D e M i G u i N . C j B . N e T
Mental disorders not only cause great suffering but are also often
associated with the stigmatization of the people stricken with them.
People who suffer from mental disorders are excluded from our
society. They are deprived
from leading normal life. They
are treated differently and are not given equal opportunities as other
people. Not only are these
people suffering from their illness but also from the judgemental eyes of
the people who are bringing them down.
The mere presence of mental disorder should not lead to a
presumption that someone is incapable of doing anything
Until recent decades, little could be done to ameliorate the
symptoms of many mental disorders. This
is probably because of the nature of psychological topics—they are
highly debatable. There would
always be disputes about each aspect of a disorder, topic, etc.
However, in recent years, there had been several strikes of
success. And now, the medical
community is looking forward with optimism concerning new approaches to
these mental disorders. As a
result, biomedical and behavioral research involving people with mental
disorder, is now a growing field of scientific endeavor.
There are different kinds of mental disorders.
Some are of the mild side, which could still allow a person to
function normally, and some are so severe, the person affected could not
even think straight and make a decision for himself.
Paranoia is one kind mental disorder. It is an illness, not a self inflicted disease.
The objective of this paper is to try and explain what Paranoia is.
A person cannot confidently say that he is safe from it.
It chooses no gender. It
could happen almost anyone.
Definition and Kinds of Paranoia
The word “Paranoia” is often used in our
daily conversations, sometimes out of frustration, we would call other
people “paranoid” just because we see them as someone who is highly or
easily suspicious of the things and events happening around them.
However, simple suspiciousness is not Paranoia—not if it is based
on a previous experience or expectation learned through experience from
is a term used to describe suspiciousness or mistrust based on something
unreal. It could be based on
false sensory perception, delusion or possibly hallucination.
The delusions in paranoia should be persistent, unalterable,
systematized and logically reasoned.
This means that Paranoia involves delusions, which are the
misinterpretation of reality-- the persons affected believe that whatever
they saw or heard was real. It
is neither imaginary nor a dream.
term “paranoia” was actually first used by a German psychiatrist Karl
L. Kahlbaum in 1863. This
condition often happens to people suffering from Paranoid disorders or to
people of old age..
People suffering from Paranoia are usually suspicious of the
motives of others, causing them to be hypersensitive, tense and
argumentative. They are
easily jealous and angry. These
emotions, in most severe cases, could lead to violent confrontation.
The people affected also believe that there is a pattern to random
events happening around them and that they are somewhat related to their
life and existence.
Paranoia can sometimes be mild, allowing the individuals affected
to function normally in a society. It
could also be so severe that they become incapacitated, allowing them to
be excluded from society and be deprived of the rights and obligations
that a normal non-paranoid person has.
Paranoias could be classified into three main categories: Paranoid
Personality Disorder, Delusional Disorder and Paranoid Schizophrenia.
Paranoid Personality Disorder
main hallmark of this disorder is the misinterpretation of other
people’s motives. A person
with Paranoid Personality Disorder consider the actions of other people as
debilitating and demeaning. To
further explain what PPD is, a sample story is presented below.
Take note of the person’s attitude toward certain situations.
Consider how he reacted and what he felt during these situations.
worked in a large office as a computer programmer. When another programmer
received a promotion, Derek felt that the supervisor "had it in for
him" and would never recognize his worth. He was sure that his
co-workers were subtly downgrading him. Often he watched as others took
coffee breaks together and imagined they spent this time talking about
him. If he saw a group of people laughing, he knew they were laughing at
him. He spent so much time brooding about the mistreatment he received
that his work suffered and his supervisor told him he must improve or
receive a poor performance rating. This action reinforced all Derek's
suspicions, and he looked for and found a position in another large
company. After a few weeks on his new job, he began to feel that others in
the office didn't like him, excluded him from all conversations, made fun
of him behind his back, and eroded his position. Derek has changed jobs
six times in the last seven years. Derek has paranoid personality
disorder. “ (http://www.mentalhealth.com/book/p45-para.htm)
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition
(DSM-IV)- diagnostic standard for mental health professionals in the US,
lists similar symptoms for PPD.
Personality Disorder involves distrust in others, as indicated by the
without sufficient proof or basis
person believes that other people intend to deceive, exploit and harm him
without sufficient evidence and reasoning.
of doubts concerning other people’s loyalty and trustworthiness
person would always doubt a friend or loved one’s loyalty,
trustworthiness, and love for him.
to confide in other people due to unwarranted fear
is afraid to open up and become intimate with other people because he is
afraid that whatever information he discloses to other people would be
used against him. They fear
several things and events that normally have no ground or basis.
hidden demeaning, insulting and threatening meanings harmless remarks.
would look at things differently. He
would find hidden meanings from other people’s words and actions.
He would sometimes see innocent remarks as insults or threats.
long grudges and unforgiving
does not forgive easily. If
the individual is angered, he would most probably stay angry for a long
that other people are out to attack his character and reputation, easily
angered and is quick in reacting with his anger
believes that other people are going against him.
He thinks that other people are out to get him because they want to
“bring him down”. He also
gets angry quite easily which sometimes lead to violent episodes.
without basis that his spouse is cheating on him
thinks that his spouse is being dishonest eventhough he does not have any
from being argumentative and uncompromising, people with PPD cut
themselves off other people thus causing them to be cold and aloof.
They pride themselves with their rationality and objectivity.
They are also hypersensitive because they are hyperalert of the
things happening around them.
people with PPD are naturally suspicious, they try to avoid seeking
medical help, making it hard for clinicians to treat them.
Disorder is more debilitating than Paranoid Personality Disorder (which is
a milder subtype of Paranoia). The
main hallmark of this disorder is the prescence of non-bizaare delusions
for at least a month without symptoms of other mental disorders like
Alzheimers and Schizophrenia.
understand delusional disorder better, a story is given below.
It shows how a person with Delusional Disorder think and what are
the thoughts going on his, in this case, her mind.
is a clerk typist who is efficient and helpful. Her employers and
co-workers value her contribution to the office. But Ruth spends her
evenings writing letters to State and Federal officials. She feels that
God has opened her mind and given her the cure for cancer. She wants some
leading treatment center to use her cure on all its patients so that the
world can see she is right. Many of her letters go unanswered, or she
receives noncommittal replies that only make her feel that no one
understands that she can save all cancer patients if only given the
chance. When one of her letters is answered by an employee of the official
to whom she wrote, she is sure that the official is being deliberately
kept unaware of her knowledge and power. Sometimes she despairs that the
world will ever know how wonderful she is, but she doesn't give up. She
just keeps writing. Ruth suffers from one of the delusional disorders,
grandiose delusion. “
delusions are beliefs on something that could happen in a person’s life
that is not out of the realm of possibility.
For example, a certain person thinks that his spouse is cheating on
him, he thinks that a friend of his is going to die, his neighbour is
actually a secret agent for the government.
These things could either be true or not, but the person suffering
from this disorder believes in what his delusion tells him.
with Delusional Disorder could still function normally.
They are not impaired and they could still do daily chores and
activities. For example, they
could still go to work, go to school, go out of the house, etc.
Whatever is wrong with them could not be seen on their outside
Disorder should not be mistaken with Schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a severe disturbance in the brain’s functioning.
Although Schizophrenia and Delusional Disorder share some similar
characteristics, they also differ in some.
One major factor is the type of delusion that is attributed to the
involves bizaare delusions. These delusions are highly unlikely to happen.
In other words, the delusions are hard to believe in.
The chances of them happening are from slim to nil.
disorder usually happens to people between the age of 40 to 55, but it may
also happen to people of younger age.
It affects 1% of the population and is not determined by a
person’s gender. It occurs
equally in men and women.
of the signs and symptoms of delusional disorder include:
Disorders could be classified into six major themes:
Persecution in Delusional Disorder is more elaborate than that of
Paranoid Personality Disorder. In
Paranoid Personality Disorder, the person affected would simply suspect
others of mild jokes and pranks as in making fun of him.
In Delusional Disorder, the person actually believes that other
people have sinister plans to poison, drug or kill him.
They would make heavy accusations against colleagues, friends and
family that the said people are threatening them.
Peole suffering from Delusional Disorder sometimes engage in
litigation in an attempt to redress imagined injustices.
In delusional jealousy, a person believes that his spouse or
partner is cheating on him, based on meaningless pieces of evidences.
A good example of this is when a man doubts his wife of cheating on
him because she is late in coming home.
Even if the wife provides a valid explanation, the husband would
still insist his theory. Another
example would be when a woman doubts his husband of cheating on her
because she found a strand of hair (that didn’t belong to her or her
husband) on his clothes. There
are other different reasons but they are mostly senseless like blot on
shirt, smell of perfume, being well groomed, etc.
Erotic Delusion involves the belief that an individual is
romantically loved by someone famous, oftenly an important public figure.
This could lead to the obsession of the individual to the important
person. It could also cause
harrasment and stalking.
An example of this is when a man with erotic delusion leaves lots
of messages on a famous celebrity’s answering machine just because he
thinks that the celebrity is in love with him.
Another possible example would be when a woman tells her friends
that she knows that a famous politician or even co-worker is in-love with
A person with grandiose delusion believes that he is gifted with
special powers that if given a chance to put into use, could perform
extraordinary feats like ensuring world peace, banishing poverty, create
cure for AIDS, etc.
A good example of this is the previously given story.
An individual with somatic delusion is convinced that there is
something wrong with his body. He
believes that he is extremely ugly or that he emits foul odors, have bugs
crawling all over his body, etc. Because
of these, people with somatic delusion avoid other poele’s company and
spend more time consulting physicians insisting that there is something
very wrong with them.
person with this type of delusion suffers from one or more of the
delusions listed above.
Paranoid Schizophrenia is a type of schizophrenia that involves the
feeling that one is being persecuted or plotted against.
Affected individuals may have delusions of grandeur connected to
the protection of themselves from the perceived plot.
The story below will provide a clearer picture of what a person
suffering from Paranoia Schizophrenia goes though.
“Steven had not liked high school very much
and was glad to graduate and get a job. But when he realized he needed
more education to reach his goals, he applied for admission into a nearby
college. He rented a house with several other young men and did well in
his studies. Near the end of his second year, Steven stopped eating with
the others and ate only food directly out of a can so he could be sure it
wasn't poisoned. When he crossed the campus, he tried to avoid girls as he
felt they shot poisoned webs at him that encompassed his body like a giant
spider web. When he began to feel that his housemates had put poisoned gas
in his room, he dropped out of school and returned home. He cleaned up his
room at home and put a lock on the door so his parents could not enter it
and contaminate it. He bought a small electric hot plate and prepared all
his own food. If his mother urged him to eat a meal with the family, he
accused her of wanting to poison him. His parents finally were able to
convince him to see a psychiatrist who diagnosed "schizophrenia,
subtype paranoia." With medication, individual and group therapy,
Steven has improved enough to work in an office under the supervision of
an understanding and supportive employer.”
Schizophrenia is the most severe case of paranoia among the other two
subtypes mentioned above. It
causes an individual to lose touch with reality.
They begin to hear, see, and feel things that do not really exist.
They could also become convinced of things that are not true.
They also have delusions that are usually of the specific theme.
The hallucinations involve mostly both the visual and auditory
senses. Some examples of the
this is when the affected people think that they are hearing voices or
that their thoughts are being broadcasted out loud.
In addition, their performance at home and at work is
In other milder paranoid disorders, people only have mild delusions
like that of persecution and jealousy.
They are still able to function normally in their society.
And although they are having delusions, they react to these
delusions appropriately. Unlike
in Paranoid Schizophrenia wherein they have prominent hallucination that
are often bizaare in nature. Their
thinking is often disorganized and are oftenly confused.
As of now, there is still no cure.
Symptoms usually develop gradually, although onset could be sudden.
The symptoms could be seen in acute stages but these do not prevent
the diagnosis of hallucinations. Family
members and friends are usually the first ones to notice the first changes
before the victim does. The
first signs appear between the age of 15 to 34.
are some possible signs and symptoms:
exact cause of Paranoia is unknown. Some
possible factors are genetics, neurogical abnormalities, changes in brain
chemistry, concusion, old age and stress.
It could also be caused by a side effect of drug abuse (i.e.
marijuana, amphetamines, alcohol, cocaine, PCP).
Short termed Paranoia may also happen to some individuals who
undergo great amount of stress.
research has been done and it is still unclear if paranoia can be
inherited. Scientists found
out that families of paranoid patients do not have abnormal rates of
either schizophrenia or depression. However,
there is some evidence that symptoms in schizophrenia could be genetically
influenced. Recent research
also shows that paranoid disorders are more common to relatives of people
with schizophrenia. It is
also said that if a twin has paranoia, the other pair is most likely to
have paranoid disorder too.
Paranoia has not yet been directly examined except as a subtype of
schizophrenia. The causes of
schizophrenia are still being debated.
It is also said that the abuse of drugs such as amphetmines,
cocaine, marijuana, PCP, LSD, and other stimulants could lead to symptoms
of paranoid thinking or behaviour. The
situation of people with severe mental disorder could get worse by taking
scientists would like to believe that paranoia is caused by high level
stress. In support to this,
people undergoing large amount of stress (i.e. prisoners of war,
businessmen, immigrants, etc.) are more prone to paranoia.
Considering this information, other factors could not be ruled out.
Genetic defect, brain abnormality, an information-processing
disability or all these could predispose a person to paranoia and that
stress merely acted as a trigger.
treatment for people suffering from Paranoid Personality Disorder and
Delusional Disorder are similar. However,
because of the complexity and the amount of damage it inflicts, treatment
in Paranoid Schizophrenia is different.
Paranoid Personality Disorder and Delusional Disorder
of a patient’s mistrustfulness and suspiciousness, it is hard to treat a
person with Paranoid Disorder. Rarely
will they talk casually in an interview.
They are suspicious of the kind of questions a therapist may ask.
They would also try to avoid taking drugs and hospitalization
because they are afraid that they may lose control in other dangers.
patient’s condition may be improved by treating him with appropriate
antipsychotic drugs like thioridazine (Mellaril), haloperidol (Haldol),
chlorpromazine (Thorazine), clozapine (Clozaril), or risperidone (Risperidal).
However, the paranoid symptoms still remain intact.
Some studies show that the symptoms improve right after the drug
treatment, but the same results could be seen on patients who received a
placebo. A placebo is a
“sugar pill” without active ingredients.
A patient’s medication should be closely monitored because their
suspiciousness could cause them to refuse treatment. (i.e. hiding the
medicine in their cheek and spit it out when nobody is looking.)
reports state that the oppurtunity to express one’s feelings (i.e.
suspicion, self-doubts) afforded by psychotherapy, can help the patient to
function in a community. Although
paranoid ideas still exist, they seem to be less disruptive.
They could function normally but the delusions are still there.
acute attack may recquire full time hospitalization in a locked inpatient
unit. When the symptoms
subside, the person may be transferred to a partial care program in which
they could return home after each day’s therapy.
Although inpatients are allowed to wear their own clothes, they
would still be searched for sharp objects.
Patients who present danger outside the hospital may be
involuntarily hospitalized. While
spending time there, patients may encounter the one or more of the
is ran by a medical staff wherein patients share their ideas.
It is more like a support group session.
Patients talk to the therapist alone.
They discuss their ways of dealing with their disease.
In these sessions, medical staff will prepare you and your family
for your return home.
you seem dangerous, medical staff may separate you from other patients and
put you in a “safety room”
who pose danger to other people and himself will be tied up with leather
This is also known as ECT or Shock Therapy.
It applies mild electric current.
The memory is temporarily disrupted but it usually comes back in 2
weeks. This is done to
patients who become very depressed. This
helps in speed recovery.
If a patient fails to get medication, he may
not function in the real world. And
when he falls into hallucination and delusion, he may endager himself and
the people around him.
Paranoia is now known as a disorder, not just a word we call out to
people we consider crazy. It
is not a colloquial term we use that is inline with “geeks” and
“nerds”. It is an illness
that nobody wanted or chose to have.
People who have these disorders should not be laughed at.
They are already undergoing tremendous amount of pain and
confusion. They do not need us teasing them because they are already
deprived of the chance to live normally.
Most narrow-minded people shove them away from their lives and
consider them as weirdos.
this is the case for some people, it is good to know that man and science
are working together to determine the root and possibly the ultimate cure
for these illnesses. A day
would come when medical science will finally find the root and treatment
for these disorders.
resistant schizophrenia tackled”, Manila Bulletin, Vol.290 # 17, F 11
PersonalityDisorder Information : http://www.4degreez.com/misc/disorder.information2.htm
Paranoid Personality Disorder :
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Encyclopedia.com- Results for delusion :
Paranoid Schizophrenia from Healthsquare.com:
Gail. Delusional Disorder :
Herbert, et.al, revised by Margaret Strock. Useful Information on…
Paula Anne Ford. Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine:Paranoia :
Health. Schizophrenia:Europena Description :
Psych Central: Delusional Disorder Symptoms:
Paranoid Personality Disorder : http://www.psyweb.com/Mdiscord/papd.html:revised
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