What’s the difference between anxiety and paranoia?

  • What’s the difference between anxiety and paranoia?

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    Anxiety and paranoia are two separate conditions, however paranoia is fueled by anxiety and fear. You can just have anxiety without paranoia but paranoia is almost always accompanied by anxiety.

    Someone suffering from anxiety can feel paranoid and even have paranoid tendencies where they worry about things that are completely irrational. The difference here is that paranoia can and will consume you. No matter what anybody tells you, no matter what facts are presented to you that prove you are wrong, you will still continue on with your delusions. People with anxiety are able to understand that even though their worries are very real to them, they are still irrational and not necessarily the truth. Trying to break through this wall with a paranoid person is very difficult to do without the aid of medication.

    Paranoia is most often accompanied by serious mental disorders like schizophrenia and also can be brought on by drug use. Anxiety is much, much more common and the sort of worries that one would experience – no matter how severe – are still usually only moderate in comparison with someone suffering from paranoia.

    You can be paranoid without having paranoia and you can also have paranoid tendencies. But with paranoia, your life is overrun with extreme worry and delusions. You might feel that everyone is against you and out to get you or that there are conspiracies by government agents and that you yourself are apart of them. You might feel that you are constantly being watched and followed and that your house is bugged as well as your phone and all of your technology. Often times you don’t feel safe anywhere and it becomes increasingly difficult to function in society.

    Anyone suffering from either disorder has the ability to live a better life – whether that is through cognitive behavior therapy and possible medication. Hospitalization may be necessary for a temporary period if delusions are extremely severe. Being afflicted with anxiety and/or paranoia is also not the end of the world. They can be brought on by life events and only last for a temporary period of time. It is still important to seek help or talk to somebody if you are suffering with either of these so that you can return to a healthier lifestyle and so that you feel better and are able to live the best life that you can!

    I am not a psychologist or therapist, nor do I work in the mental health profession. Any answers and advice come from personal experience, education, and possible Google-consultation. If you or someone you know is suicidal, please call the Suicide Hotline (1 (800) 273-8255) or visit their website.

    Despite, what all these other people say I’ve experienced paranoia plenty of times, you can have what I call temperamental untrustworthiness of people caused by a constant monologue of the mind attributed via means of food anxiety. I irrationally have fears caused by my anxiety that aren’t’ true causing my to not trust people partially because of my upbringing and my genetic conditions, otherwise yes their is a direct relationship to how one feels and how one responds to others, this is known as anxiety triggered synchronicities. I once thought a random girl who gave me her number I thought she was a man attempting to either kidnap me or even do something horrible to me it was a pretty irrational thought, but she seemed kinda flakey and weird so I automatically assumed worst case scenario. She kept insisting meeting at night even though I’d never met her in my life, so I thought this person might be a sexual predator and I insisted she confirm her identity. My rationale mind kept insisting these irrational beliefs were nonsense, but I couldn’t help how my anxiety felt, so she did turned out to be a girl and never talked to me again because the said anxiety. Oh well. But the moral of the story, is that I am a very very analytical and logical person and no amount of logic could clear up the cognitive distorision I felt. What you feel will always override your logic sadly. It’s a really horrible defect of homo-sapiens. I call this situation the PANI situation, as a reminder to keep false deluded beliefs in check, paranoia can easily destroy relationships and hurt others around you if your not so careful. I personally just got used it long time ago.


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    People who have anxiety may have paranoia, and people with paranoia may have anxiety; however, it is not always so, and you may have only one of them.

    Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress, a feeling of unease, such as worry and fear of what is ahead. It is an emotion assuming an unpleasant state of inner fuss, which often co-occurs with nervous behaviour.

    The symptoms of anxiety involve:

    • Chest pain;
    • Heart palpitations;
    • Shortness of breath (dyspnea);
    • Trembling;
    • Nausea;
    • Dizziness;
    • Sweating;
    • Lightheadedness;
    • Tingling sensations;
    • Distress;
    • Worry;
    • Restlessness;
    • Fear of dying;
    • Diarrhoea;
    • Dry mouth;
    • Fatigue;
    • Itchy skin;
    • Frequent urination;
    • Impotence.

    Paranoia a rare type of chronic psychosis, usually beginning in adulthood, which is characterized by the gradual development of logically built monothematic systematic delusional ideas, unlike schizophrenia, with no progression of negative symptoms and personality changes and with no perceptual impairment. Paranoid people from other patients with psychosis are also distinguished by purposeful, ordered, consistent, and to some extent, predictable behaviour. Despite the persistent delusional symptomatology, patients with paranoia are usually able to function in society, and, compared with patients with schizophrenia, have more opportunities for “integration in life.”

    The symptoms of paranoia are:

    • Hostile attitude towards others;
    • Constant delusional ideas on which all the attention of a person is concentrated;
    • Lack of connected thoughts;
    • Construction of complex logical chains of delusional ideas;
    • Absolute unwillingness to accept criticism;
    • A decrease in criticism of one’s condition – patients, consider themselves completely healthy, and all around, on the contrary, are sick or stupid.

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    By levels of levels of intensity.

    Using Plutchik’s psychoevolutionary model of emotions, we see two of the eight aspects converging for what the person is experiencing — Anticipation and Fear. How the individual has learned to deal with these can determine whether or not they reduce the fear or expand to paranoia. There also is the physiological component which can “override” anyones good sense if afflicted with a particular type physical disease. Schizophrenia is but one of those.

    Anxiety is emotional fear of something bad. It can even be levels of perceived judgement or a loss. There are healthy levels of anxiety providing resilience as well as negative ones where people can fret to the point of becoming incapacitated. Fears overt behaviour is to escape to safety because of sensing some sort of threat. There can be the added emotional drive of anticipation that is on alert for our security be it physical, mental, economic, ecologic, social, or a combination of them. Our mind assess our risk and vulnerability, then projects the probable outcomes. This is healthy.

    Expectation is anticipating something either positive or negative. When it is at the intensity cognition creates disasters so great the emotional self lives them, we consider that paranoid. They have lost their mind. The projections are not examined as probabilities anymore but as a certainty. In a strange way, security is the belief in the knowing something is going to happen. That certainty is a trick of the mind to reduce anxiety but of course ends up creating a horrible fantasies instead. This is seen as mental illness.

    My simple answer here is that when you are worrying, that is anxiety. You become stuck on a thought and frozen in motion. You are virtually unable to make a decision because “what if?” and then you start moving through more thoughts and then those thoughts triggers more worry and frustration and the realization that all of these “what if’s” are beyond your control so what will you do… Your anxiety is pretty much all about you.

    When you are paranoid, you are you are not in control of your own life and you feel you need to find some needed protection from whatever. Paranoids brings a level of fear in your thoughts, which can be just as stifling as anxiety is, but the sources of the issues are different. You don’t know how to confront the person that is causing you the angst and that could trigger an anxiety episode. Typically what a person is afraid of won’t come to pass. It’s because of your anxiety that allows way for you to be so paranoid, that you can’t function in a normal capacity.

    All kinds of things can snowball out of these two disorders. But what matters here is that you need to see a specialist, a psychiatrist and or mental health counselor. There are many layers of issues that need to be addressed and destroyed in order to do a full job here. I strongly recommend you hook up with these folks, they can help to bring you some relief.

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    paranoia is a form of delirium. A delirium is when you have totally unrealistic beliefs that negatively affect your life. Paranoia is common in schizophrenia.

    the thoughts paranoids usually experience are like:

    people are watching me (but in reality you are alone in your house)

    the government is spying on me through hidden cameras

    people want me dead, i should stay away from them

    that car is obiovusly of a stalker who wants to kill me

    my friend is watching me because he is reading my mind to manipulate my thoughts and my personality

    my teacher is behind me and she is following me (but no one is behind you actually..)

    many people with paranoia also hear voices or whispers. They often can get to the point where they aren’t able to distinguish reality from absurdity (=they can get delusional).

    anxiety is characterized by an extreme and constant worrying, which the sufferers aren’t often able to control:

    what if my friends hates me???

    what if im going to fail???

    what if my dad is dead???

    what if.. ???

    they can feel very scared without a reason

    Anxious people are still able to understand what it is and it’s not real. Their worries are not absurd, but this constant, exaggerated worry has a serious impact on the life of the sufferers.

    Heh, I have both social anxiety and paranoia.

    But first off let’s talk about them separately.

    Paranoia is when you feel intense feelings and irritating thoughts come into play. You don’t really trust people, and you sometimes suspect people for doing something bad to you even when there’s no evidence lying around. You sometimes could even feel like you’re being watched, alone or outside.

    While SA is when you feel like you’re being judged constantly for whatever thing you do. It messes with your everyday life. You think about negative thoughts whenever it’s something social. You’d avoid people as much as you can.

    Yes, social anxiety and paranoia is very similar, and you can even get anxiety from paranoia or paranoia from anxiety. They both cause you stress, they both let you not be able to relax, etc.

    But there’s one difference. While both of the illnesses make you not be able to interact with others, the reason for that answer is different. Social anxiety doesn’t let you interact with others because you think that people would judge you for who you are. While paranoia doesn’t let you interact with others, because you’re suspicious of them.

    I get Extreme Anxiety when remembering details of all my Traumas. I Do NOT get paranoid. I worked in a lab where I matched the lab specimens with the correct paperwork as well as checking each sample for the correct patient information. Then I entered the patient’s information into the database, & stamped the paperwork, announced to the appropiate dept if it was a routine sample, a Stat or to Hand it to a person directly, & state the sample is a “Super Stat.”I gave results to Dr.’s & nurses over the phone. One evening the phone rang & realized I’m talking to an Extremely Paranoid woman on the phone. She was telling me that people were watching her apt. & that before she left her house she would leave a string in a certain spot by the front door. She said when she came home earlier, the string was moved etc… & she told me she was being watched & so on. Well, she ranted & raved for a while before I could get a word in. I told her I would transfer her to some one who could her her. Then I called the Psych Dept. & briefly told them the above story & then I transfered her call.

    My answer comes from my own personal experience as I am not a doctor or therapist… I have had anxiety and felt paranoia from it. I think their is quite a few differences but with mental illness it can all be interchangeable. The mind is definitely mysterious and quite complicated.

    To me anxiety is caused by worrying about future events, creating assumptions and fixating on them. When we do this long enough it can cause us to react physically. Racing heart, nausea, jitters etc… If we experience the physical sensations long enough it can lead to panic attacks and paranoia. What is happening to my body, I better get to the doctor… I could be dying etc… That was my experience with paranoia. I thought I had a serious physical condition and was creating more anxiety which led to paranoia.

    Again everyones experience is different and if you are having any sort of prolonged anxiety or paranoia then seek help ASAP. ✌️❤️

    They are related because they have to do with excessive activation of the amygdala due to fear, but anxiety is measured in terms of the level of arousal of the sympathetic nervous system, and paranoia is measured in terms of distortion of reality.

    Paranoia is connected with delusional thinking, where the person is not able to distinguish real from imaginary, and where the thoughts become obsessive.

    The main difference would be the level of awareness that a person with anxiety can continue having even when anxious, versus the person with paranoia which may lose awareness even if not anxious.

    In terms of diagnosis, paranoia belongs to either paranoid schizophrenia, delusional disorder, or paranoid personality disorder, which are much more serious disorders than anxiety. A lengthy debate, maintained until today, is whether less ‘serious’ paranoid disorders, such as paranoid personality disorder and delusional disorder are included in the schizophrenia spectrum, or if they form a distinct nosological entity which is different from schizophrenia.

    You could say that anxiety is at the root of paranoia. Paranoia would then be anxiety gone to an extreme. Paranoia means much more malfunction of the brain and less connectivity among regions of the brain.

    I’ve suffered through both.

    I define the features by the action in my mind. The best analogy is the biggest, worst rollercoaster.

    I’m the guy that goes on it.

    The anxiety starts at the loading dock for a scary rollercoaster—think of the anticipation of knowing what lies ahead as my anxiety builds.

    Each ratcheting sound as the car hauls up the hill is another level of stress which is the precursor to more anxiety. As I climb, it ratchets more and louder…until I can’t handle because I know what’s going to happennextanditgetsscarierallthemoreaIgo..up…the…hill…everything that I dreaded, knew what was going to come…does.

    And, like the ride, except it is for real, my world goes crazy and I control none of it.

    It’s awful.

    Just like the ride, the after-effects can be my legs buckling. Definitely, I am out of my element as the real reality comes back like out of the mist.

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