What Can A Paranoia Test Tell Us?
Updated February 05, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC
In today's world, it can be difficult to figure out the difference between being paranoid and having a healthy skepticism. People may tell us, "Stop being so paranoid," but we don't know whether or not our paranoid is warranted. In this post, we will discuss what paranoia is and how you can test for it.
What Is Paranoia?
Paranoia involves repeated and intense thoughts or feelings that someone is out to get us. It can come in the form of many different feelings, including:
- You may feel like people don't like you or are against you because of something about you.
- You may feel like someone is out to kill or hurt you, even if there's no reason to.
- You may feel like people are planning something against you. For example, if you work somewhere, you may feel like the coworkers are planning on figuring out a way to fire you.
That is paranoia. It makes you anxious and afraid, even if there is no reason to be afraid. Paranoia can be a symptom of many psychotic and mental disorders. Sometimes, it can be a result of trauma. If someone hurts you in the past, you may be overly worried about other people for the fear that it can happen again.
Paranoia can evolve and turn into delusions. Delusions are when you believe a falsehood to be true, and no amount of evidence can convince you otherwise.
Paranoia is seen in more men than women and happens in early adulthood. It's hard to determine whether or not you just don't trust people, or if you truly have a paranoid personality disorder. Let's look at the signs and symptoms of paranoia.
Signs Of Paranoia
Paranoia can be hard to spot because it often involves no self-awareness, and because you're so fear-focused. This can make it difficult for you to realize you're paranoid, and it can make others end up in your paranoid circle, boosting the paranoia.
If your thoughts are always about people out to get you and are planning to do something to hinder you, you are paranoid, especially when there is no evidence.
Some forms of paranoia are smaller and more justified. If you were attacked while walking down a street at night, you might be scared of seeing people as you walk down the street. You may still walk past them, but you're always a little prepared in case they end up hurting you.
What Can Cause Paranoia?
There are quite a few reasons why someone would develop paranoia. Here are a few reasons how.
- Excessive alcoholism can cause paranoia or delusions. In addition to paranoia, alcoholism leads to all sorts of negative effects. Abusing any drug can change your state of consciousness and lead to paranoia.
- Bipolar disorder. The manic-depression that comes with bipolar disorder can lead to paranoid thoughts.
- Paranoia and general anxiety disorder can feed on each other, making your anxiety worse, which fuels your paranoid delusions.
- A brain tumor. In extreme circumstances, a tumor in your brain can change how you think. Brain damage can also do the same.
Sometimes, it can be situational, such as a trauma you faced. Other times, it can be due to low-self esteem. Thinking everyone hates you may just be your self-esteem talking and may not necessarily be paranoia. Often, a soldier fighting in a war can be paranoid due to the circumstances they had to face.
Other Signs Of Paranoia
There are many other signs of paranoia, which include:
- Not believing someone is committed to you. Someone may doubt the loyalty of their spouse, even though there are no signs of them cheating.
- Always having a distrust of someone.
- Afraid to reveal any personal information at all because you feel like the information can be used to hurt you.
- You always hold a grudge and have a hard time forgiving others.
- Thinking that no one means what they say and are instead trying to attack you in some backhanded way.
- You may be hostile to those who question you.
Paranoia can be a bit of a spectrum. Someone may worry that their friends don't like them on occasion, but otherwise trust their friends. Meanwhile, another person may feel like their friends are out to kill them. The true irony is that paranoia is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sometimes, friendship or relationship can end because of the person driving others away because of their paranoid thoughts. Someone paranoid can become jealous and controlling, turning off their friends, family, and lovers.
If someone has a severe form of paranoia, it can make a person feel isolated from the world, and they may always be worrying that someone is out to get them. Paranoia also usually comes with another mental condition, and rarely happens alone. Anxiety, depression, and other phobias can come along with paranoia.
How To Test For Paranoia
If you think you're paranoid, the best way to confirm or deny it is to speak to a professional. However, if you want to get an assessment to test the waters, you can look up different paranoia tests. These tests are not a replacement for professional advice, but what they are is a good way to confirm your suspicions.
In the end, you need to go to a mental health professional and do some diagnostic tests to see if you're paranoid.
The tests will study many aspects of yourself. They will look at your behavior, mood, thoughts, see if there are any delusions or hallucinations you have, and then they may test your neurology to rule out anything extreme. They will see if you have had any signs of drug or alcohol abuse. They may take a blood test to see if any signs could lead to paranoia. A doctor may make you do a CT scan or an MRI to make sure that there aren't any changes in the brain that can fuel paranoia.
In summary, there is no magical test online that can determine whether you're paranoid. It can be quite subjective and require many tests to find out. In the end, you need to talk to a professional doctor if you believe you're suffering from paranoia, and they can determine if your concerns are valid. Their tests can help determine whether you're paranoid, and then treat you properly.
How to Treat Paranoia
There may be a physical cause for your paranoia, such as a tumor. If that's the case, the doctor will use all means necessary to treat it. If it's more of a mental problem, the doctor may give you medication to help its symptoms.
In the meantime, your paranoia can be managed through therapy. A therapist can help get to the bottom of why you're feeling paranoid. They can help you look at your past and see if any points in your life could have caused your paranoia. Childhood trauma, being burned in the past, and many other incidents can cause your paranoid to skyrocket.
One way a therapist can treat you is through CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy takes your thoughts and behaviors and looks for anything that can contribute to your paranoia. Once you find problematic thoughts, you can learn how to replace them with more positive thoughts or behaviors.
You can also implement lifestyle changes to help your paranoia. Living a healthier lifestyle, such as exercising, eating right, and sleeping well, can help you with your paranoia. If there are some parts of your life where you feel like you could improve upon them, you can be able to do so by implementing lifestyle changes.
Finally, a mental health professional will work with you and create a plan to help you address your paranoia. Many people treat their paranoia in different ways. For some, it can take a long time before they are less paranoid. The goal is for a person to have a healthy amount of skepticism, but make sure they aren't overly paranoid.
Of course, it's difficult to treat someone overly paranoid. Someone who is suffering from some form of paranoia may find it difficult to work with a counselor. They may think the counselor is out to get them, and it can tough to trust them. Many counselors will be trained to speak in ways to get past people's paranoid fantasies, but sometimes, it can be difficult to treat someone who doesn't want to cooperate.
To summarize, paranoia is something you should get professionally tested on. Some people have acceptable levels of paranoia, such as being a bit worried in the dark, but some are so paranoid it can ruin their lives. If you are the latter, talk to a therapist or doctor today and live a life where you feel less like someone is out to kill you.