Understanding Anxiety And Paranoia

by Kimberly Dean

People who suffer from anxiety may have a moderate level of paranoia and the fear stemming from that can play a large role in anxiety attacks. Understanding the relationship between anxiety and paranoia can lend to the treatment of anxiety and relief of anxiety attacks.

Understanding Anxiety And ParanoiaA large recent study was done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information to establish a relationship between anxiety and paranoia. What they found in the study was a strong connection between the two.

The study found that anxiety is based on a perception and how a person sees something. It may occur in social situations or in situations when someone is alone. Non-clinical paranoia is related to an altered perception. When someone enters into a situation, the body and mind of that person may perceive that situation as dangerous. The paranoia may then precipitate an anxiety attack.

Paranoia can be associated with certain personality disorders such as; schizophrenia, delusional disorders and bipolar disorder. Most often the type of paranoia associated with anxiety attacks is not one of these mental illnesses. Often, people worry that because they have paranoia that they are going crazy. This is not always the case and severe anxiety with paranoia needs to be worked up by a qualified professional.

Anxiety can bring on paranoia if left untreated. Especially paranoia that is associated with a traumatic life event. Car accidents, personal assault, robbery, death of someone close or a major illness can all bring on post-traumatic stress that is accompanied by anxiety and paranoia. This is a normal emotional reaction to traumatic events. Living with it and letting it control your life is not normal and needs to be treated promptly.

Other events that can trigger paranoia are life events that happen around us every day. Events on the news, busy lifestyle and over stimulation by technology can trigger paranoia and associated anxiety. When we hear of tragedy and negative events outside of our own personal world we develop the “what if” syndrome and begin to question our own safety.

It is easy to see that even without a mental illness paranoia would be easy to develop in today’s changing world. Everything seems to be in a state of crisis and anxiety is on the rise. We watch the news, we are on the internet and we are far too connected to the outside world. The key here is not to withdraw, but to face things with reason and understanding.

Learning to deal with common fear before it turns to paranoia will help prevent anxiety attacks and increase our ability to deal with life stressors.

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2830058/

http://www.mind.org.uk/help/diagnoses_and_conditions/paranoia

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