What are examples of paranoia?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines paranoia as “a mental condition by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically elaborated into an organized system.” More specifically, paranoia is a pattern of thinking that results in suspicion of other people and irrational mistrust. It can range in severity from mild feelings of discomfort to pervasive, debilitating patterns of thinking. While paranoia is a symptom associated with a variety of mental health disorders, it most commonly presents in psychotic disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, delusion disorder, etc.). Bear in mind that it is not unusual for young people to have fleeting paranoid thoughts from time to time. However, when a teen suffers from paranoia, he or she is likely enduring a constant state of irrational and unfounded distrust that interferes with his or her ability to function optimally in daily life.
Symptoms and Examples
Mental Health America explains that some “identifiable beliefs and behaviors of individuals with symptoms of paranoia include mistrust, hypervigilance, difficulty with forgiveness, defensive attitude in response to imagined criticism, preoccupation with hidden motives, fear of being deceived or taken advantage of, inability to relax, or are argumentative.” The symptoms of paranoia often bring on a sense of fear, anger, and betrayal. Every young person is unique, which is why it should be no surprise that paranoia manifests differently for everyone. Verywell Mind provides examples of paranoid thoughts, some of which include the following:
- You think someone might steal from, hurt, or kill you.
- You feel like everyone is staring at you and/ or talking about you.
- You think people are deliberately trying to exclude you or make you feel bad.
- You believe the government, an organization, or an individual is spying on or following you.
- You interpret certain facial gestures among others (strangers or friends) as some sort of inside joke that is all about you.
- You think people are laughing at you or whispering about you behind your back.
Prolonged and/ or frequent bouts of paranoia could be indicative of paranoid personality disorder (PPD). A paranoid personality disorder is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as one of the ten standalone personality disorders. According to Healthline, PPD is characterized by “intense mistrust and suspicion of others.” The symptoms of PPD essentially prohibit a teen from confiding in others, which in turn prevents them from developing close, meaningful relationships.
For Information and Support
Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.
Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, the long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
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