Paranoid schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness characterized by psychosis, delusions and hallucinations. Although these symptoms are serious, people with paranoid schizophrenia tend to function better than people who have the other types of schizophrenia, particularly if they’re complying with their treatment plan.
Paranoid Schizophrenia Symptoms
Delusions and hallucinations are primary paranoid symptoms. Delusions are incorrect beliefs that can’t be dispelled with logic or evidence. While paranoid symptoms can include visual hallucinations, most people with paranoid schizophrenia have auditory hallucinations and hear sounds or voices that seem real but aren’t.
As the disorder’s name implies, people with paranoid schizophrenia delusions often believe that others mean them harm. The individual may believe his family is trying to kill him or that his employer is watching him for some sinister reason. Paranoid symptoms can cause bizarre delusions. The schizophrenic may believe his “sinister” employer is an alien, for instance.
Delusions of grandeur are another common paranoid schizophrenia symptom. For instance, individuals with schizophrenia may believe they are royalty or that they possess a superpower. Delusions of grandeur may explain delusions of persecution. For instance, the schizophrenic may believe that their alien boss wants some secret locked in the schizophrenic’s genetic code.
Auditory hallucinations are the most common paranoid schizophrenia symptoms. The voices may talk to each other or to the person with schizophrenia. Some hear a constant litany of criticism as the voices tear apart anything they do. Other voices issue commands, often related to paranoid delusions. In general, auditory hallucinations are upsetting and disturbing.
Paranoid symptoms can result in suicidal behavior. Delusions and hallucinations can lead individuals with paranoid schizophrenia to acts of violence in what they believe to be self-defense. Violent tendencies are more likely to result in self-harm than injury to others.
Paranoid Schizophrenia and other Types of Schizophrenia
Loss of emotions and thought disruptions are less pronounced in paranoid schizophrenia than in other types of schizophrenia. Paranoid schizophrenia symptoms include these problems to some degree, but not to the debilitating degree seen in other types of schizophrenia.
Fear, irritability and anger are common reactions to the disturbing delusions and hallucinations.
Paranoid Schizophrenia Treatment
People with paranoid schizophrenia are often unaware that they need treatment. Hallucinations and delusions may encourage the individual to mistrust or misconstrue the purpose of paranoid schizophrenia treatment. Too often, people stop paranoid schizophrenia treatment when they begin to feel better, only to have symptoms return when medication wears off.
Mayo Clinic. (2008). Paranoid Schizophrenia. Retrieved July 5, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/paranoid-schizophrenia/DS00862
University of Maryland Medical Center. (2010). Schizophrenia â€“ paranoid type â€“ Overview. Retrieved July 5, 2010, from http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/000936.htm
World Health Organization. (1992). Paranoid schizophrenia. Retrieved July 5, 2010,from http://www.schizophrenia.com/szparanoid.htm