What Mental Illness Is Paranoia A Symptom Of?
Mental Health America explains that paranoia “involves intense, anxious or fearful feelings and thoughts often related to persecution, threat, or conspiracy.” It is a pattern of thinking that results in suspicion of other people and irrational mistrust. Paranoia is a symptom that can be part of a variety of health conditions, including but not limed to the following, provided by Verywell Mind:
- Bipolar disorder: characterized by sudden and severe episodic mood swings from emotional highs (manias) to emotional lows (depressions) with intervals of stable moods.
- Delusional (paranoid) disorder: characterized by the dominance of one delusion (false belief) without any other sign of mental illness.
- Paranoid personality disorder (PPD): characterized by a pervasive pattern of unwarranted distrust and suspicion of others that involves interpreting their motives as malicious.
- Schizophrenia: characterized by positive symptoms (delusions, hallucinations, and grossly disorganized speech and behavior), negative symptoms (apathy, social isolation, and diminished effect), and cognitive impairment.
Other causes of paranoia can be related to:
- Recreational drug use: Abusing substances such as amphetamines, cannabis, alcohol, cocaine, and ecstasy can cause paranoia during intoxication or withdrawals.
- Neurological disease: Diseases such as dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease), Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or brain injury can cause paranoia.
- Severe trauma and stress: Some studies have found that paranoia is more common in people who have experienced severe and ongoing stress (e.g., abuse in childhood, domestic violence, racial persecution, living in isolation, etc.).
- Stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients.
- Epilepsy: a central nervous system disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness.
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): is an infection that can affect the brain and trigger paranoia.
According to Good Therapy, “the hallmark of paranoia is that it is rooted in false belief.” The symptoms of paranoia often bring on a sense of fear, anger, and betrayal. Paranoia can range in severity from mild feelings of discomfort to pervasive, debilitating patterns of thinking.
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