Paranoia: Symptoms & Support in York, Manchester & online.
What is Paranoia?
Paranoia is a persistent feeling and thought that you or others are under threat, even if there is little or no evidence for this. Many of us will have occasions where we feel suspicious of others or their intentions towards us, particularly in stressful situations. For some people these suspicions can become exaggerated, fixed and distressing, and might also be described as a delusion.
People experience paranoia in different ways. Some thoughts might be extremely intense, or persistent to the extent that they cause significant distress or interfere substantially with everyday life. Paranoid thoughts can also be experienced occasionally and not be particularly upsetting. If you are experiencing suspicious thoughts and feelings about others, it is important to speak to a professional and you should contact your GP in the first instance.
Symptoms of Paranoia
Not all suspicious thoughts are paranoid. We all have good reason to be suspicious sometimes, but if you find that there is no definite evidence for this suspicious thought; that few, if any, other people, share your view; or you find it difficult to accept reassurance from others that what you think might not be true, then you might be experiencing paranoia.
Symptoms of Paranoia include feelings of:
Mistrust and suspicion of others
You might find that your Paranoia means you:
Find creating or maintaining relationships difficult
Are hypervigilant, constantly assessing potential threats around you
Have difficulty with forgiveness
Struggle to relax
Feel anxious about being tricked
Worry about being taken advantage of
Act in a defensive way
Find it hard to compromise or accept criticism.
How to deal with Paranoia
If you are experiencing paranoid thoughts, or think that you might be, there are things you can do to help yourself cope.
You may find keeping a diary helpful, to identify what might be contributing to your paranoia, track how often paranoid thoughts occur and notice the impact they have on you.
It can be helpful to try to develop a flexible mindset – for example considering the possibility that what you think may not be true and considering what alternative perspectives there could be. You could consider asking other people who you trust to help you consider alternative possibilities.
Paranoia can be associated with sleep difficulties – paranoia can make it hard to sleep and being tired can make paranoia worse. You may find it helpful to get professional help with any difficulties in sleeping that you are experiencing.
It can also be very helpful to engage in activities that you find meaningful, enjoyable and purposeful, to give your mind and body satisfying tasks to be absorbed in. This can help to reduce the scope for paranoid thoughts to begin or to become troubling and distressing.
If you are experiencing paranoid thoughts, avoid alcohol and any ‘street’ or recreational drugs. Both alcohol and ‘street’ drugs can make paranoia more intense and may increase the risk of developing more serious mental health problems that can be associated with paranoia.
How we can help with Paranoia
Everyone feels anxious sometimes and we all occasionally overthink situations or feel mistrustful of others. However, paranoia can be a symptom in some instances of more serious mental health concerns.
If you feel that paranoid thoughts are happening often or are becoming more frequent; if paranoid thoughts are upsetting you or those around you or are impacting on your ability to go about your day-to-day life, then you may find it helpful to reach out to a professional for support. You should contact your GP in the first instance who can advise you on treatment options, including whether talking therapy is likely to be helpful for you.
Our team of expert therapists can work with you to develop a clear plan to understand and address the symptoms and difficulties you are experiencing, to help you live your life with more happiness and freedom, and without paranoia controlling your life. For new clients who have current or recent experience of paranoia, we will discuss with you additional support options that may be helpful and your GP’s involvement in your care.
As part of planning therapy with you, it may be important to think about any additional support that could be helpful, which may be accessed via your GP.
As an independent therapy service, we are delighted to be able to provide a highly personalised approach, informed by clinical research and best practice, professional expertise, and your own preferences.
We understand that seeking therapy can be daunting and that taking the first step can be challenging. We have a team of trained experts who can work with you to design a bespoke and flexible treatment that works best, which is available at our clinics in York, Manchester and online.
Please get in touch using the form below to find out more about how we can help.