What is paranoid schizophrenia?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
Paranoid schizophrenia is a type of schizophrenia where people primarily have paranoid and delusional thoughts as their schizophrenia symptoms. When a person is paranoid, she may worry that others are planning to cause her harm. She may also be concerned that others are going to harm her friends or family members.

Someone with paranoid schizophrenia may spend a great deal of time and effort trying to avoid potentially harmful situations. Unlike other categories of schizophrenia, people with paranoid schizophrenia may not show other symptoms of the illness, such as a flat affect, lack of interest in life, and disorganized thoughts and behaviors. However, they may withdraw from others and have other psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Have you ever been at the mall, and wonder why someone is staring at you? For a brief second, you question why they are interested in you, and whether they have an ulterior motive. Just as soon as that thought appeared, it was gone, and you go about the rest of your shopping trip.
For people with paranoid schizophrenia, that feeling wouldn’t just go away after a split second. Instead, paranoid worries and suspicions persist for days, weeks, or months.
Paranoid schizophrenia is one of the five subtypes of schizophrenia. It is associated with delusions and auditory hallucinations. The delusions tend to involve fear of unfair persecution or of being a famous person like Paris Hilton or Michael Jordan. It is also common for people with paranoid schizophrenia to express these emotions/behaviors: anger, aloofness, anxiety, and argumentativeness.

People with paranoid schizophrenia tend to have trouble understanding the real world. They may hear or see things that are not there (called hallucinations), and they may have delusions about others being out to harm them. These symptoms are the distinguishing characteristics of paranoid schizophrenia, but people with this disorder may have other problems associated with general schizophrenic disorders. For instance, they could have trouble with anger, frustration, and worries. Paranoid schizophrenics might also think about suicide or harming themselves. People with paranoid schizophrenia may seem more "normal" than people with other types of schizophrenia, but they can still have very problematic symptoms. Paranoid schizophrenia is usually treated through a combination of therapy and medications.

Continue Learning about Paranoid Schizophrenia

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.