This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
People who suffer from paranoia have a constant feeling of dread and distrust. In various forms and manifestations, it can be an indication of a variety of unique, medically diagnosable mental disorders.
It is possible for some people to suffer from paranoia that affects only one aspect of their lives. Others are generalized, which might have an impact on decision-making and interpersonal connections..
Find out what causes paranoia, where to go for help, and what you can do to support a friend or family member who is suffering from it.
What Is Paranoia?
It is typical for the label “paranoid” to be misapplied. It’s common for people to be labeled paranoid if they frequently express distrust or express feelings of persecution. The majority of the time, these emotions reveal a lack of confidence in oneself, a negative attitude on life, or both.
Genuine paranoia is a severe, unique, and obvious sign of a variety of serious diseases. Here’s a quick rundown of each, along with a list of signs and symptoms to watch out for.
Consider the possibility that their beliefs may be correct
To dismiss thoughts as crazy because you don’t believe them or they’re inconsistent with your own personal experiences is easy. Even if your loved one has previously had paranoid thoughts or delusions, it’s simpler to recognize them. Even so, it’s crucial to make sure you aren’t jumping to conclusions.
Ask yourself if there is a rationale to their beliefs
No matter how unreasonable you believe someone’s paranoid beliefs to be, it’s important to keep in mind that many of these fears are the result of real-life anxiety. See if you can uncover the source of their anxiety. Both of you will have a better idea of how the conversation has progressed this way.
Having paranoid thoughts can make people feel lonely, but discussing them can help alleviate tension. It’s possible that your opinion will reassure them and give them a new outlook.
Avoid dismissing their worries
Don’t dismiss their feelings, even if you don’t believe they’re in danger or at risk of losing their freedom. To understand their feelings, even if you don’t agree with the views they are based on, is crucial.
Pay attention to the how they feel
Pay attention to how distressed they are and offer support. Accepting their alarm and their feelings is achievable without agreeing with the reasons for such feelings.
Encourage them to seek help
As long as your loved one is willing to seek help, there is no harm in reassuring them that they are not alone and that aid is available. Learn more about how to bring up the conversation of therapy to a loved one here.
Have a plan in place in case of an emergency
Even though your loved one may be in great pain, they may not be aware of it until it’s too late. If you are concerned about a loved one’s health or emotional well-being, you can encourage them to use their crisis plan.
Take care of yourself, too Paranoia can be uncomfortable or even terrifying to see in someone you care about. Even if you don’t have time for yourself, taking care of your loved ones will benefit you and them in the long run. Talking therapy or peer support may be useful in helping you cope.