Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
paranoia(pr'ənoi`ə), in psychology, a term denoting persistent, unalterable, systematized, logically reasoned delusionsdelusion,
false belief based upon a misinterpretation of reality. It is not, like a hallucination, a false sensory perception, or like an illusion, a distorted perception.
..... Click the link for more information. , or false beliefs, usually of persecution or grandeur. In the former case the paranoiac creates a complex delusional system that purports to show that people want to hurt him; in the latter, he sees himself as an exalted person with a mission of great importance. Other types of delusions include somatic delusions, as in the case of hypochondriahypochondria
, in psychology, a disorder characterized by an exaggeration of imagined or negligible physical ailment. The hypochondriac fears that such minor symptoms indicate a serious disease, and tends to be self-centered and socially withdrawn.
..... Click the link for more information. , and jealous delusions. The term paranoia was first used by German psychiatrist Karl L. Kahlbaum in 1863. The condition, often known as delusional disorder, is found among individuals suffering from paranoid schizophreniaschizophrenia
, group of severe mental disorders characterized by reality distortions resulting in unusual thought patterns and behaviors. Because there is often little or no logical relationship between the thoughts and feelings of a person with schizophrenia, the disorder has
..... Click the link for more information. , paranoid personality disorder, and any of several paranoid disorders. Minor instances of paranoia are also commonly found among older people. Most individuals who suffer from some form of paranoia tend to be suspicious of the motives of others, leading them to be hypersensitive, tense, and argumentative. Jealousy and vengeful emotions are also common, and can lead to violent confrontation in the most severe cases. In most paranoid delusions, the individual believes that there is a pattern to random events which is somehow connected to him. Individuals with paranoid schizophrenia often suffer from delusions in conjunction with more severe symptoms, such as hallucinationshallucination,
false perception characterized by a distortion of real sensory stimuli. Common types of hallucination are auditory, i.e., hearing voices or noises and visual, i.e., seeing people that are not actually present.
..... Click the link for more information. .
A mode of thought, feeling, and behavior characterized centrally by false persecutory beliefs, more specifically referred to as paranoidness. Commonly associated with these core persecutory beliefs are properties of suspiciousness, fearfulness, hostility, hypersensitivity, rigidity of conviction, and an exaggerated sense of self-reference. These properties are evident with varying degrees of intensity and duration.
The paranoid mode can be triggered at either biological or psychological levels. Common precipitating biological causes are brain trauma or tumor, thyroid disorder, cerebral arteriosclerosis, and intoxication with certain drugs, including alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, other psychostimulants, and hallucinogens such as mescaline or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). They can produce disordered activity of central dopaminergic and noradrenergic pathways. At the psychological level, triggering causes include false arrest, birth of a deformed child, social isolation, deafness, and intensely humiliating experiences. See Noradrenergic system
The paranoid mode is resistant to modification by psychotherapeutic or pharmacological methods. Acute psychotic states of paranoidness accompanied by high levels of anxiety are usually responsive to neuroleptic medication. See Psychopharmacology
a mental disorder manifested by fixed, systematized delusions without hallucinations—for example, delusions of persecution and grandeur, and also delusional jealousy—that are distinguished by complex content, logical consistency, and outward plausibility. The paranoiac ignores the facts that contradict his delusion and regards anyone who does not share his conviction as an enemy. His affect corresponds to the nature of the delusion, and his struggle for confirmation and realization of the delusion is relentless and aggressive. There are no clear signs of intellectual deterioration, and occupational skills are usually retained for a long time.
The prevalent view in modern psychiatry is that paranoia is a symptom complex that arises in the course of schizophrenia and certain other mental diseases. Paranoia is rarely described as an independent disease. In contrast to paranoia, the paranoid state is accompanied by hallucinations (for example, the sensation of a violent external influence), psychic automatisms, fear, and bewilderment.
B. I. FRANKSHTEIN