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Paranoia

 


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Classification and external resources
ICD-10 F20.0, F22.0, F22.8
ICD-9 295.3, 297.1, 297.2
MeSH D010259

This article is about the thought process. For other uses, see Paranoia (disambiguation) and Paranoid (disambiguation).
"Paranoiac" redirects here. For the film, see Paranoiac (film).

Paranoia [ˌpærəˈnɔɪ.ə] (adjective: paranoid [ˈpærə.nɔɪd]) is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. (e.g. "Everyone is out to get me.") Making false accusations and the general distrust of others also frequently accompany paranoia. For example, an incident most people would view as an accident, a paranoid person might make an accusation that it was intentional. However, just because an individual is paranoid does not necessarily mean his or her suspicions are false, as noted in Catch-22: "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you."

Historically, this characterization was used to describe any delusional state. In modern colloquial use, the term "paranoia" is sometimes misused to describe a phobia. The general lack of blame in phobia disorders sharply differentiates the two. In other words, fearing that something bad or harmful might happen does not in itself imply paranoia. Rather, with paranoia there is an irrational fear of malice by others (excepting rare cases of schizophrenia).  

Last Updated Tuesday, May 15 2012 @ 10:09 AM CDT|3,178 Hits View Printable Version

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