The John Hopkins Psychiatry Guide says that paranoia is “a response to perceived threats that are heavily influenced by anxiety and fear, existing along a continuum of normal, reality-based experience to delusional beliefs.” With the stress, misinformation, and uncertainty during the pandemic, it has been hard for people to feel calm, leading to paranoid thoughts. When people during this pandemic are detached from reality, one might feel paranoid when it is hard to know what to believe about protecting ourselves against the COVID-19 virus.
How to Identify the Paranoia
Paranoia can make you envision the worst-case scenario based on outlandish information. For example, you may want to buy more toilet paper than you need or stock up on a lot of N-95 masks. When you feel your anxiety seizing up, that is when you know it is important to acknowledge it. Identifying your paranoia is the first step to controlling it. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and how they are interfering with your ability to function, you can see whether or not you need professional help. After all, it is very easy to keep a thought alive even if it goes against the facts.
While paranoia can come with distressing symptoms, healthy paranoia can keep you aware and alert as a defense mechanism. For example, worry about important issues like climate change can inspire others to do something about it. While it is hard to know when to draw the line, you know your paranoia is out of control if it interrupts your daily functioning.
How to Fight Off Unhealthy Paranoia
It is possible to fight off paranoia on your own. Once you acknowledge your paranoid thoughts, you can work to create healthy daily routines. Set small goals for yourself, like walking a mile every day or spend an hour making a connection with someone. Good sleep and a balanced diet can make a difference in your mental health.
If you know someone who is having paranoid thoughts, do not use a judgmental tone and just talk to them about things you are noticing about them. Change the circumstances that put that person in that position, to begin with, by doing the best you can to feel safe without going overboard. If paranoia puts you at danger to yourself or others, seek treatment immediately to make living during this uncertain time more bearable.
Paranoia can take over our minds when we stock up too much or are afraid to leave our homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to acknowledge your paranoia and fill up healthy hobbies to take up your time. At Alta Loma, we understand how much of a struggle it is to protect your mental health during this uncertain time. Our transformative treatment center in Georgetown, Texas, can provide you with individualized therapy, therapeutic recreational activities, medication management, long-term continuum of care, and more. Please call us at (866) 457-3843 to learn more about our services.