Paranoia involves powerful feelings of anxiety and the recurring belief that other people want to harm the sufferer in some way. People who suffer with paranoia usually experience difficulty with relationships, are easily offended and find it almost impossible to trust people. There are a number of possible causes of paranoia, so treatments vary, but learning basic coping skills is a first step in dealing with paranoid feelings on a daily basis.
- Skill level:
Get support from family and friends who are close to you. Knowing you have support will relieve the feeling you are a burden to others. Surrounding yourself with positive people who love you will help increase your self-confidence. Talking about your issues with supportive friends will help get irrational or angry feelings out in the open. If you do not feel you can talk to family members or friends, consider approaching your doctor or church pastor.
Take the time to address the positive things in your life. Rather than allowing negative feelings to control your thinking, concentrate on the good things such as friends, your work and home. Think about your achievements, which can be anything from a high-school certificate to a work promotion. Low self-esteem usually accompanies paranoia, and must be addressed positively.
Get plenty of sleep. Avoid anything that might affect your sleep such as caffeine and alcohol. Having a wakeful night affects the way you think and feel, making paranoid thoughts more likely. Certain drugs can also cause paranoid feelings as a side effect. Before taking anything, such as sleeping tablets, consult your doctor.
Learn relaxation techniques. Practice deep breathing exercises, which are useful when you are feeling anxious or angry. It may help to walk away from a situation that is causing you to feel paranoid, and practice breathing before returning. This gives you time to calm down and allow for rational thinking.
Identify potential paranoia triggers and either avoid them or make adjustments to cope with them. If certain people cause you to feel paranoid you have the choice of avoiding them altogether or explaining how you feel. If you know you will be entering new surroundings that may trigger feelings of paranoia, ask someone you trust to accompany you.
Tips and warnings
- Do not be afraid to seek the help of therapist. Certain behavioural therapies have proved successful in the treatment of paranoia.
- As important as it is for you to talk to people you trust, you also need to listen to them. When they tell you they love you and are proud of you, accept the compliment as genuine. If you believe they are false, ask yourself what they have to gain from being dishonest. Try to think rationally whenever you have negative thoughts.
- Avoid confrontation as much as possible. Practice letting go of angry, intrusive thoughts that can cause you trouble.
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