Freeman, Daniel Department of Psychiatry, Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom.
Last reviewed:August 2020
Show previous versions
- Paranoia, published June 2014:Download PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Paranoia: mechanisms and treatment, published June 2012:Download PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Causes of paranoia
- Internal feelings
- External events
- Treatment of paranoia
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A mode of thought, feeling, and behavior characterized centrally by false persecutory beliefs, more specifically referred to as paranoidness. Paranoia denotes the unfounded (or exaggerated) fear that others are deliberately trying to harm you. It takes a variety of forms, all the way from the occasional worry that our friends are deliberately trying to irritate us, or are spreading malicious rumors about us behind our backs, to the anguished belief that someone is out to kill us (Fig. 1). There are two key elements: the individual believes that harm is going to occur and that the perpetrator has the intention to cause harm. It is the second element—the intention of others to cause harm—that distinguishes persecutory from anxious thoughts. In social anxiety, we fear being foolish; in paranoia, we fear others trying to make us appear foolish. The difficulty can be establishing when the thoughts are unfounded. See also: Affective disorders; Cognition; Phobia; Psychosis
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 46 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information