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Full Version: Paranoia
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suspicious of others until they have proven themselves trustworthy,(sometimes)

more doubt than belief, (yes)

preoccuppied with death and suffering, (sometimes)

fears being harmed or controlled, (not fears, but hates)

bitter, (sometimes)

looks for hidden meaning in things,(yes)

personality is centered around low self esteem issues, (no)

feels misunderstood,(no)

thinks people would not like them if they really knew them, (no)

defensive, (always)

often experiences disgust, (sometimes)

love-hate relationships with most things,(grey has some grades)

likes to test people's loyalty, (no)

thinks life is overrated,(sometimes)

focuses on suffering,(as a principle for self-control)

feels like an outsider,(yes)

existentially depressed,(sometimes)

does not trust what people say,(sometimes)

prone to shame,(no)

suffers from depression,(sometimes)

knows the dark side of life very well,(exactly!)

attracted to things associated with sadness,(sometimes)

would rather remain alone than risk rejection,(yes)

hard to get to know, (probably)

makes enemies,(never)

loner (and individualist! with hidden proning to collectivism)
Genetic Contribution

Little research has been done on the role of heredity in causing paranoia. Scientists have found that the families of paranoid patients do not have higher than normal rates of either schizophrenia or depression. However, there is some evidence that paranoid symptoms in schizophrenia may be genetically influenced. Some studies have shown that when one twin of a pair of identical twins with schizophrenia has paranoid symptoms, the other twin usually does also. And, recent research has suggested that paranoid disorders are significantly more common in relatives of persons with schizophrenia than in the general population. Whether paranoid disorder--or a predisposition to it--is inherited is not yet known.


The discovery that psychosis (a state in which the individual is out of touch with reality) is treatable with antipsychotic drugs has led scientists to look for the origins of severe mental disorders in abnormal brain chemistry. The search has become very complex, as more and more of the chemical substances that carry messages from one nerve cell to another--the neurotransmitters--have been discovered. So far, no clear-cut answers have been found. As with the genetic studies, biochemical studies have not examined paranoia except as a subtype of schizophrenia. There is, however, limited evidence that paranoid schizophrenia is biochemically distinct from nonparanoid forms of the disorder.

Abuse of drugs such as amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, PCP, LSD, or other stimulants or "psychedelic" compounds may lead to symptoms of paranoid thinking or behavior. Patients with major mental disorders like paranoid schizophrenia may have their symptoms become worse under the influence of these drugs. Scientists are studying the biochemical actions of such drugs to determine how they produce their behavioral effects. This may help us to learn more about the neurochemistry of paranoid disorders, which is poorly understood at this time.


Some scientists believe paranoia may be a reaction to high levels of life stress. Lending support to this opinion is the evidence that paranoia is more prevalent among immigrants, prisoners of war, and others undergoing severe stress. Sometimes, when thrust into a new and highly stressful situation, people suffer an acute form--called "acute paranoia"--in which delusions develop over a short period of time and last only a few months.

Some studies indicate that paranoia has become more prevalent in the twentieth century. The connection between stress and paranoia does not, of course, rule out other contributing factors. A genetic defect, a brain abnormality, an information-processing disability--or all three--could predispose a person to paranoia; stress may merely act as a trigger.

Paranoid people's mistrustfulness makes treatment of the condition difficult. Rarely will they talk casually in an interview. They are suspicious of the kind of open-ended questions many therapists rely on to learn about the patient's history (for example, "Tell me about your relationships with your co-workers."). They may try to avoid hospitalization and drugs, fearing a loss of control or other real or imagined dangers.

Drug Treatment

Treatment with appropriate antipsychotic drugs may help the paranoid patient overcome some symptoms. Although the patient's functioning may be improved, the paranoid symptoms often remain intact. Some studies indicate that symptoms improve following drug treatment, but the same results sometimes occur among patients who receive a placebo, a "sugar pill" without active ingredients. This finding suggests that in some cases the paranoia diminishes for psychological reasons rather than because of the drug's action. Paranoid patients receiving medication must be closely monitored. Their fearfulness and persecutory delusions often lead them to refuse or sabotage treatment--for example, by holding the drug in their cheek until they are alone and then spitting it out.

Reports on individual cases suggest that the regular opportunity to express suspicions and self-doubts afforded by psychotherapy can help the paranoid patient function in the community. Although paranoid ideas do seem to persist, they may be less disruptive. Other types of psychotherapy that have reportedly led to improved social functioning without appreciably diminishing paranoid delusions are art therapy, family therapy, and group therapy.