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Paranoia
and associated disorders

What are these disorders?

Paranoia is characterized by excessive distrust or great suspicion of real or imagined threats, persecutions, betrayals or conspiracies.

Paranoia is not a disorder in itself, but rather a symptom found in several problems such as paranoid personality disorder, delusional disorder, schizophrenia or a consequence of substance abuse for example.

Symptoms of paranoia can cause feelings of fear, anger, and betrayal in the person experiencing it. In addition, certain beliefs and behaviors are often found in people with symptoms of paranoia: mistrust, hypervigilance, difficulty in forgiving, defensive attitude in the face of criticism, preoccupation with hidden motives, fear of be deceived or exploited. These beliefs can seem strange and impossible (eg that the FBI is controlling their loved ones), or seem plausible but exaggerated (eg that a spouse is unfaithful).

Whether plausible or not, paranoid thoughts are often irrational, that is, they persist despite the presentation of evidence to the contrary of those thoughts.

What are the impacts on those around you?

Mistrust, doubt and suspicion of paranoia make relationships with members of the entourage difficult, tense and conflictual. The latter feel kept at a distance since their words are constantly questioned. Conflicts are often frequent and seem unjustified. For example, a woman suffering from paranoia may be convinced that her or his partner is cheating on her if he or she comes home late.

 

When a person with paranoia feels threatened, loved ones will have to deal with counterattacks and anger. They feel obliged to subscribe to the sometimes crazy requests of their loved one and have the impression of walking on eggshells so as not to provoke crises. They exhaust themselves trying to convince their loved one that their paranoia is unjustified without success. They don't know how to go about it anymore and can't take any more confrontations, but want to respect what they know to be true and their limits. Relatives are saddened to see the trust in their relationship with a paranoid person crumble.

 

Furthermore, paranoid individuals usually do not see their beliefs and behaviors as abnormal. Indeed, they generally have weak introspection and questioning skills, which means that they do not want help, although they often present themselves as victims of the words and behavior of others. . This is very difficult to live with for the entourage who wants to provide help and find a good relationship with their loved one.

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