Paranoid Schizophrenia: What You Need To Know
Paranoid Schizophrenia: What You Need To Know
Has one of your friends or loved ones recently been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia? Perhaps you’re the one who has received the diagnosis and you’re looking for answers, information, and some helpful advice on how to cope with this mental illness.
Paranoid schizophrenia is a subtype of schizophrenia, which is a mental disorder. It’s important to understand the implications of what the disorder is, how to live with and treat it properly. Receiving a diagnosis like this can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. There are millions of resources available to help you learn and do everything you can to live a full, happy, and content life.
What Is Paranoid Schizophrenia?
Paranoid schizophrenia is the most commonly diagnosed type of schizophrenia. These days, it’s becoming more commonly referred to by doctors as schizophrenia with paranoia. In essence, people who suffer from paranoid schizophrenia struggle because their mind doesn’t agree or interact properly with reality.
Because they suffer from symptoms that cause immense paranoia in some cases, the mental illness can cause living a “normal” life to be very difficult. Many people have trouble holding down a job, attend scheduled appointments, or develop relationships with friends and family members.
Paranoid Schizophrenia Symptoms
The #1 symptom of paranoid schizophrenia is delusions. People who have paranoid schizophrenia have an extremely difficult time distinguishing from what is real and what they see and experience as reality in their minds. Most of the time, their delusions are not positive ones. This causes them to become paranoid, fearful and scared. They often believe someone close to them (a neighbor, family member or coworker) is out to get them or harm them in some way.
What can begin as seemingly a battle with anxiety can develop into stronger fears and delusions such as being afraid a spouse is cheating, or a friend is trying to poison your food. These fears cause many to become reclusive and to stay inside much of the time, away from people and experiences that could harm them.
People with paranoid schizophrenia also have trouble when their senses don’t work properly. This can cause them to experience hallucinations. Some hear single voices saying negative things to them, others hear multiple people sometimes screaming or yelling. Patients with this disorder find it difficult to know if these voices are real or just in their mind.
Paranoid Schizophrenia Treatment
Doctors and scientists are still working on finding a cure to schizophrenia. However, there are several treatments for paranoid schizophrenia that have had positive results in many patients.
It’s common for doctors to prescribe an antipsychotic medication to help treat symptoms. Sometimes it takes a few tries with different medications in pill or liquid form, before you get the proper balance to actually see results. It’s important to remain patient and pay close attention to how the medications make you think, feel and act so you can help your doctor give you the best treatment possible.
Be sure to avoid smoking cigarettes or other stimulants like marijuana since these can interact negatively with the antipsychotic medication and reverse your symptoms. If you do start seeing improvement when on the medication, make sure you keep taking it! Many people think they’re “cured” and then stop taking the drugs. However, this will cause your symptoms to return. It’s important to take the medication regularly so that you can live a full and happy life.
After controlling your symptoms with the help of a doctor, they might recommend you see a therapist to help you with the emotional and psychological effects of a paranoid schizophrenia diagnosis. Receiving cognitive behavioral therapy has proven to be extremely effective and helpful for patients. They receive constant encouragement to continue their medications, and learn how to approach the illness from the proper mental perspective.
Even though it might be the last thing you want to do, it’s important to surround yourself with friends and family who love you. They are your biggest fan and want to support you in this battle. Let them! The support of people who love us is extremely important to feeling like there is something to work on, strive for, and ultimately conquer.
Having paranoid schizophrenia can be a very difficult reality to face. It’s not a hopeless diagnosis, however. There is treatment, help and people who want to care for you and support you all the way. Don’t forget that!
Image Source: 1, 2, 3
Surviving Schizophrenia, 6th Edition: A Family Manual
Schizophrenia: Understanding Symptoms Diagnosis & Treatment