Paranoia is a mental condition in which a person is consistently suspicious or mistrustful of other people and situations. It can be caused by a number of different factors, including substance abuse, high stress or emotional levels, and genetic tendencies. A person's paranoia may also be due to an underlying mental illness, such as schizophrenia or another personality disorder. There are several types of paranoia treatments available, though people may find difficulty sticking to their treatment plans due to their denial of problems and unfounded mistrust of doctors and therapists. Paranoia treatment options include psychotherapy, behavior modification therapy, relaxation techniques, and anti-psychotic medications.
The most common form of paranoia treatment is psychotherapy. Individuals can attend sessions with a licensed psychologist or counselor to discuss their problems and develop strategies to overcome them. It is common, however, for patients to feel apprehensive towards counselors and unwilling to speak about personal issues. The goal of a mental health professional is to build trust with a patient over time, so that he or she may speak openly about issues and obstacles. The counselor creates a relaxing, inviting atmosphere so that the patient can feel comfortable.
A psychologist might try to uncover the nature of a person's paranoia through interviews, free association techniques, and behavior modification therapy. An individual is usually given the opportunity to explain his or her distrustful feelings and talk about the situations in which paranoid behaviors are most likely to occur. The counselor helps the patient identify negative behaviors and realize that his or her suspicions are greatly unfounded. Through intensive behavior modification, a patient can develop healthy boundaries, learn to cope with criticism and feelings of doubt, and begin trusting other people.
In many cases, paranoid feelings are a symptom of another mental illness or substance abuse problem. Paranoia is common in people with schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, depression, and schizoaffective disorder, as well as those with long histories of drug use. Physicians and psychiatrists can prescribe medications, such as anti-psychotic and antidepressant drugs, to treat the underlying causes of paranoia. Medical professionals often suggest that individuals with substance abuse problems learn to abstain from illegal drugs and alcohol, attend group therapy sessions, and speak with counselors.
Many people find that they must undergo long term paranoia treatment to deal with chronic problems. When a patient is willing to cooperate with mental health and medical professionals, continuing paranoia treatment is usually effective at relieving symptoms and allowing for a better quality of life. As feelings of anxiety and suspicion fade away, people generally find that they are able to start building healthy personal and professional relationships.