What are the common signs of paranoia?

Depending on what paranoid thoughts you are having, they can cause you to feel a wide range of emotions. You may feel:

  • Anxious and stressed
  • Scared
  • Confused
  • Frustrated or angry
  • Mistrustful of other people and organisations
  • Victimised or persecuted
  • Threatened
  • Disbelieved or misunderstood
  • Alone and isolated
  • Tired – from worrying all the time

“I find it really hard to trust people as my head tells me they’re out to get me.”

If your paranoia is part of a psychotic disorder, you may also hear voices or see things that other people do not.

Paranoia may begin to have an impact on your behaviour and day-to-day life. You may find you are:

  • Finding it difficult to trust other people and maintain relationships
  • Showing physical symptoms of stress or anxiety – shaking, sweating or having panic attacks
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate or continue with day-to-day tasks, such as using public transport or carrying out paid work
  • Sleeping very little or not at all
  • Not making time to look after yourself, including not eating regularly or not taking care of your personal appearance
  • Isolating yourself in order to avoid situations that frighten you, or because you are worried other people might judge you

“Being paranoid is a daily issue for me… When I’m unwell I think everyone wants to hurt me. I get paranoid that people are waiting outside my flat and my feelings then take over completely [so I can’t go out].”

You may be aware that your thoughts are paranoid and not based in fact, or it may be that you feel that your views or beliefs are real. Having paranoid thoughts can be very isolating and distressing, as other people are unlikely to share your views or beliefs. You may feel you have to cope with fears alone and that nobody else understands what you are experiencing.

Over time, paranoia can lead to additional mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

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