What causes paranoia?

  1. I have never ever felt paranoia this bad before, the other night every noise I hear I thought it was someone in the house, I kept thinking its a man, not a woman. I knew it was my kitterns playing but I couldnt stop my mind thinking it was a guy in my house. I kept felling like I needed to protect something I dont know what but I got very paranoid I couldnt sleep at all. What could of caused me to get this paranoid?

    I think I might be pregnant could it be that making me paranoid so bad or what? Someone help Im worried:/

    Answer by hope
    The Causes of Paranoia

    Biological Causes

    Often paranoia will be associated with other psychological conditions such as schizophrenia which is characterized as the disintegration of thought processes. Both schizophrenia and paranoia on its own have been shown to have a hereditary link and in studies of monozygotic (genetically near-identical) twins it was found that 40% of cases occurred in both siblings. The risk of developing schizophrenia if you have a first-degree relative such as a parent with the condition is around 6.5% though it is difficult to separate genetic and environmental factors.

    Similarly the use of drugs such as cannabis and even alcohol has been shown to increase rates of psychosis including paranoia and schizophrenia, however it is difficult to establish whether the link is necessarily causal. It has been suggested that perhaps the biological causes are linked to the brain misinterpreting the misfiring of dopaminergic neurons. A link to dopamine has been supported by the finding that amphetamines which trigger the release of dopamine can increase schizophrenic symptoms. However with any biological correlation it is difficult to say with certainty whether the function of the brain causes our thought processes, or whether our thought processes cause the biological conditions.


    Sigmund Freud originally described paranoia as being an expression of repressed homosexuality. While some circumstantial evidence collected by Freud and colleagues have demonstrated this to be a successful interpretation it fails to explain a large proportion of cases (and probably the majority). There is more support today for paranoia being linked to general insecurity that an individual believes others are judging them or plotting against them because they themselves are judging. If you suspect then that you are not valuable as a person, then you will be more likely to read malice into other peoples actions and this can then spiral out of control.

    At the same time, many psychologists today subscribe to cognitive behavioral explanations more than they do psychodynamic ones, and thus it is the breaking down of the thought processes over time which is examined. The belief is that over time the patient gets into a habit of interpreting events and actions as being negative rather than positive. We try to make sense of events but do so with a cognitive bias wherein they tend to see only the more negative explanations. This can begin as a result of bad life experiences or the aforementioned insecurity, but then become habit. And each time you come up with a negative explanation you will be further reinforcing this behavior.

    A cognitive behavioral therapist then will attempt to treat a patient by getting them to listen to the content of their own thoughts and to acknowledge how they might be destructive or negative, and then get them to work on replacing these with more positive affirmations and interpretations.

    Life Events and Situations

    Certain life events and situations can make this kind of paranoia more likely to develop, or at least make you more likely to become suspicious and critical. For instance stress and major life changes have been shown to cause people to act more paranoid, especially if these life changes create isolation for the individual such as loss of work or the breakup of a relationship. General anxiety and depression have also been shown to sometimes develop into paranoia as they cause us to over-estimate threat and risk.

    Finally circumstantial evidence suggests that being suddenly elevated to a position of power or wealth can also cause paranoia as is the case with some major celebrities and historical figures. This sudden elevation of status can of course create delusions of grandeur, while at the same time creating a lot of changes in a persons life that might make them question their reality. Winning or earning a lot of money then finally would also give the individuals around them a perceived motive a reason to be plotting against them. This foundation for mistrust, followed by a few unfortunate events, can then be enough to create a cognitive bias and a preset pattern for how they believe future relationships will unfold and that can develop into a more imaginative delusional paranoia.

    Due to the very nature of how cognitive disorders work, recognizing a problem early on is one of the best ways to start to force yourself to think in a more rational way and to overcome the problem

  2. Answer by Jared
    The definition of Paranoia is:

    1. A mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically worked…

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    2. Suspicion and mistrust of people or their actions without evidence or justification.

    Basically, someone who is paranoid thinks that people are after them or conspiring against them.

    An example of paranoia is lets say Im outside walking and I notice some people staring at me. If I was feeling paranoid, I would try and get away from them. If they were walking in my direction, my paranoia would get even worse and Id probably try to run away from them, even though I had no proof that they were up to anything.

    A similar example that is NOT paranoia is when I find out my recent girlfriend has a boyfriend who has called me and is after me. I would be paranoid until I finally knew what the guy looked like, but once I finally encountered that man, I would run away in fear of what hes going to do. Obviously its a real threat. Paranoia only exists when there is no real threat available at the moment.

    I hope this has answered your question.

  3. Its so embarrassing really. I cant ell you how much thoughts have run through my head about what sickness or disease I have. And I get really stressed and worked up about it. But I want to know if its possible that thinking Im sick will cause me to be sick. Like right now Im worrying about getting bad headaches and Im actually stressing about stress (if thats even possible) and my head is hurting and my neck is stiff. Im getting like tension headaches. How can i stop worrying about everything.

    Answer by Autumn
    I know how you feel completely, i suffered from paranoia for the longest time and i know what its like. Have you talked to your doctor, or seen a psychiatrist? I think that some meds could help you a lot. But try calming yourself and reminding yourself that those thoughts are irrational. Maybe drink some tea, listen to some music and try and relax yourself. Try posting on www.psychentral.com on q and a too, there very good with things like this. Good luck to you!

  4. Answer by TINYT
    More recently, the clinical use of the term has been used to describe delusions where the affected person believes they are being persecuted. Specifically, they have been defined as containing two central elements:

    1.The individual thinks that harm is occurring, or is going to occur, to him or her.
    2.The individual thinks that the persecutor has the intention to cause harm.
    Paranoia is often associated with psychotic illnesses, sometimes schizophrenia, although attenuated features may be present in other primarily non-psychotic diagnoses, such as paranoid personality disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. Paranoia can also be a side effect of medication or recreational drugs such as marijuana and particularly stimulants such as methamphetamine and crack cocaine. In the unrestricted use of the term, common paranoid delusions can include the belief that the person is being followed, poisoned or loved at a distance (often by a media figure or important person, a delusion known as erotomania or de Clerambault syndrome). Other common paranoid delusions include the belief that the person has an imaginary disease or parasitic infection (delusional parasitosis); that the person is on a special quest or has been chosen by God; that the person has had thoughts inserted or removed from conscious thought; or that the persons actions are being controlled by an external force. Therefore, in common usage, the term paranoid addresses a range of mental conditions, assumed by the use of the term to be of psychiatric origin, in which the subject is seen to generalize or project fears and anxieties onto the external world, particularly in the form of organized behavior focused on them. The syndrome is applied equally to powerful people like executives obsessed with takeover bids or political leaders convinced of plots against them, and to common people who believe for instance that shadowy agencies are operating against them.

  5. I dont have the time and money to attend a psychiatrist, what can I do to cure my paranoia? I prefer to listen to lectures or books.

    Answer by Chris G.R
    Whats your paranoia?