Paranoia

Paranoia

Overview
Paranoia [ˌpar.rəˈnoɪ.ə] (adjective
Adjective
In grammar, an adjective is a 'describing' word; the main syntactic role of which is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified....

: paranoid [ˈpar.rə.noɪd]) is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety
Anxiety
Anxiety is a psychological and physiological state characterized by somatic, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components. The root meaning of the word anxiety is 'to vex or trouble'; in either presence or absence of psychological stress, anxiety can create feelings of fear, worry, uneasiness,...

 or fear
Fear
Fear is a distressing negative sensation induced by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger...

, often to the point of irrationality
Irrationality
Irrationality is cognition, thinking, talking or acting without inclusion of rationality. It is more specifically described as an action or opinion given through inadequate reasoning, emotional distress, or cognitive deficiency...

 and delusion
Delusion
A delusion is a false belief held with absolute conviction despite superior evidence. Unlike hallucinations, delusions are always pathological...

. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. False accusations
False accusations
False accusations can be in any of the following contexts:* informally in everyday life* quasi-judicially* judicially.-Types:...

 and the distrust
Distrust
Distrust is a formal way of not trusting any one party too much in a situation of grave risk or deep doubt. It is commonly expressed in civics as a division or balance of powers, or in politics as means of validating treaty terms. Systems based on distrust simply divide the responsibility so that...

 of others also frequently accompany paranoia.

Historically, this characterization was used to describe any delusional state.
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Encyclopedia
Paranoia [ˌpar.rəˈnoɪ.ə] (adjective
Adjective
In grammar, an adjective is a 'describing' word; the main syntactic role of which is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified....

: paranoid [ˈpar.rə.noɪd]) is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety
Anxiety
Anxiety is a psychological and physiological state characterized by somatic, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components. The root meaning of the word anxiety is 'to vex or trouble'; in either presence or absence of psychological stress, anxiety can create feelings of fear, worry, uneasiness,...

 or fear
Fear
Fear is a distressing negative sensation induced by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger...

, often to the point of irrationality
Irrationality
Irrationality is cognition, thinking, talking or acting without inclusion of rationality. It is more specifically described as an action or opinion given through inadequate reasoning, emotional distress, or cognitive deficiency...

 and delusion
Delusion
A delusion is a false belief held with absolute conviction despite superior evidence. Unlike hallucinations, delusions are always pathological...

. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. False accusations
False accusations
False accusations can be in any of the following contexts:* informally in everyday life* quasi-judicially* judicially.-Types:...

 and the distrust
Distrust
Distrust is a formal way of not trusting any one party too much in a situation of grave risk or deep doubt. It is commonly expressed in civics as a division or balance of powers, or in politics as means of validating treaty terms. Systems based on distrust simply divide the responsibility so that...

 of others also frequently accompany paranoia.

Historically, this characterization was used to describe any delusional state. In modern colloquial use, the term "paranoia" is sometimes misused to describe a phobia
Phobia
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational...

. The general lack of blame
Blame
Blame is the act of censuring, holding responsible, making negative statements about an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible, the opposite of praise. When someone is morally responsible for doing something wrong their action is blameworthy...

 in phobia disorders sharply differentiates the two. In other words, fearing that something bad or harmful might happen does not in itself imply paranoia. Rather, there is an irrational fear of malice
Malice
Malice may refer to:* Malice , a legal term describing the intent to harm* Jerry Tuite , American professional wrestler also known by the ring name Malice-Entertainment:...

 by others (excepting rare cases of schizophrenia
Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a disintegration of thought processes and of emotional responsiveness. It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social...

).

History


The word paranoia comes from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 "παράνοια" (paranoia), "madness
Insanity
Insanity, craziness or madness is a spectrum of behaviors characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns. Insanity may manifest as violations of societal norms, including becoming a danger to themselves and others, though not all such acts are considered insanity...

" and that from "παρά" (para), "beside, by" + "νόος" (noos), "mind". The term was used to describe a mental illness in which a
delusional belief is the sole or most prominent feature. In an original attempt at classifying different forms of mental illness, Kraepelin
Emil Kraepelin
Emil Kraepelin was a German psychiatrist. H.J. Eysenck's Encyclopedia of Psychology identifies him as the founder of modern scientific psychiatry, as well as of psychopharmacology and psychiatric genetics. Kraepelin believed the chief origin of psychiatric disease to be biological and genetic...

 used the term pure paranoia to describe a condition where a delusion was present, but without any apparent deterioration in intellectual abilities and without any of the other features of dementia praecox, the condition later renamed "schizophrenia". Notably, in his definition, the belief does not have to be persecutory to be classified as paranoid, so any number of delusional beliefs can be classified as paranoia. For example, a person who has the sole delusional belief that he is an important religious figure would be classified by Kraepelin as having 'pure paranoia'. According to Phelan, M. Padraig, W. Stern, J (2000) paranoia and paraphrenia
Paraphrenia
Paraphrenia is described as a group of psychotic illnesses distinct from paranoia and from schizophrenia.. Paraphrenia as a separate disorder is not included in either ICD 10 or DSM IV and is likely to be classified as atypical psychosis, schizoaffective disorder or delusional disorder using these...

 are debated entities that were detached from dementia praecox
Dementia praecox
Dementia praecox refers to a chronic, deteriorating psychotic disorder characterized by rapid cognitive disintegration, usually beginning in the late teens or early adulthood. It is a term first used in 1891 in this Latin form by Arnold Pick , a professor of psychiatry at the German branch of...

 by Kraepelin, who explained paranoia as a continuous systematized delusion arising much later in life with no presence of either hallucinations or a deteriorating course, paraphrenia as an identical syndrome to paranoia but with hallucinations. Even at the present time, a delusion need not be suspicious or fearful to be classified as paranoid. A person might be diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic without delusions of persecution, simply because their delusions refer mainly to themselves.

Use in modern psychiatry


In the DSM-IV-TR, paranoia is diagnosed in the form of:
  • paranoid personality disorder
    Paranoid personality disorder
    Paranoid personality disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis characterized by paranoia and a pervasive, long-standing suspiciousness and generalized mistrust of others....

  • paranoid schizophrenia (a subtype of schizophrenia
    Schizophrenia
    Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a disintegration of thought processes and of emotional responsiveness. It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social...

    )
  • the persecutory
    Persecutory delusions
    Persecutory delusions are a delusional condition in which the affected person believes they are being persecuted...

     type of delusional disorder
    Delusional disorder
    Delusional disorder is an uncommon psychiatric condition in which patients present with circumscribed symptoms of non-bizarre delusions, but with the absence of prominent hallucinations and no thought disorder, mood disorder, or significant flattening of affect...

    , which is also called "querulous paranoia" when the focus is to remedy some injustice by legal action.


According to clinical psychologist P. J. McKenna, "As a noun, paranoia denotes a disorder which has been argued in and out of existence, and whose clinical features, course, boundaries, and virtually every other aspect of which is controversial. Employed as an adjective, paranoid has become attached to a diverse set of presentations, from paranoid schizophrenia, through paranoid depression, to paranoid personality—not to mention a motley collection of paranoid 'psychoses', 'reactions', and 'states'—and this is to restrict discussion to functional disorders. Even when abbreviated down to the prefix para-, the term crops up causing trouble as the contentious but stubbornly persistent concept of paraphrenia
Paraphrenia
Paraphrenia is described as a group of psychotic illnesses distinct from paranoia and from schizophrenia.. Paraphrenia as a separate disorder is not included in either ICD 10 or DSM IV and is likely to be classified as atypical psychosis, schizoaffective disorder or delusional disorder using these...

."

See also


  • Paranoid social cognition
    Paranoid social cognition
    - Paranoid and paranoid cognition: background :Paranoia is a central symptom of psychosis . It is characterized by an unfounded or exaggerated distrust of others, sometimes reaching delusional proportions...

  • Catastrophization
  • Delusions of reference 
  • Distrust
    Distrust
    Distrust is a formal way of not trusting any one party too much in a situation of grave risk or deep doubt. It is commonly expressed in civics as a division or balance of powers, or in politics as means of validating treaty terms. Systems based on distrust simply divide the responsibility so that...

  • Ideas of reference
    Ideas of reference
    Ideas of reference and delusions of reference involve people having a belief or perception that irrelevant, unrelated or innocuous phenomena in the world refer to them directly or have special personal significance: 'the notion that everything one perceives in the world relates to one's own...

  • Fusion paranoia
  • Monomania
    Monomania
    In 19th century psychiatry, monomania is a single pathological preoccupation in an otherwise sound mind. Emotional monomania is that in which the patient is obsessed with only one emotion or several related to it; intellectual monomania is that which is related to only one kind of delirious idea...


  • Narcissistic personality disorder
    Narcissistic personality disorder
    Narcissistic personality disorder is a personality disorder in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity...

  • Paranoid personality disorder
    Paranoid personality disorder
    Paranoid personality disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis characterized by paranoia and a pervasive, long-standing suspiciousness and generalized mistrust of others....

  • Pronoia
    Pronoia (psychology)
    Pronoia is a neologism that is defined as the opposite state of mind as paranoia: having the sense that there is a conspiracy that exists to help the person...

  • Religious paranoia
    Religious paranoia
    Religious paranoia is a condition which has been compared to extremism and intolerance. It has been cited as a possible contributor to political violence...

  • Schizophrenia
    Schizophrenia
    Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a disintegration of thought processes and of emotional responsiveness. It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social...

  • Whispers: The Voices of Paranoia
    Whispers: The Voices of Paranoia
    Whispers: The Voices of Paranoia is a narrative by Ronald K. Siegel. First published in 1994, it is a narrative about the extremes of phobias called paranoia.- Paranoia :...