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Paranoid Schizophrenia: What it means and how to get treated

Paranoid schizophrenia is a type of schizophrenia in which the patient feels that they are cornered or conspired against. Read on to learn more

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness and paranoid schizophrenia is a type of schizophrenia. Here the patient believes that he is cornered. There is a strong feeling of paranoia, that something is wrong against you. Symptoms may also include hallucinations and delusions. It is very important to understand the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia as soon as possible to receive appropriate treatment. Continue reading to learn more about this condition, why it occurs, its symptoms, and treatment.

What is paranoid schizophrenia?

Paranoid schizophrenia is a subtype of schizophrenia in which the patient experiences paranoia. However the American Psychiatric Association declared the term obsolete in 2013. It now recognizes it as one of the symptoms of schizophrenia and includes it in the category of psychosis.

Paranoid schizophrenia is a type of schizophrenia in which individuals experience strong, unfounded beliefs that they are cornered or that major plots are being planned against them and often hear voices that others do not. “These experiences are called delusions and auditory hallucinations. People with paranoid schizophrenia may not experience the very obvious speech or behavior problems seen in other forms of schizophreniawhich can allow them to function somewhat better in daily life,” says the psychiatrist Dr Ajit Dandekar.

Causes of paranoid schizophrenia

Schizophrenia does not have a specific cause. However, several factors can influence a person’s diagnosis of schizophrenia or paranoid schizophrenia. These are some of the factors:

1. Chemical imbalances

Imbalances in brain chemistry can also lead to paranoid schizophrenia. The brain uses chemicals to communicate with brain cells, and when there is an imbalance, it can cause a problem. An imbalance between neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin can cause schizophrenia. A study, published in Frontiers in psychiatry, lists dopamine as an inhibitory neurotransmitter that participates in the pathology of schizophrenia. This means that if a patient is diagnosed with schizophrenia, there would be dopamine abnormalities in the prefrontal regions of the brain.

2. Genetics

Genetics plays an important role. It is known that having family members with schizophrenia increases the likelihood of developing the disorder. He National Health Service lists genetics as one of the main reasons behind schizophrenia. Different combinations of genes can increase a person’s chances of developing schizophrenia. However, it is worth remembering that it is not certain that the combination of genes leads to schizophrenia. For example, in the case of twins, if one has schizophrenia, there is a one in two chance that the other twin will also have it.

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3. Differences in brain structure

Differences in brain structure, such as changes in gray matter volume, have also been observed in some patients, says Dr. Dandekar. Brain volume is altered in schizophrenia, as well as structural and functional changes in the cortex, says a study published in Current directions in psychological science.

4. Environmental factors

Environmental factors such as exposure to viruses or malnutrition during the prenatal period, significant psychosocial stress, and trauma can also trigger symptoms. Other psychological factors include reactions to acute stress or emotional harm, which can lead to psychotic episodes in vulnerable people.

Paranoid schizophrenia occurs due to chemical imbalances in the brain as well as genetics. Image courtesy: Freepik

Symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia

He Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition List the following symptoms

  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • disorganized speech
  • Disorganized behavior
  • Decreased emotional expression.

It also states that two or more of the symptoms must be present for a month or more. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that when deceived, people believe things that are not real, such as thinking that someone is constantly following them. Hallucinations, on the other hand, often involve hearing voices that don’t exist.

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How is paranoid schizophrenia different from other forms of schizophrenia?

Paranoid schizophrenia is identified primarily by symptoms; of delusions and auditory hallucinations. A person does not have any significant cognitive impairment or emotional distress. However, these symptoms are common in other forms of schizophrenia. This may make it easier for people with paranoid schizophrenia to function in everyday life compared to those with other subtypes.

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Diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia

The diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia involves a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation to analyze symptoms and mental health history, a medical examination to rule out other conditions, and psychological evaluations using standardized tools.

Mental health professionals use the criteria established in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)requiring the presence of symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations and disorganized speech for a significant part of the time.

Antipsychotic drugs are used to control symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. Image courtesy: Freepik

Management and treatment of paranoid schizophrenia

Below are some ways schizophrenia can be treated:

  • Treatment for paranoid schizophrenia involves medication. Antipsychotic drugs are used to control symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations.
  • Psychological interventions, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy, help people cope with the challenges of their condition and reduce the distress caused by their symptoms.
  • Comprehensive care also includes social and vocational skills training to support and improve your community building skills and quality of life. Ongoing treatment and support is often required to manage the condition effectively.

What does it mean to live with someone who has paranoid schizophrenia?

Living with someone who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia requires patience, understanding and knowledge about the illness. Some things may help:

  • It’s crucial communicate openly, maintain a calm and structured home environment, and set clear expectations to help manage stress for both the individual and family members.
  • Education about the disorder is vital to understanding the behaviors and symptoms a loved one exhibits.
  • Professional support for both the patient and their families, including therapy and support groups, is also important.


Paranoid schizophrenia is a very common type of schizophrenia and should be treated as soon as possible. It is essential to closely follow your treatment plan, including adherence to medication and attendance at therapy sessions. Managing stress through techniques such as meditation, yoga, or exercise can help control symptoms. Establishing a routine helps provide structure and reduces the unpredictability that can cause stress. Finally, maintaining social connections and seeking support from peers or support groups can offer comfort and advice, helping to manage the condition more effectively.

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