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The Difference Between Paranoia & Truth

Updated April 17, 2017

There is a distinct difference between paranoia and truth. While both do affect how individuals interact with their environment, a major difference lies in what prompts people's actions. Individuals suffering from paranoia are driven by suspicion and distrust; they may also believe that the truth is fabricated.

Truth

Truth, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is "the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality." The actuality of an event or absence of falsehood in a statement constitute truth. For example, it would be true to state that Barack Obama was sworn into office as the first African-American and 44th President of the United States. It would be false to refer to Barack Obama as the 45th President of the United States.

Paranoia

Paranoia is defined in two ways by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Paranoia is "a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others." This is the most common use of the word. The other is a medical condition, which requires treatment. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as "a psychosis characterised by systematised delusions of persecution or grandeur, usually without hallucinations."

Symptoms of Paranoia

Besides the delusional distrust a paranoid individual feels toward his environment and the people who populate it, he may also display other symptoms, like self-referential thinking. The paranoid individual may feel that other people, including strangers, are talking about him. He may fear that someone is putting thoughts into his mind, or stealing his own thoughts. He may also have a belief that he is being addressed by the television, radio and other forms of multimedia.

Differences Between Paranoia and Truth

The distrust and suspicion created by paranoia make it very different from truth. Truth, unlike paranoia, is not a condition that affects an individual. It doesn't have any symptoms. While an individual may choose not to partake in an activity like touching a scorpion based on the fact that their stings are poisonous, this response is not dictated by distrust. Non-paranoid individuals respond to their environment based on fact rather than fear.

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About the Author

Joshua Eicker has been writing since 2007. His work has been published on the travel Web site Notes from the Edge of the Earth. Eicker obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Western Australia.