Paranoia can be a symptom of various mental disorders such as bipolar disorder or another mental health condition such as schizophrenia . Paranoia can have multiple definitions and levels of paranoia can be mild or severe. For example, paranoia can mean temporarily feeling nervous about a person or situation or it can mean having great anxiety because you feel like someone wants to get you. When a person has bipolar disorder, their paranoia can be a sign of psychosis.

Clinical paranoia

Psychiatrists use the term to describe disorderly thinking or a state of anxiety that can lead to deception. For example, a person who believes that the police are tracking his every movement through fillings in his teeth is exhibiting clinically paranoid behavior . This belief in the affected person makes him feel a lot of anguish because he feels it as real, although the reality is that this cannot be true in any way.

The key to true paranoia is exaggerated and unreasonable distrust and suspicion of others.  This suspicion is not based on facts and often turns into delusions, which are strong beliefs in things that are false, unreal, or improbable. 

Paranoia as a symptom

Paranoia is a symptom that can be part of several conditions, including:

    • Bipolar disorder
    • Paranoid personality disorder
    • Schizophrenia
    • Delusional disorder
    • Brain toxicity that can be caused by drug or alcohol use or by certain types of intoxication
    • Brain diseases or tumors
    • Certain prescription drugs
    • Dementia
    • Epilepsy
  • Infections that affect the brain

Paranoia in bipolar disorder

In bipolar disorder, clinical paranoia can be part of a manic episode or it can be a sign that you are experiencing psychosis, a condition in which you lose touch with reality. This is more likely to happen if you have severe bouts of depression and mania.  About 3% of the population in the United States alone experience psychosis. Worldwide the percentage increases considerably.

It is necessary to know what the symptoms of psychosis are to be able to recognize it in case it happens at some point. In this way you can go to the doctor and seek the relevant help in each specific case. The most common symptoms are:

Symptoms of psychosis can include:

    • Delusions, which are false beliefs about the reality of situations or people. Paranoid delusions are common.
    • Hallucinations, which involve hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not real.
    • Disorganized speech and thought patterns.
  • Cluttered thinking, which means your thoughts jump around unrelated topics.

Examples to understand it better

Although paranoia can be different for each person, these are some specific ways it can manifest itself in a mental health condition , do not miss these examples to understand it better:

    • You think someone might rob you, hurt you, or kill you.
    • You think people are laughing at you or whispering behind your back. This feeling can be accompanied by auditory or visual hallucinations.
    • You think that people are deliberately trying to exclude you or make you feel bad.
    • You interpret certain facial gestures among others (strangers or friends) as a kind of inside joke that is about you.
    • You feel like everyone is looking at you and / or talking about you.
  • You think the government, an organization or an individual is spying on you or following you.

What can you do if it happens to you?

If what you are reading so far describes situations that you are currently experiencing, then do not ignore it. It is time for the alarms to go off and you go to the doctor or your psychiatrist and talk about what is happening to you. You will need to find ways to control these symptoms because they are unpleasant and can be very harmful to your daily life.

Your doctor or psychiatrist should take into account the disorder you have diagnosed and how these symptoms are more pronounced in order to find the correct treatment for your circumstances.

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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