings in what people say or do. If someone looks at them, they are suddenly suspicious of the person’s intentions.
3 – Feeling betrayed
Feelings of betrayal are common in a person suffering from paranoia. They assume their the couple is unfaithful for them or their boss plans to fire them. It is difficult to convince them otherwise.
4 – Always on guard
A person struggling with paranoia is constantly on the alert, watching and waiting for someone or something to hurt them. They feel persecuted by the government or their family. They cannot let their guard down and will not share personal information for fear of it being used against them.
5 – Difficulty forgiving
Those who suffer from paranoia cannot forgive people. Instead, they will hold a grudge and seek revenge. They assume that the person who apologized was lying to them. In addition, they feel that they are never wrong about what they do or about their valuations of people.
6 – Defensive of imagined criticism
Paranoid people, ready to defend themselves, become hostile if they think someone is criticizing them. They stay away from family members and, if they have a partner, they become jealous and critical of them.
7 – Suspicion of other reasons
They are very reserved and suspicious.. If a delivery man says hello, he will read something negative on it. Their fears fuel these suspicions and they are often caught up in conspiracy theories, which only heightens their suspicions.
8 – Worried about being cheated
Paranoid people worry that other people are trying to trick them. That is why it is so difficult to help them. They assume the wrong motives of those closest to them. This worry causes them stress, which can lead to deeper symptoms of paranoia.
9 – Argumentative
Those who suffer from paranoia believe that they are always right. Anyone who disagrees with them is perceived as wanting to hurt them. They will retaliate and react in anger when someone tries to explain why they are wrong. Paranoid people become hostile and stubborn, refusing to cooperate at any level because cooperation would be admitting that they are wrong.
10 – I can’t relax
Constant fears, worries and mistrust in people make paranoid people nervous and unable to relax. They believe that the government or others are trying to catch them, so they must be vigilant. They can’t sleep, which can lead to worse symptoms of paranoia.
How are people diagnosed with paranoia?
If you or a loved one suffers from paranoia, seek the help of a doctor. The doctor will evaluate to make the proper diagnosis. Here are things you can expect your doctor to do to diagnose paranoia.
- Your medical history: You will be asked about your medical history dating back to your childhood. They will ask about your family’s medical history and whether other people have had a similar condition.
- A physical exam: This may include blood tests to rule out other conditions similar to paranoia but that have a medical cause.
- Ask about your symptoms – Your doctor will ask for a detailed description of your symptoms to better understand what you are going through and see if you have paranoia.
- Psychological tests: Your GP can perform these tests, but a psychiatrist or psychologist will often administer them.
- Tests to rule out other mental health disorders: These tests may be administered by a psychiatrist or psychologist instead of your doctor. Other disorders are similar to paranoia, so getting the correct diagnosis is important.
Paranoia is caused by some breakdown in a person’s mental and emotional abilities, especially in their ability to reason and explain their emotions. Doctors are not sure of the root causes, but there are a few reasons why people can develop this condition.
- Genetics: Some researchers believe that there is a genetic link to paranoia, although they are not sure why it is not always inherited.
- Substance abuse: Another reason could be due to marijuana, cocaine, or amphetamines that change a person’s brain chemistry.
- Traumatic events in your life: Child abuse can affect a person’s ability to think and feel correctly.
- Stress – Severe stress can cause it. This is seen in soldiers who have experienced war.
- A mix of these situations: Researchers believe that paranoia could result from any of these combinations.
How is paranoia treated?
There is no cure for paranoia, but some treatments can help a person suffering from paranoia live a happier and more productive life. Of course, treatment will depend on the severity of the condition and the individual’s response to treatment. Treatments for paranoia include the following:
- Medications: Antipsychotic and anxiolytic medications help with the symptoms of paranoia. Unfortunately, a paranoid person may find it difficult to trust their doctor, so they may refuse to take the drug for fear that the doctor is trying to poison them.
- Coping strategies: Another helpful treatment is helping them learn to function in social settings. This can include some relaxation techniques to help reduce your anxiety.
- Behavior modification is another successful strategy for coping with paranoia. A person with paranoia may not want to participate in therapy until they fully trust their therapist. This can take a long time. Therefore, the success of any therapy can be slow.
- Hospitalization: If the paranoia is severe enough, the person may need hospitalization to help. This can fuel your paranoia and cause anxiety and stress. Once the person stabilizes, they can start other therapies.
For the person suffering from paranoia, there needs to be a trusting relationship between them and their therapists to reduce their fears and help them with their social skills. It can take years for a person with paranoia to progress and recover.
What if someone you know is paranoid?
If you suspect that someone you know or love has paranoia, you may not know how to help them. Here are some suggestions that can help you.
1 – Ask yourself if what they believe could be true.
Sometimes people are dismissed as paranoid, but there are legitimate reasons for their paranoia. Don’t assume they are wrong. Check it out first.
2 – Try to understand
Even if you don’t understand your fears, try to understand the root of your anxiety. It might help you understand why they believe these things.
3 – Talk to them
Express your desire to understand them. Listen to their concerns and fears with an open mind. Please give them the benefit of the doubt. They may be isolating themselves from so many people. You are his only open ear.
4 – Be careful not to dismiss your fears.
You may not agree with your fears of the government conspiracy, but don’t dismiss your fears. Their feelings are real to them, even if they are not based on reality.
5 – Affirm your feelings.
Admit your feelings without agreeing or disagreeing with them. You can’t force their feelings to change. They will feel threatened by you and will walk away if you respond negatively.
How to get help for someone who is paranoid
You can’t make a person with paranoia get help if they don’t want it. Pushing them will only get them away from you, assuming you have bad motives. Assure them of your love and concern. Tell them that it is okay to seek help. Always respect their wishes, even if you are sure they need help.
What about an emergency?
If you know, the paranoid person is getting worse and is possibly heading into a mental health crisis that could cause them to hurt themselves or someone else. You need to act. You should contact a mental health crisis line right away for help from a trained person in these situations.
People with paranoia find it difficult to cope with social situations such as work, family gatherings, or school. They can have mild to severe symptoms and show them, especially when they feel stressed. Hopefully these symptoms, the treatment, and the ways you can help them will guide you in helping your friend or loved one.