Paranoia is a pattern of thought that causes severe, often irrational, fear and anxiety.  Paranoia is focused on beliefs about threats that can be both real and imagined.  Paranoid persons are distrustful and accusatory of other people, systems, and institutions.  Paranoid thinking may be a component of Paranoid personality Disorder, Paranoid Schizophrenia, or a delusional disorder.


  • Seeing accidental occurrences as meaningful
  • Isolation
  • Feeling powerless
  • Depression
  • Few interpersonal relationships
  • Irrational mistrust
  • Unfounded suspicion
  • Hypersensitivity to criticism or persecution
  • Stubbornness


Attribution bias can make a person assign meaning where there is none, but it is uncertain why this occurs.  It’s possible to connect paranoid delusions to childhood experiences and other social circumstances.  Some research has found patterns of feeling powerless and out of control that lead to paranoid thinking while other research has found brain abnormalities in anatomy and functioning that are connected with paranoia.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can allow a therapist to challenge the irrational beliefs that are characteristic of paranoid thinking and replace these beliefs with more accurate and realistic interpretations of reality.  Unfortunately paranoid people are unlikely to seek treatment because of beliefs that people who ask them to get help or even the therapist are all conspiring against them.  As a client learns to manage their anxiety they will become more able to let go of suspicion and leave their isolation.

We Can Help

Open Path’s therapists offer beneficial services that encourage insight, self-reflection, and healthy coping mechanisms. Our therapists provide supportive, open communication, establishing secure foundations to help clients heal and grow.


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