Paranoia as a Symptom of Addiction

Paranoia is a symptom of addiction that makes it difficult for you to trust others. It is accompanied by a constant suspicion that someone might be out to harm you or that someone close to you is intentionally treating you badly. Paranoia is usually common in people suffering from dementia. If the condition isn’t treated for a prolonged period of time, it could lead to a personality disorder, schizophrenia and other serious mental illnesses.

Paranoia is one of the symptoms experienced when you or someone you care about regularly abuse a substance over a period of time, are addicted to certain substances or are going through withdrawal. That feeling of being in danger or that someone is coming to harm you (even when you are alone) becomes frequent. This causes an inability for you (or the person involved) to trust people or to even feel comfortable in a certain, known, environment.

Signs of Paranoia

One of the most important steps to tackling paranoia is by knowing the signs when they begin to manifest. Whether the condition is experienced by you or someone you care about, here are some of the signs to take note of:

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  • Isolation or the need to stay away from others
  • Feeling victimised or persecuted when there isn’t a threat
  • Feeling disbelieved or misunderstood

  • Lack of trust in people (even those close to you)
  • Fear and depression
  • Feeling stressed or anxious as a result of how you perceive people around you – or your surroundings
  • Aggressiveness or hostile behaviour towards others
  • Hallucinations

When to Talk to a Professional?

If you partake in some form of substance abuse or are addicted and experience paranoia on a constant basis, it’s only wise that you talk to someone close to you or, better yet, a doctor. This is because it could lead to many other problems that are associated with substance abuse, such as depression, nausea, confusion and abnormal behaviour. Bringing attention to the condition will make treatment or therapy a lot more effective.

Due to the lack of trust in others – coupled with constant fear – some people suffering from paranoia tend to become aggressive or hostile, even to those trying to help them. In such cases, they may be admitted to a residential clinic (based on a doctor’s recommendations) to ensure the right treatment is administered immediately.

On the other hand, if the paranoia isn’t related to drug abuse, the root cause could range from childhood experiences, fear or head injury, amongst others. This is another reason why a thorough assessment and treatment plan are to be pursued when dealing with paranoia.

Although substance abuse, addiction and withdrawal can lead to paranoia, there are also other factors that should not be neglected. These include the chemistry of the brain; stress; accidents that lead to head injury; and genetic factors of the body. This is why it’s important to know what exactly is related to paranoia in order to enable health professionals to diagnose accurately.

When talking to a doctor, questions you will be asked with regards when you noticed a decrease in self-esteem; whether you experienced any traumatic event some time ago; when you last came into contact with other people, and so on. This history enables medical professionals to determine what is wrong and how this can be treated.

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