Signs & Symptoms of Addiction – Paranoia
Although it is a term with which many people are familiar – indeed, which they use very casually – the true significance of paranoia and the devastating impact it can have tend to be little appreciated. Those who have experienced it, however, tend not to view it so lightly.
What Is Paranoia?
Paranoia is a set of feelings, instincts or thoughts typically characterised and influenced by fear and anxiety, often including feelings of persecution and beliefs in conspiracies against the paranoid individual. Paranoid thoughts are often irrational and can go to the point of delusion, sometimes exacerbated – for example in cases of psychosis, or following the consumption of hallucinogens – by auditory and/or visual hallucinations.
What Causes Paranoia?
Paranoia is highly influenced by social circumstances – although it can affect anyone regardless of demographics – while an individual’s psychological make up can also render them more susceptible to developing paranoia. It is also associated with the consumption of certain drugs (especially stimulants, hallucinogens and marijuana), both as a symptom of any given instance of drug use, or over the longer term as a symptom of stimulant psychosis and/or substance induced psychosis.
Effects of Paranoia
Paranoia can manifest in a pronounced reluctance to trust others, feelings of persecution, delusions – sometimes extremely complex ones – in which conspiracies typically feature prominently, seeing intent behind events which most people would recognise as coincidental, and making false accusations of others.
Types of Paranoia
While paranoia can be used informally to describe a certain mode of behaviour, it can be clinically diagnosed as part of three disorders: paranoid personality disorder; paranoid schizophrenia; and “querulous paranoia” – a persecutory variety of delusional disorder.
Paranoia as an Addiction Symptom
What Are the Symptoms of Paranoia?
Along with the “Effects of Paranoia” mentioned above, paranoia can cause withdrawal and social isolation; secretive and furtive behaviour; a reluctance to use technology; volatile and potentially aggressive behaviour; acts of self-harm; engaging in (sometimes bizarre) “countermeasures” to perceived surveillance (for example, the infamous “tinfoil hat”) and a range of other idiosyncratic behaviours.
Is paranoia a mental health problem?
Paranoia is considered a symptom of mental health problems (including some listed above) rather than a condition in its own right.
How Is Paranoia Diagnosed?
How Is Paranoia Treated?
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