By: Gjergji Vishe
Paranoid schizophrenia is one of several types of schizophrenia, a chronic mental illness in which a person loses touch with reality (psychosis). The classic features of paranoid schizophrenia are having delusions and hearing things that aren't real.
With paranoid schizophrenia, your ability to think and function in daily life may be better than with other types of schizophrenia. You may not have as many problems with memory, concentration or dulled emotions. Still, paranoid schizophrenia is a serious, lifelong condition that can lead to many complications, including suicidal behavior.
With effective treatment, you can manage the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia and work toward leading a happier, healthier life.
Signs and symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia may include:
- Auditory hallucinations, such as hearing voices
- Delusions, such as believing a co-worker wants to poison you
- Emotional distance
- Self-important or condescending manner
- Suicidal thoughts and behavior
When to seek help
If you have any paranoid schizophrenia symptoms, seek medical help as soon as possible. Paranoid schizophrenia doesn't get better on its own and may worsen without treatment. However, if you're like most people with paranoid schizophrenia, you may not recognize that you need help or that you even have symptoms. This is because your delusions or hallucinations seem very real to you. Family and friends or people at work or school may be the ones who initially suggest you seek help.
Getting treatment from a mental health provider with experience in schizophrenia can help you learn ways to manage your symptoms so that you have the best chance of leading a productive and happy life. If you're not ready to seek treatment, try to work up the courage to confide in someone, whether it's a friend or loved one, a health care professional, a faith leader or someone else you trust. They can help you take the first steps to successful treatment.
Paranoid schizophrenia and other forms of schizophrenia are brain disorders. Genetics and environment likely both play a role in causing schizophrenia.
Left untreated, paranoid schizophrenia can result in severe emotional, behavioral, health, and even legal and financial problems that affect every area of your life. Complications that paranoid schizophrenia may cause or be associated with include:
- Suicidal thoughts and behavior
- Self-destructive behavior
- Abuse of alcohol, drugs or prescription medications
- Family conflicts
- Inability to work or attend school
- Health problems from antipsychotic medications
- Being a victim or perpetrator of violent crime
- Heart and lung disease related to smoking
Treatments and drugs
Paranoid schizophrenia is a chronic condition that requires lifelong treatment, even during periods when you feel better and your symptoms have lifted. You may feel as if you don't need treatment, and you may be tempted to ignore treatment recommendations. But effective treatment can help you take control of your condition and enjoy a happier and healthier life.
Treatment options are similar for all types of schizophrenia. But the specific treatment approach that's best for you depends on your particular situation and the severity of your symptoms.
- Family or primary care doctor
- Family members
- Case worker
- Psychiatric nurse
- Social worker