Paranoia: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Classification and external resources
ICD-10 F20.0, F22.0, F22.8
ICD-9 295.3, 297.1, 297.2
MeSH D010259

Paranoia is a thought process heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. In the original Greek, παράνοια (paranoia) simply means madness (para = outside; nous = mind). Historically, this characterization was used to describe any delusional state.

Tin foil hats are infamous symbols of paranoid fear, namely fear of mind control, which the hats are supposed to defend against



The term paranoia was derived from the Greek term Paranous, which roughly meant "beyond the mind". It was used to describe a mental illness in which a delusional belief is the sole or most prominent feature. In original attempt at classifying different forms of mental illness, Kraepelin used the term pure paranoia to describe a condition where a delusion was present, but without any apparent deterioration in intellectual abilities and without any of the other features of dementia praecox, the condition later renamed "schizophrenia". Notably, in his definition, the belief does not have to be persecutory to be classified as paranoid, so any number of delusional beliefs can be classified as paranoia. For example, a person who has the sole delusional belief that he is an important religious figure would be classified by Kraepelin as having 'pure paranoia'. Even at the present time, a delusion need not be suspicious or fearful to be classified as paranoid. A person might be diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic without delusions of persecution, simply because their delusions refer mainly to themselves, such as believing that they are a CIA agent or a famous member of royalty.

Use in psychiatry

In modern psychiatry, paranoia is diagnosed in the form of:[1]

Paranoia v. phobias

Paranoia and phobias are separate psychological phenomena but there are associations, as a paranoid person is more likely to have phobias than a non-paranoid person and vice versa.

See also



Further reading

  • Canetti, Elias (1962). Crowds and Power. Translated from the German by Carol Stewart. Gollancz, London. 1962.
  • Farrell, John (2006). Paranoia and Modernity: Cervantes to Rousseau. Cornell University Press.
  • Freeman, D. & Garety, P. A. (2004). Paranoia: The Psychology of Persecutory Delusions. Hove: Psychology Press. ISBN 1-84169-522-X
  • Igmade (Stephan Trüby et al., eds.), 5 Codes: Architecture, Paranoia and Risk in Times of Terror, Birkhäuser 2006. ISBN 3-7643-7598-1
  • Kantor, Martin (2004). Understanding Paranoia: A Guide for Professionals, Families, and Sufferers. Westport: Praeger Press. ISBN 0-275-98152-5
  • Munro, A. (1999). Delusional disorder. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-58180-X
  • Sant, P. (2005). Delusional disorder. Punjab: Panjab University Chandigarh. ISBN 0-521-58180-X
  • Sims, A. (2002). Symptoms in the mind: An introduction to descriptive psychopathology (3rd edition). Edinburgh: Elsevier Science Ltd. ISBN 0-7020-2627-1
  • Siegel, Ronald K. (1994). Whispers: The Voices of Paranoia. New York: Crown.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also paranoia, and paranoïa


German Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia de


From Ancient Greek.


Paranoia f. (genitive Paranoia, plural Paranoien)

  1. paranoia

Simple English

Paranoia is a condition where a person has, often strange, fears that other people are planning to hurt them or thinking bad things and ill persecution. For example, a person might believe that video cameras are watching them to see if they are doing anything bad or that other people can control their thoughts or use magic to hurt them. To be considered paranoid by a doctor the fears must not be explained by common beliefs, like the religion the person grew up with.

Very often, the symptoms of paranoia occur with other thought disorders and with mood disorders. It can be a symptom of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses.

In day to day talk people may use "paranoid" to mean more normal worries. For example, someone may call their friend paranoid for thinking that their teacher hates them.

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