What Is Paranoid Schizophrenia?

Published 11/24/2020

When schizophrenia first appears in children, they may not think of their symptoms as indicative of a mental illness. When they hear whispers in their head, believe that they are being followed, or cannot organize their thoughts, children and even adults may think that these symptoms are just a normal part of their daily routine. 

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 69 percent of people with schizophrenia do not receive proper care. They also report that over 90 percent of people with untreated schizophrenia live in low- and middle-income areas.

While many people with untreated cases of schizophrenia are unable to see a physician, both they and their loved ones can (and often do) try to educate themselves about the mental health disorder using the resources at their disposal. Support from a loved one can go a far way in helping people with schizophrenia live their lives successfully and without fear. Information is a powerful tool.

The following information about paranoid schizophrenia may not apply to everyone. Schizophrenia affects people in different ways. However, if one piece of information sticks with you, you may be better equipped to help yourself or a loved one than you were before researching. Please continue reading and discover more about paranoid schizophrenia, including the symptoms, causes, and treatment methods.

What Is Paranoid Schizophrenia?

Paranoid schizophrenia disorder is no longer considered a separate diagnostic condition from schizophrenia. The American Psychiatric Association ruled in 2013, with paranoid schizophrenia now considered a positive symptom of schizophrenia. However, for this article, schizophrenia paranoia will refer to an in-depth look into the paranoia aspect of schizophrenia. 

Individuals are diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia if they have reoccurring delusions or hallucinations that are grandiose, such as believing that they are especially famous or important. In other instances, people with paranoid schizophrenia may have persecutory delusions. During these delusions, people believe that they are being persecuted, either by a small group or a big entity targeting them, such as the CIA or other forms of government. 

Typically, those with paranoid schizophrenia commonly experience more positive symptoms of schizophrenia. Positive symptoms refer not to “good” symptoms but rather symptoms that add to daily experiences rather than detract from them, such as an added hallucination. Negative symptoms refer to behaviors or symptoms that take away from a person’s experience or capabilities. Someone with paranoid schizophrenia may be less bothered with negative symptoms, including social withdrawal or depression. However, there are instances where people with delusions and hallucinations also isolate themselves from family or friends. 

People who believe that they are in a hopeless situation may think that there is no one to turn to for help. As a result, they may trap themselves within their minds, which can endanger them and affect their behavior in the present and the future. Therefore, it is important to recognize the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia, either for yourself or a loved one.

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What Are The Paranoid Schizophrenia Symptoms?

There are types of symptoms to look out for in people you believe may experience paranoid schizophrenia symptoms. Common types include the following:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Disorganized speaking or behavior
  • Negative symptoms

If you are one of many people who do not have access to a healthcare provider but think that you or they have paranoid schizophrenia, then consider taking a test that will show if you have symptoms.

However, understand that this test is not a diagnosis of schizophrenia. It will help you in deciding if you want to pursue advice from a medical expert. For more information on the test, click on the following link: https://www.mind-diagnostics.org/schizophrenia-test.

How Do Hallucinations And Delusions Impact Someone With Paranoid Schizophrenia?

Hallucinations and/or delusions may be voices that come from shadows or a belief of being followed by an unknown and dangerous threat. People with paranoid schizophrenia may be fully convinced that their hallucinations and delusions are real without having evidence. They may also not listen to their loved ones about the validity of their paranoia. 

As a result, those with hallucinations and delusions may strive to defeat their oppressors through physical or cognitive means. This can include locking themselves in their homes and not talking to friends or family. 

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Lastly, the delusions that someone with paranoid schizophrenia experience may be indicative of the current period. For example, since today’s day and age revolves around technology, it is common for affected individuals to have delusions about being spied on, their devices being monitored, or other dangers about their privacy being breached. 

How Can You Or Your Loved One Cope With Someone Experiencing Positive Symptoms Of Schizophrenia?

If you or a loved one are taking action due to hallucinations and delusions, please know that they are not ignoring your rational argument dismissing their paranoia. Simply put, they are trying to defeat their paranoid schizophrenia on their own because they may believe that no one will genuinely help them.

So be patient. Show them that you are there and willing to listen and take the time to help them when they need it. And if you believe that you have schizophrenia, then please be patient with yourself. Do be hard on yourself for something that you have no control over. Instead, recognize that people in your life want the best for you and ask for their guidance and advice.

What Are The Risk Factors For Paranoid Schizophrenia?

There is no precise cause for schizophrenia. Many experts have discussed that genetics may play a factor in schizophrenia. But, not everybody with a family member who has schizophrenia will have the mental health illness themselves. And not everyone will develop the paranoia symptoms of schizophrenia. 

Here is a list of potential risk factors for schizophrenia, but keep in mind that these factors are not absolute:

  • Abnormalities in the brain
  • Traumatic childhood events
  • Losing a parent at an early age, either due to forced separation or a divorce
  • Exposure to a virus during infancy
  • Environmental factors, including poverty levels
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It is difficult to predict a person’s likelihood of getting schizophrenia or chronic paranoid schizophrenia. Furthermore, since people with schizophrenia often might not know if they have it, making they sometimes less likely to seek care. 

How Can You Or A Loved One Live With A Paranoid Schizophrenia?

You or a loved one can manage and live with paranoid schizophrenia even if it may not be an easy process. Paranoid schizophrenia can occur as a series of episodes, fluctuating between moments of anxiety and stress alongside episodes of happiness.

But the frequency of paranoid schizophrenia should not be an obstacle to recovery. Remember that official treatment plans can only come from a licensed professional; however, there are various helpful behaviors that you can take on in the meantime. Here are a few of them:

For self-help treatment options, those with paranoid schizophrenia can:

  • Adopt a pet and provide them with love and nourishment. Cats, dogs, and all other kinds of pets can provide unconditional love to an individual that can help them better manage feelings toward their symptoms of schizophrenia.
  • Connect with people who also have paranoid schizophrenia. Feel free and comfortable using the internet and searching for support groups living with paranoid schizophrenia.
    • It may be scary to reach out and ask for help. Many with paranoid schizophrenia do not ask for help. But all that you have to do is try. Try your best to connect with someone. Believe in yourself and find something that can help you deal with paranoid schizophrenia.
  • Confide in at least one person about your episodes. That could be your parents, close friends, or loved ones. Let them know what you are going through. You may need someone to listen to your experiences. 
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It could be useful for more self-help tips to listen to Allie Burke’s story about living with paranoid schizophrenia. Allie bravely shares her story with the world, explaining how it feels to manage her day-to-day routine with paranoid schizophrenia. If you are a student experiencing symptoms of psychosis, you may also benefit from learning about Cecilia McGough and joining her community of Students with Psychosis. 

Conclusion

Paranoid schizophrenia is a form of schizophrenia that may cause individuals to experience hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and more. These are generally referred to as “positive” symptoms of schizophrenia because these are the symptoms that “add” to a person in the sense that they are added experiences that would not exist if it were not from schizophrenia. On the other hand, negative symptoms of schizophrenia may include social isolation, confused speech, and depression.

It is difficult to overcome paranoid schizophrenia or other mental health illnesses like it, often because you may feel it’s unnecessary to seek help. There will be good days, and there will be bad days. But do not despair over the bad days. It is okay to not be okay. Forgive and surround yourself with people who care about you, and never let anyone tell you that it is not appropriate or reasonable to seek help if you feel that you need it. By taking small steps every day, it will be possible for you or a loved one to manage and live a full life with paranoid schizophrenia.