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Paranoia
Important!
If a person suspects that he / she or a loved one is suffering from paranoia, it is important to remember that the condition is treatable and seek the help of a professional as soon as possible.

GENERAL

Paranoia is the unfounded suspicion and distrust of other people or organizations. It is a condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unfounded jealousy or exaggerated self-interest typically incorporated into an organized system. Paranoia can be an aspect of personality disorders or drug addiction or be part of a break with reality (such as schizophrenia).

SIGNS

WHAT ARE SIGNS OF PARANOIA?

Symptoms of paranoia include:

  1. Intense and irrational distrust of others
  2. Feelings of fear, anger and betrayal
  3. Problems with forgiveness
  4. A defensive attitude towards imagined criticism
  5. Concealment with hidden motifs
  6. Fear of deception
  7. Inability to relax

ADVICE

ADVICE FOR LOVERS AND FAMILY MEMBERS LIVING WITH SOMEONE OR WORKING WITH SOMEONE DIAGNOSED WITH PSYCHOSIS / SCHISOPHERENIA

If a loved one or friend is diagnosed with psychosis or schizophrenia, your support and motivation can play a very important role in accepting and managing the diagnosis. The following are guidelines for supporting an individual:

  1. Be patient. People who struggle with a concept of reality do not always have the ability to say how they feel or what they experience. Give them a chance to get used to the diagnosis first, and then gradually start taking concrete steps that the person can take to manage his or her daily life.
  2. Be informed by building up knowledge of psychosis and schizophrenia. The more you and your loved one, family member or colleague know about the disease, the more you can work together on ways to support the person in his or her management of the disease.
  3. Ask what your loved one needs from you. One can easily assume that you know what is best for another person, but the easiest is to ask how he or she wants you to act.
  4. Listen to the person. Do not give advice or try to reason with him or her logically. It is important for the person to take responsibility for the illness and the effect it will have on his or her life. When someone makes choices on behalf of someone else, it may cause the person to become dependent on the helper and then not want to fight the disease himself. It is not your illness, but your loved one's. Listening is a wonderful way to support someone with this condition.
  5. Get to know the signs and symptoms so you can act early. Everyone's symptoms do not manifest in the same way; therefore, it is important to know and understand in advance how this particular person's symptoms will manifest. For example, when your loved one experiences a sudden break with reality, you can take time to deal with it.
  6. Do physical activities with the individual. It is not a cliché that regular exercise helps people with psychological diagnoses. It relieves tension and anxiety, and aids in the production of low-mood nutrients. Regular exercise is therefore a successful anti-depressant.
  7. Encourage a healthy eating and sleeping pattern. An established routine not only helps the person manage their illness, but also helps to see signs / symptoms early.
  8. Take a good look at yourself! Remember, a person with diagnosed psychosis or schizophrenia in your life can also negatively impact you by involving you in their disorder. Living with a person who has been diagnosed with psychosis or schizophrenia can feel frustrating, exhausting and sometimes chaotic. Make time for yourself too.

EMERGENCY MEASURES

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health problems, we suggest the following options:
  1. call your GP (if available);
  2. go to your nearest hospital emergency room;
  3. call one of the following emergency numbers: SADAG (the South African Depression and Anxiety Group) 24-hour helpline: 0800 12 13 14 or suicide crisis line: 0800 567 567; or
  4. contact Wie is ek?