The guardian - Feeling paranoid? Your worries are justified but can be helped

Paranoid fears are common and have a variety of causes but new research shows specific issue cognitive behaviour therapy can bring significant benefits

Daniel Freeman and Jason Freeman
Wednesday 4 March 2015 07.00 GMT

If you’ve ever experienced a feeling of paranoia – that’s to say, an unrealistic or exaggerated belief that other people mean you harm – you’re certainly not alone. Around one in four people have regular thoughts filled with suspicion, and almost all of us experience paranoia at some point in our lives.

For most people these thoughts are temporary and relatively mild. But for a small minority they’re persistent, powerful, and profoundly distressing. In psychiatry the experiences at the most debilitating end of the paranoid spectrum are termed persecutory delusions and they’re associated with a variety of serious problems, including anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. As a result, people with severe paranoia are often admitted to psychiatric care, typically with a diagnosis such as schizophrenia, and are treated with anti-psychotic drugs.

But as we’ve noted previously on Guardian Science, anti-psychotics don’t work for everyone. And their side effects can be so unpleasant that many people refuse to take them. Moreover, there’s compelling evidence to suggest that the concept of “schizophrenia” doesn’t stand up scientifically, operating instead as a catch-all for a variety of distinct and frequently unrelated experiences.

Interesting seeing this from a mod.

Yes, I hate the Guardian’s anti-meds crew! That sentence ####ed me off too.

Im glad that there are alternatives for some ( like my son! ) who will not take meds. But C. seems to not want to hear about any of this..or anything that pertains to his SZ. Is everyone this stubborn? I know its part of the disease, but jeez, sometimes you cant even start a conversation with him on this. So much he could utilize-but wont hear a word of it!

I think it has become trendy for psychologists who want to be seen as “radical”(self promote as such) to be strongly anti medication.
I think this is different from believing that although medication helps some/many the degree it does has often been overstated. It is possible to see medication as a useful tool but that patients may do better if also offered additional help.
Even if one can argue against the construct of schizophrenia that doesn’t take away from the fact that there are people in distress and struggling to function who have major problems and need help and support.
I think there is a danger of getting too hung up on semantics and focussing too little on ways of helping people.
I am not a big fan of diagnoses and would prefer descriptors such as " has thought disorder " has "anxiety with secondary depression " etc and help tailored to symptoms and their effects rather than diagnoses.

I just went and poked about in the articles on mentall health/illness on the Guardian and while I applaud them for starting and maintaining a discussion, it has a very strongly pro-psychotherapy and anti-psychiatry bias. They advocate talk therapy for psychosis over APs, but a lot of people really CAN’T talk when they’re psychotic. My son says now he was terrified but he couldn’t explain what was happening.

I understand completely. I can never talk to anyo. I see and had things almost everyday but so scared can’t tell anyone. I’m already crazy what will the do to you e voices say shut up don’t speak. So I feel your sons pain and yours for wanting to help

Don`t be afraid of those voices–they are in your head, not outside. Write it down if possible. Thanks for caring!