Meaning of Paranoia

What is Paranoia:

Paranoia, also known as Delusional Disorder or Delusional Disorder, is a psychotic disorder characterized by recurring delusions or fixed and obsessive ideas about a topic or issue. As such, the word comes from the Greek παράνοια (paranoia), from παρά (para), which means ‘beside’, ‘against’ or ‘outside’, and νόος (nóos), which translates ‘spirit’, ‘mind’.

Among its causes, the appearance of delusional disorder or paranoia is associated with egomaniacal people, with markedly narcissistic behaviors, who have faced situations of great frustration.

Other common traits that have been observed in individuals who suffer from paranoia are low self-esteem, emotional coldness, inflexibility, authoritarianism and distrust, with a propensity to resentment and depression.

For Sigmund Freud, paranoia was presented as a defense mechanism against a homosexual impulse that for the individual was unacceptable.

Some of the most serious consequences of paranoia are social isolation that can become very pronounced, and abandonment or neglect of the individual's work or school activities.

Characteristics of paranoia

Some of the most obvious characteristics or symptoms that manifest in a person with delusional disorder or paranoia are:

  • Recurring ideas of being in danger and search for evidence to prove it.
  • Persistent attitude of mistrust and suspicion towards others: they think they are hiding things from them or they intend to use them.
  • Social isolation based on mistrust towards other people.
  • Two types of differentiated behaviors: one towards family and friends and the other towards strangers.
  • Coldness, emotional detachment and avoidance of intimacy.
  • Hostility towards their environment.
  • Egocentrism, narcissism: behaviors where they show an exaggerated appreciation for their virtues and achievements.
  • Rigidity, inflexibility and authoritarianism.
  • Problems relating to other people and teamwork.
  • Intolerance to criticism and manifest difficulties in practicing self-criticism.
  • Need to create external antagonists.
  • Depressive episodes
  • Projection towards others of what causes them annoyances, frustrations and tensions in themselves.

Types of paranoia

There are different types of paranoia or delusional disorders according to the object of the delusions:

  • Megalomaniacal paranoia: the individual believes he has superior talents or powers, is related to divine beings or famous or powerful people, and is in the world because he was entrusted with a high mission.
  • Celotypic paranoia: the individual has a recurring suspicion that his partner is unfaithful to him.
  • Persecutory delusion paranoia: the individual is obsessed with the idea that he is being pursued, spied on, watched, and that the people around him participate in a plot against him.
  • Somatic type paranoia: the individual believes that he or she suffers from a disease or has some defect or physical problem.

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