For Help Call 502.426.6380  

Paranoia and Paranoid Disorders

Paranoia involves feelings of persecution and an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Paranoia occurs in many mental disorders and is rare as an isolated mental illness. Since the delusions involve only one area, a person with paranoia can usually work and function in everyday life, however, their lives may be limited and isolated. There are different types of paranoia including conjugal paranoia, erotomania, hypochondriacal paranoia, and different types of paranoid disorders such as paranoid personality and paranoid schizophrenia.

Symptoms of Paranoia:

Symptoms of paranoia and paranoid disorders include intense and irrational mistrust or suspicion, which can bring on sense of rage, hatred, and betrayal. Some people suffering from paranoid personality may have a high capacity to annoy or enrage others because of rigid and maladaptive behavior. Some identifiable beliefs and actions of paranoid-related disorders include mistrust, taking offense easily, difficulty with forgiveness, defensive attitude in response to imagined criticism, preoccupation with hidden motives, fear of being deceived or taken advantage of, inability to relax, argumentative, abrupt, stubborn, self-righteous, and perfectionistic.

What Causes Paranoia?

The cause of paranoia is a breakdown of various mental and emotional functions involving reasoning and assigned meanings. The reasons for these breakdowns are varied and uncertain. Some symptoms of paranoia may arise from repressed, denied or projected feelings. Paranoid thoughts and feelings can become part of a delusional system through an accident, a misunderstanding or minor injustice, heightened intimacy, or increased responsibility.

Treatment of Paranoia

Treatment of paranoia is usually via behavior therapy which is aimed at reducing sensitivity to criticism and improving social skills. It can be difficult to treat a person with paranoia as they may be irritable, emotionally guarded, hostile, and unwilling; therefore, progress is slow. Therapy attempts to break the cycle of suspicion and isolation by using relaxation and anxiety management and by aiding the person to change certain behaviors.

For more information contact your local Mental Health Association, community mental health center, or for additional resources, please call 1-800-969-NMHA.

National Mental Health Association
2001 N. Beauregard Street, 12th Floor
Alexandria, VA 22311
Phone 703/684-7722
Fax 703/684-5968
Mental Health Resource Center 800/969-NMHA
TTY Line 800/433-5959

American Psychiatric Association
1400 K Street NW
Washington DC 20005
Phone 202-682-6000

National Institute of Mental Health
5600 Fishers Lane 7C-02
Rockville MD 20857
Phone 301-443-4513

Information compiled from:
"Mental Health Letter-Paranoia and Paranoid Disorders", The Harvard Medical School Mental Health Letter, 74 Fenwood Rd, Boston MA 02115.

Help is Just a Phone Call Away


We cannot offer diagnosis, counseling or recommendations online, but an Assessment and Referral specialist is available 24 hours/7 days a week at 502.426.6380. If you are currently experiencing an emergency, please dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

If you prefer to contact us via email, please click here to fill out a request information form.

The Brook Hospitals | Louisville, KY | Phone: 502-426-6380 or 502-896-0495
Physicians are on the medical staff of The Brook Hospitals, but, with limited exceptions, are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of The Brook Hospitals. The facility shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians.
Model representations of real patients are shown. Actual patients cannot be divulged due to HIPAA regulations.
Privacy Policy | Nondiscrimination Notice | Language Assistance | HIPAA Notice