3 Main Types Of Paranoia

3 Main Types Of Paranoia

The cause of paranoia is unknown but genetics are thought to play a role. Treatment depends on the condition diagnosed as its cause and may include treatment by psychological therapy or medication.

Paranoia is the irrational and persistent feeling that people are “out to get you” or that you are the subject of persistent, intrusive attention by others.

Paranoia is associated with three principal conditions:

Paranoid schizophrenia – is considered the most severe type. It is characterized by strange delusions, such as believing that one’s thoughts are being broadcast over the radio.

Hallucinations, especially bizarre ones, are also common to the condition. A person with paranoid schizophrenia often finds the world confusing and functions poorly without treatment.

Paranoid personality disorder – is considered the mildest type. Most people with paranoid personality disorder function well despite their mistrust of the world. The attitudes and behaviors associated with this disorder, when they become obvious, are often discovered to have been present for much of the person’s life.

Delusional (paranoid) disorder – characterized by the dominance of one delusion (false belief) without any other sign of mental illness. The person’s behavior depends on which delusion they have.

For example, a person who has a delusion of persecution believes that other people are spying on them or plotting to harm them in some way. Stalking can be the result of delusional (paranoid) disorder – for example, the person believes they are in a relationship with a movie star they have never met. In another case, a person may imagine they have a terrible illness, despite repeated reassurance from doctors.


Treatment depends on the type and severity of the condition but may include:

Medications – anti-anxiety drugs or antipsychotic drugs can ease some of the symptoms. However, a person with paranoia may often refuse to take medication because they are afraid it will harm them.

Therapy – this can help the person cope with their symptoms and may improve their ability to function. However, a person with paranoia is unlikely to talk openly and freely to a therapist, so progress can be extremely slow.

Coping skills – other treatments aim to improve the person’s ability to function socially. Options may include relaxation therapy, techniques to reduce anxiety, and behavior modification.

Hospital admission – in severe cases, the person may need to stay in a hospital until the condition causing paranoia stabilizes.

While there is no absolute cure for the conditions that cause paranoia, treatment can help the person cope with their symptoms and live a happier, more productive life.


The condition causing paranoia can be difficult to diagnose because an exaggerated sense of mistrust is common in a range of mental disorders and also occurs in some people with dementia. Another difficulty is that a person who has paranoia may avoid doctors, hospitals, and other medical settings for fear of being harmed. Main Types Of Paranoia.