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Paranoia

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Paranoia

Cynthia Shi, Editor/Journalist

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We are all familiar with the term ‘paranoid’; however, few actually understand what paranoia is, and the science behind it. Paranoia is a persistent and irrational feeling revolving around insecurity and mistrust of others. Much like many other mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety, many to resort to therapy as a cure. People often disregard the true effect of paranoia on the body, as people who are not diagnosed with it may underestimate its importance due to its existence as a mere psychological, and not physiological, illness. . However, all mental illnesses, including paranoia, may be just as physiologically harmful as physiological conditions themselves, , and therefore should taken seriously.

There are multiple causes for paranoia; some instances of paranoia can be attributed to  paranoid personality disorder, a delusional disorder, paranoid schizophrenia, or other psychotic disorders. Paranoia can also be the result of the withdrawals from recreational drug use. An overdose or withdrawal of cannabis, amphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, or even drugs in general have been known to cause paranoia. Various diseases affecting the brain, including dementia, Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, can cause paranoia as well. Additionally, some severe brain injuries are able to cause paranoia. One of the most common causes for paranoia trace back to having extreme amounts of stress and trauma. Being paranoid may be the effect of abuse or violence directed at the person, or being submerged in stress of long periods of time. Scientists do not know the true cause for paranoia, although it is often believed that genetics plays a part.

 

People who are diagnosed with paranoia may experience an overwhelming feeling of isolation, sadness, and anxiety, and mistrust toward others. In some extreme cases,  individuals may even suffer from hallucinations as well, further intensifying the magnitude of distress experienced by the individual. Paranoia can also be the cause or effect of neurotic disorders as well, such as anxiety and depression.

 

Many famous people have been diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder. One example is Joseph Stalin, who was once a secretary general of Russia in the Russian revolution during 1971. During his time as a general, he disregarded any ideas other than his own, displaying his distrust for the people around him. It is believed that his paranoia was the cause of his constant brutality and lack of mercy for others. He appeared to be very self-absorbed, and constantly strived to achieve more power in the military. Saddam Hussein, who was the president of Iraq from 1979 to 2003, was also believed to have paranoia. Similar to Stalin, his strange and cruel behavior towards all countries, including his own, was due to his paranoid personality disorder. He disapproved all actions which were not his own and even distrusted his family. He was also desperate to maintain his ego and power, which was ultimately the basis for his aggression toward others.Even the 37th president, Richard M. Nixon, was believed to be diagnosed with the paranoid personality disorder. He only supported his own views, and, similar to Stalin and Hussein, believed people were ‘out to get him’, and were conspiring to take away his authority.

The best solution for paranoiacs, is for them to consult  doctors and discuss their issues. Their interactions with doctors may help cure their paranoia. Having paranoid people share their experiences can really help others understand their condition, and encourage more people to support them. Receiving support can be a crucial part in overcoming paranoia, as receiving positive regard is an incredibly essential aspect of psychological relief – this “unconditional positive regard” is the basis of humanistic psychological approaches. Instead of disregarding these individuals and their illnesses, we can easily help by donating to foundations which study paranoia, spreading awareness, and providing personal support to them.

Sources:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/paranoia

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/paranoia/effects-of-paranoia/#.XMnI6DbYrnE

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/causes-of-paranoia

https://healthresearchfunding.org/famous-people-paranoid-personality-disorder/

 

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