Paranoia as a grave type of mental disorder like schizophrenia or obsessive compulsive disorder is often misunderstood or misrepresented particularly when it is exhibited by apparently normal people. Generally, clinically said "paranoia" means that someone is not able to get on with life normally because he or she feels unduly oppressed, abused, and exploited.
A paranoid individual normally embeds such self-defeating feelings into his or her system or thought-process. He or she often suffers from low self-esteem, and has a pessimistic outlook about life, which is further bolstered if he or she has had negative experiences. The following paragraphs offer valuable tips and guidelines on how to deal with paranoia.
Suggestions on Dealing With Paranoia
Maintain a diary of your feelings and emotions
Jotting down your thoughts or feelings in a separate logbook or journal, especially those conjectures that make you paranoid. Give a fresh title to every page that you write. You could begin with a heading like "How to deal with paranoia today?" The idea behind is to recognize or figure out the situations, places and people that might be inciting paranoid thoughts in you. Note down some questions that may help you out with correlating your emotions or feelings to specific circumstances, individuals, social groups, surroundings or places.
In case you’ve made a list of the potential triggers that set off paranoid feelings, the next step would be to make arrangements to avoid these activators as much as possible. Of course, there will be people or places that you won’t be able to avoid like colleagues in your workplace or classmates in your high-school or college. You can at least reduce effects of these triggers to minimum. For instance, if interacting with a particular person makes you irascible, then communicate with that individual only when you’re in a group.
Take on your paranoid thoughts head-on
If there is no way in which you can avoid certain situations, places, and people that seem to activate irrational thoughts, then the best and only way to tackle such feelings is by questioning the rationality of such sentiments. The moment you feel paranoid when you come across a particular person or are in a particular place, ask yourself some relevant questions like "Who is the person?" "What aberrant thought does this person trigger in you?" "Why does the presence of this individual trigger such thoughts?" "Are these thoughts realistic or delusional?"
Distract yourself from paranoid thoughts
If you just can’t avoid being overwhelmed by the triggers, you can make attempts to keep yourself distracted from those thoughts by going for a long walk with your friend or watching your favorite film. Such distractions at least offer you temporary relief from the debilitating recurrence of the same cycle of thoughts. Nevertheless, you may have to think of more constructive means of how to deal with paranoia.
Don’t punish yourself for your irrational thoughts
You may have the tendency to judge yourself very critically for your wayward emotions, but you could end up doing more harm than good by holding yourself guilty for your thoughts. You’d be better off assessing and reassessing the thought process, distracting yourself or seeking others’ counsels.
Envision various outcomes
Ask yourself what will happen even if the worst aspect of your thought would really come true. Meanwhile, imagine all other possible outcomes and the likelihood of these hypothesized situations coming true. Then tell yourself that there are many other outcomes rather than the worst one. The idea is to bombard your negative thoughts with as many positive emotions as possible.
Keep a timeframe for your thoughts
Designate a time window when you’d be engrossed with your unreasonable thoughts. Kick all your paranoid thoughts into one time zone, like putting all your thoughts about being betrayed by your boyfriend in a time frame between 7-7:30, and stop thinking any more when exceeding the time range. In this way, try to control worrying thoughts in a countable amount, and gradually minimize the period of time you spend on thinking about them.
Let a close friend help you out
Request your friend to come over to your place and speak to him or her about your thoughts. Your friend may be able to understand your problems and offer suggestions on how to deal with paranoia.
Quit these substances
If you’re taking antidepressants or other prescription drugs as recommended by your physician, you should avoid taking any kind of banned psychotropic drug or substance that results in unpleasant or undesired side effects like LSD, cocaine or heroin. The drugs prescribed by the psychiatrist could also interact with other medicines that you might be taking. Let your doctor know the medications you’re already taking before he or she recommends psychiatric drugs for you.
Try psychotherapy and medical treatment
Behavioral therapy enables a patient to slowly realize the irrationality of his or her thoughts or thought process as well as control anxiety.
By participating in cognitive therapy sessions, the affected individual is able to comprehend the illogicality or logicality of his or her thoughts and tries to replace such feelings with more reasonable thoughts.
Some psychiatric disorders require the prescription drugs apart from attending psychotherapy sessions for coping with symptoms.
Help paranoid friends
If occasionally you have a close friend or relative who suffer a lot from paranoia, some tips may be useful for you when you' re trying to help.
Motivate the patient to carry on with the treatment.
Speak in as few and clear words as possible.
Let the individual realize that you respect his or her feelings, yet at the same time make him or her understand that very few people may have such feelings.
Make the person feel that he or she can confide in you with his or her innermost feelings.
Prejudge the possible triggers in advance.
Encourage the person by highlighting his or her strengths.
When to consult a medical professional
You may have to consider taking professional advice or help if your thoughts are preventing you from leading a normal life. If you keep having recurrent thoughts that direct you to harm someone or you’re beset with feelings that stand in the way when working normally in office or socializing with your family, then it’s time you consulted a mental healthcare professional.