Paranoia is a mental condition characterized by feelings or delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance. It may be related to a personality disorder, drug abuse, or severe conditions such as schizophrenia,
anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
Why do I experience paranoia?
No one knows precisely what can cause paranoia, but that is likely a combination.
Although we know some general risk factors:
Having unsettling or confusing experiences or feelings
How you feel means being anxious or worried or having low self-esteem.
How you think, coming to conclusions quickly, believing things firmly, or not easily changing your mind.
Having experienced trauma in the past.
Life experiences. Vulnerable, isolated, or stressful situations lead to negative thoughts. Including childhood or life experiences that lead to believing that the world is unsafe or can make you suspicious or mistrustful of others.
External environment. Paranoid thoughts could be more common if you live in an urban environment or community where you feel isolated.
Media reports of terrorism, violence, or crime may also play a role in triggering paranoid feelings.
Physical illness. Paranoia could also be a symptom of some physical diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and other forms of dementia.
Lack of sleep. It can trigger feelings of insecurity and unsettling feelings, and hallucinations. As a consequence, fears and worries may develop late at night.
Effects of recreational drugs and alcohol. Cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis, alcohol, LSD, and amphetamines are some drugs that might trigger paranoia. Especially if you feel low, anxious, or experiencing other mental health problems. Certain steroids athletes take and some insecticides, like fuel and paint, have also been associated with paranoia. Smoking and drinking alcohol may also stop the medication from effectively treating your symptoms. See our pages on recreational drugs and alcohol for more information.
Genetics. Research has suggested that genes may affect whether you are more likely to develop paranoia – but we don’t know exactly which ones.
How can you identify paranoia or anxiety?
Do I matter to my partner?
Some of the most common expression of anxiety in relationships relates to questions like ‘Do I matter?’ or Is my partner there for me?’“ You might worry that:
they wouldn’t offer help or support if anything serious came up
your partner wouldn’t miss you if you weren’t around
they want to be with you because of what you can do for them
Does my partner love me?
They seem happy to see you and make kind and friendly gestures, but you still can’t shake the feeling that: “They don’t love you.”
Everyone feels this way sometimes, but these worries can become a fixation if you have relationship anxiety.
Will the relationship end?
A good relationship makes you feel happy, secure, and loved. It’s perfectly normal to hold on to these feelings, but these thoughts can sometimes become a persistent fear of the relationship ending.
Anxiety in relationships becomes problematic when you adjust your behavior to secure their continued affection.
What can you do?
Whether your partner had an affair and both of you want to save the relationship or to check you are both on the same page, an open heart, mind, and good communication are needed for success.
Redirect worry to a journal.
Writing down your concerns in a journal may be a solution to re-channel negative thinking, facilitating “reframing” your anxiety because you manifest your worries, positive affirmations, or alternative possibilities.
Take a breath before reacting.
Fear can be reduced by reviewing the facts and calmly evaluating the situation. Managing paranoia works best when you learn ways to cope that help the emotional state of mind and respond wisely or intuitively.
Treatment for Paranoia or Anxiety in Relationships
Some treatment options for paranoid personality disorder focus on psychotherapy. A therapist can help develop skills to build empathy and trust, resulting in better communication, less anxiety in relationships, and better coping with the symptoms.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help recognize their destructive beliefs and habits. CBT can improve how well you interact with others by changing how ideas influence your behavior. CBT can teach better ways to deal with their emotions beyond lashing out at others.
Treatment decisions for anxiety in relationships are based on how significantly the anxiety disorder affects your ability to function in your daily life. Two treatments for generalized anxiety disorder are psychotherapy and medications. You may benefit most from a combination of the two. It may take some time to discover which treatments work best for you.
Anti-anxiety medications can help reduce symptoms of extreme fear and worry, anxiety, and panic attacks. The most common anti-anxiety drugs are benzodiazepines.
Please call 911 if you are experiencing a medical emergency or call our admissions department for support at (801) 499-9316