- Paranoia: symptoms, causes and treatment
- What is paranoia?
- What causes paranoia?
- • Paranoid personality disorder
- • Delusional disorder
- • Paranoid schizophrenia
- Paranoia symptoms
- How is paranoia diagnosed?
- Treatments for paranoia
- Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) — HelpGuide.org
- Signs and symptoms of paranoid personality disorder
- Treatment for PPD
- Obstacles to treatment
- How PPD affects relationships
- Coping with a loved one’s paranoia
- Taking care of yourself
- Paranoid Personality Disorder: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
- What are the symptoms of paranoid personality disorder?
- What are the complications of paranoid personality disorder?
- Paranoid Schizophrenia: Overview of Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments
- Signs that immediate medical attention is needed
Paranoia: symptoms, causes and treatment
Paranoia is characterised by irrational thoughts and feelings that you are the subject of persistent, intrusive attention by others. People with paranoia may find it difficult to function socially or have close relationships due to an unfounded distrust of others.
Paranoia can take many different forms. People may think they are being talked about behind their back, or controlled by others. They may believe they're at risk of being physically harmed or killed, or believe they have a special role or significance in the world that others are trying to forestall.
These anxious thoughts and feelings can be intense and distressing for those who experience them. We spoke to Dr Elena Touroni, consultant psychologist and co-founder of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, and GP Dr Roger Henderson about paranoia types, potential causes and available treatment options:
What is paranoia?
Paranoia is an anxious pattern of thinking where you believe you are under threat in some way, even though there's no proof.
It can range in severity from general mild feelings of uneasiness to intense and highly-distressing premonitions. Mild paranoid thoughts can be quite common in the general population, and are usually short-lived and harmless.
People with clinical paranoia believe that others are trying to harm them or are 'out to get them'.
How severe your paranoia is depends on how much you:
- Believe the paranoid thoughts
- Think about the paranoid thoughts
- Feel upset by the paranoid thoughts
- Can function due to the paranoid thoughts
'With non-clinical paranoia, there will be a strong sense of distrust – a tendency to scrutinise other people's behaviour and question their intentions,' Dr Tourini explains.
'Clinical paranoia happens when the level of severity is such that a person loses touch with reality. There will be a belief in things which are very clearly untrue, rather than just feeling suspicious.
' People with clinical paranoia are more ly to need treatment.
What causes paranoia?
Paranoid behaviour usually occurs due to mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, or bipolar, but it's important to distinguish that paranoia is not a diagnosis in itself. The symptom is most commonly associated with three psychiatric disorders:
• Paranoid personality disorder
'Paranoid personality disorder is considered the mildest type and is typically a long standing picture of problematic feelings, thoughts and behaviour,' says Dr Henderson. 'Despite this, most people with paranoid personality disorder function well. This usually improves with age and many people recover by the time they are in their fifties.'
• Delusional disorder
'People with this delusional disorder have one delusion – a fixed, false belief – without any other signs of mental illness,' says Dr Henderson. 'People with delusional disorder may also have other unusual beliefs – being convinced they have a terrible illness, despite a lack of evidence – or they may practice behaviour such as stalking.'
• Paranoid schizophrenia
'The most severe type, and a form of psychosis, paranoid schizophrenia is characterised by delusions and sometimes hallucinations,' says Dr Henderson. 'A person with paranoid schizophrenia often finds the world confusing and functions poorly without treatment.'
Not everyone who experiences paranoia has a mental health disorder. It may be that a number of genetic and environmental factors are working in combination. Recreational drug use – such as cannabis, amphetamine and cocaine – dementia, traumatic life events, insomnia, and severe stress are all associated with the onset of paranoia.
The symptoms of paranoia range from mild to severe, and depend on the cause. However, they typically involve:
- Being easily offended and quick to anger
- Finding it difficult to trust others
- Being thin-skinned and unable to be receive criticism
- Assigning harmful meanings to others' remarks
- Believing your actions or thoughts are being interfered with by other people
- Being defensive, argumentative and unable to compromise
- Being unable to 'forgive and forget'
- Thinking people are secretly threatening you
- Thinking people are trying to make you look bad or exclude you
- Being overly suspicious of others in general
- Feeling threatened and persecuted by the world
- Believing you are at risk of being harmed or killed
- Thinking people are deliberately trying to upset or annoy you
- Believing in conspiracy theories
- Believing you are being controlled or that the government is targeting you
- Believing people are trying to take your money or possessions
- Thinking you are being talked about or watched by people or organisations
'In order to understand if you are suffering from paranoia, it's important to consult a psychologist,' says Dr Touroni. 'If you're suffering from clear delusions, then this indicates it is more of a psychiatric condition. In this case, it's important to get help via the NHS as these conditions require being on some form of medication.'
How is paranoia diagnosed?
Getting to the root cause of paranoia can be difficult, because it's characterised by a mistrust of other people. 'People with paranoia may avoid doctors, hospitals and other medical settings for fear of being harmed,' says Dr Henderson.
Since it's common across many mental illnesses, a wide range of disorders could be behind the symptom. 'Paranoia isn't diagnosed as a condition unless someone is suffering from a psychotic disorder,' says Dr Touroni. 'It can also be part of an anxiety disorder, in its less severe form.'
Paranoia isn't diagnosed as a condition unless someone is suffering from a psychotic disorder.
To ascertain why someone is experiencing paranoid thoughts, a doctor may need to do a physical examination – which may include blood tests or scans – to rule out underlying physical causes, Dr Henderson says, as well as psychological tests.
'The first point of call would be to discuss with your GP who can signpost you in the right direction,' says Dr Touroni.
'People who actively seek out support are ly to be suffering from a less severe form of paranoia, because they are able to recognise that there is a problem.
In the more severe cases, it is usually a family member or close friend who recognises that something is wrong.'
Treatments for paranoia
Treatment of paranoia depends on the underlying cause. 'Sometimes, simply stopping alcohol or recreational drugs cures the problem altogether,' says Dr Henderson. 'However, many people with paranoia can have difficulty in accepting treatment, and so it can take a long time for recovery to occur.
For schizophrenia and delusional disorder, medication is the mainstay. 'Treatment depends on the type and severity of the condition, but may include medications, such as anti-anxiety drugs or antipsychotic drugs,' Dr Henderson continues. 'A person with paranoia may often refuse to take medication because they're afraid it'll harm them.'
Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), is also an effective treatment. 'It can help a person to cope with their symptoms and may improve their ability to function,' says Dr Henderson. 'This can be especially helpful in people with mild paranoia or paranoid personality disorder.'
More generally, coping skills can be taught – for example, relaxation therapy and anxiety reduction techniques, Dr Henderson adds. If the paranoia is especially severe and puts the individual or people close to them in immediate danger, 'they may need to be hospitalised until the condition causing the paranoia stabilises,' he says.
Last updated: 30-06-2021
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Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) — HelpGuide.org
Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is a challenging mental health condition defined by mistrust and suspicion so intense that it interferes with thought patterns, behavior, and daily functioning.
A person with PPD may feel deeply wary of others, always on guard for signs that someone is trying to threaten, mistreat, or deceive them. No matter how unfounded their beliefs, they may repeatedly question the faithfulness, honesty, or trustworthiness of others.
When they perceive they’re being persecuted, rejected, or slighted, they’re ly to respond with angry outbursts, controlling behavior, or by deflecting the blame onto others.
The fearful, distrustful perceptions that accompany PPD can make forming and maintaining close relationships very difficult, affecting the person’s ability to function at home, work, and school.
If you have a loved one with paranoid personality disorder, you may feel frustrated by their warped view of the world, exhausted by their continual accusations, or beaten down by their hostility and stubbornness.
It can seem they’re able to find and exaggerate the negative aspects of any situation or conversation.
Professional treatment can help someone with paranoid personality disorder manage symptoms and improve their daily functioning. But due to the very nature of the disorder, most people with PPD don’t seek help. As far as they’re concerned, their fears are justified and any attempts to change how they think only confirms their suspicions that people are “out to get them” in some way.
Despite the severe challenges of dealing with someone with PPD, though, you’re not totally powerless. There are steps you can take to encourage your loved one to seek help, support their treatment, and establish firm boundaries to preserve your own mental health and wellbeing.
Signs and symptoms of paranoid personality disorder
PPD often first appears in early adulthood and is more common in men than women. Research suggests it may be most prevalent in those with a family history of schizophrenia.
Someone with paranoid personality disorder doesn’t see their suspicious behavior as unusual or unwarranted.
Rather, they see it as defending themselves against the bad intentions and deceptive, untrustworthy activities of those around them.
Common PPD symptoms include:
- Suspecting, without justification, that others are trying to exploit, harm, or deceive them.
- Obsessing on the lack of loyalty or trustworthiness of family, friends, and acquaintances.
- Refusing to confide in people for fear that any information they divulge will be used against them, often leading them to isolate from others.
- Interpreting hidden, malicious meanings in innocent gestures, events, or conversations.
- Being overly sensitive to perceived insults, criticism, or slights, quickly snapping to judgment and holding grudges.
- Responding to imagined attacks on their character with anger, hostility, or controlling behavior.
- Repeatedly suspecting, without basis, their romantic partner or spouse of infidelity.
Despite being one of the most common personality disorders, paranoid personality disorder can be difficult to detect until symptoms progress from mild to more severe. After all, most of us have behaved in mistrustful, suspicious, or hostile ways at some point in our lives without warranting a diagnosis of PPD.
Spotting the signs of paranoid personality disorder can be further complicated as it often co-occurs with another mental health problem, such as an anxiety disorder (often social anxiety), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), substance abuse, or depression.
If you recognize the symptoms of paranoid personality disorder in someone you care about, it’s important to remember that you can’t fix them or force them into treatment. You can, however, encourage them to seek professional help and support them through recovery.
Treatment for PPD
Treatment for paranoid personality disorder largely focuses on psychotherapy.
A therapist can help your loved one develop skills for building empathy and trust, improving communication and relationships, and better coping with PPD symptoms.
Since the presence of others may fuel paranoid thoughts and anxious behavior, your loved one is more ly to benefit from individual rather than group therapy.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help someone with paranoid personality disorder recognize their destructive beliefs and thought patterns.
- By changing how these beliefs influence their behavior, CBT can help reduce paranoia and improve how well your loved one interacts with others.
- CBT can also help them learn better ways to deal with their emotions, beyond lashing out at others.
Obstacles to treatment
The first major challenge is for the person with paranoid personality disorder to recognize there’s something disordered in their thinking and willingly embrace the need for treatment. Trying to force someone with PPD into seeking help will often backfire, adding to their resistance and fueling their paranoia that people are conspiring against them.
Another obstacle to treatment is overcoming the person with PPD’s suspicion and mistrust of those trying to help them, including the therapist.
As in all relationships, trust is a major component of an effective therapist-client connection.
If your loved one is suspicious of the therapist’s motives, worried about disclosing personal details, or otherwise uncomfortable confiding in them, therapy is very unly to be successful.
Finding the right therapist for any mental health condition can often take time and effort—and that’s particularly true of paranoid personality disorder.
The person with PPD needs to feel that they are working in collaboration with a therapist rather than having treatment forced upon them.
It may take multiple attempts to find a therapist who’s a good fit and may require a long-term program of treatment to continually manage the symptoms of PPD.
How PPD affects relationships
If you have a relationship with someone with paranoid personality disorder you already know how stressful and emotionally turbulent it can be. Whether you’re dealing with a spouse, partner, or family member, the suspicion, finger-pointing, and twisting of your words to mean something else can take a heavy toll.
The verbal insults, lack of sensitivity to your feelings, and stubborn belief that they’re always right can make you feel you’re walking on eggshells around them.
And their jealousy and controlling behavior can make it difficult for you to maintain other relationships and social ties, leaving you feeling isolated and alone.
You probably feel the person with PPD doesn’t ever see you for who you really are. They’re so guarded about their feelings and paranoid about revealing anything personal about themselves, it can be difficult to ever feel close.
In healthy relationships, trust tends to deepen over time as two people get to know each other better. But in a relationship with someone with paranoid personality disorder, the opposite often occurs. The longer you’re in the relationship, the less the person with PPD trusts you and the more suspicious of you they become.
While it’s easy to become overwhelmed or lose hope, it is possible to stabilize your relationship by encouraging your loved one to get treatment and taking steps to establish healthy boundaries.
Coping with a loved one’s paranoia
As hurtful and confusing as a person with PPD’s behavior can be, try to remember that your loved one’s paranoid beliefs and disordered thinking stem from fear. Even though their beliefs may be totally unfounded, the fear, anxiety, and distress they’re experiencing are very real.
Recognize their pain. While you don’t need to agree with your loved one’s groundless beliefs, you can recognize and offer comfort for the feelings that are fueling these beliefs. Acknowledging their pain can help them feel more secure and diffuse their anger and hostility.
Don’t argue about their mistaken beliefs or instantly dismiss them.
A person with PPD misinterprets events as threatening and trying to argue rationally with them will only reinforce their belief that you’re out to deceive them.
Instead, respect their beliefs but focus on the fears behind their claims. Talking openly about what they’re feeling, without validating their paranoid thinking, can help to reduce their stress and anxiety.
Set boundaries. No matter how much pain your loved one is in, that doesn’t make it okay for them to take it out on you.
Setting clear boundaries can help the person with PPD see the damaging effects of their behavior, which in turn may encourage them to seek treatment.
For example, you could make it clear that if they accuse you of cheating or prevent you from seeing friends, you’ll leave until they begin treatment. Make the rules and consequences clear—but only if you’re prepared to follow through with them.
Simplify how you communicate. Try to use clear, unambiguous language to reduce the chance of your loved one misinterpreting what you’re saying. If your loved one starts to twist your words, try to offer clarification without becoming defensive.
Encourage exercise. Regular physical activity releases endorphins that can relieve tension, boost your loved one’s mood, and help manage symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. Adding a mindfulness element—really focusing on how the body feels while exercising—may also help your loved one interrupt the flow of negative thoughts running through their head.
Promote relaxation. People with paranoid personality disorder often have difficulty relaxing. You can help by encouraging a regular relaxation practice such as yoga or meditation.
Taking care of yourself
Being in a relationship with someone who has paranoid personality disorder requires compassion, patience, and lots of understanding. But if you’re not careful, it can also be incredibly draining and take over your life. Your loved one’s pessimism can make the world seem a dark and negative place, so it’s vital you take steps to bolster your own mood and self-esteem.
Maintain other relationships. Your loved one’s paranoid personality disorder and associated controlling behavior may have caused you to isolate from family and friends.
But it’s important to set boundaries about being able to maintain your social life. You need regular contact with family and friends for support, relaxation, and fun.
If you’ve abandoned old social connections, it’s never too late to make new friends.
Take time to relax and unwind. When you’re dealing with someone with paranoid personality disorder it can feel you’re in the eye of a storm. It’s important to regain your balance and perspective by adopting a daily relaxation practice, such as yoga, deep breathing, or meditation. A good place to start is HelpGuide’s Eye of the Storm guided meditation.
Exercise. Physical activity can be just as important for lowering your stress and anxiety levels as it is for your loved one with PPD. You may even be able to exercise or take a yoga class together, helping to motivate and encourage each other.
Eat well and get enough sleep. It’s easy to neglect your diet and skimp on sleep when you’re dealing with a loved one’s mental health problem. But when you eat well and get plenty of sleep, you’re better able to handle stress, remain patient, and control your own emotional response.
Paranoid Personality Disorder: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is one of a group of conditions called eccentric personality disorders. People with PPD suffer from paranoia, an unrelenting mistrust and suspicion of others, even when there is no reason to be suspicious.
Paranoid Personality Disorder
Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is one of a group of conditions called Cluster A or eccentric personality disorders. People with these disorders often appear odd or peculiar.
The essential characteristic of people with PPD is paranoia, a relentless mistrust and suspicion of others without adequate reason to be suspicious. This disorder often begins in childhood or early adolescence and appears to be more common in men than in women.
Studies estimate that PPD affects between 2.3% and 4.4% of the general population.
The exact cause of PPD is not known, but it ly involves a combination of biological and psychological factors.
The fact that PPD is more common in people who have close relatives with schizophrenia and delusional disorder suggests a genetic link between the two disorders (may run in the family).
It is also believed that early childhood experiences, including physical or emotional trauma, play a role in the development of PPD.
What are the symptoms of paranoid personality disorder?
People with PPD are always on guard, believing that others are constantly trying to demean, harm, or threaten them. These generally unfounded beliefs, as well as their habits of blame and distrust, interfere with their ability to form close or even workable relationships. People with this disorder:
- Doubt the commitment, loyalty, or trustworthiness of others, believing others are exploiting or deceiving them.
- Are reluctant to confide in others or reveal personal information because they are afraid the information will be used against them.
- Are unforgiving and hold grudges.
- Are hypersensitive and take criticism poorly.
- Read hidden meanings in the innocent remarks or casual looks of others.
- Perceive attacks on their character that are not apparent to others; they generally react with anger and are quick to retaliate.
- Have persistent suspicions, without reason, that their spouses or lovers are being unfaithful.
- Are generally cold and distant in their relationships with others, and might become controlling and jealous to avoid being betrayed.
- Cannot see their role in problems or conflicts, believing they are always right.
- Have difficulty relaxing.
- Are hostile, stubborn, and argumentative.
- Tend to develop negative stereotypes of others, especially those from different cultural groups.
If a person has symptoms, the doctor will begin an evaluation by performing a complete medical history and physical examination.
Although there are no laboratory tests to specifically diagnose personality disorders, the doctor might use various diagnostic tests to rule out physical illness as the cause of the symptoms.
For example, difficulty hearing or long-lasting substance abuse may be confused with PPD.
If the doctor finds no physical reason for the symptoms, he or she might refer the person to a psychiatrist or psychologist, health care professionals who are specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses.
PPD is different from psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, paranoid type or delusional disorder, persecutory type, in that the person with PPD lacks the perceptual distortions (for example, hearing voices) or bizarre delusional thinking (for example, being followed everywhere by the I).
Psychiatrists and psychologists use specially designed interview and assessment tools to evaluate a person for a personality disorder.
People with PPD often do not seek treatment on their own because they do not see themselves as having a problem.
The distrust of others felt by people with PPD also poses a challenge for health care professionals because trust is an important factor of psychotherapy (a form of counseling).
As a result, many people with PPD do not follow their treatment plan and may even question the motives of the therapist.
When a patient seeks treatment for PPD, psychotherapy is the treatment of choice. Treatment ly will focus on increasing general coping skills, especially trust and empathy, as well as on improving social interaction, communication, and self-esteem.
Medication generally is not used to treat PPD. However, medications—such as anti-anxiety, antidepressant, or anti-psychotic drugs—might be prescribed if the person’s symptoms are extreme, or if he or she also suffers from an associated psychological problem, such as anxiety or depression.
What are the complications of paranoid personality disorder?
The thinking and behaviors associated with PPD can interfere with a person’s ability to form and maintain relationships, as well as their ability to function socially and in work situations. In many cases, people with PPD become involved in legal battles, suing people or companies they believe are «out to get them.»
Although it might not be possible to prevent PPD, treatment can sometimes allow a person who is prone to this disorder to learn more productive ways of dealing with situations.
The outlook for people with PPD varies. It is a chronic disorder, which means it tends to last throughout a person’s life. Although some people can function fairly well with PPD and are able to marry and hold jobs, others are completely disabled by the disorder. Because people with PPD tend to resist treatment, the prognosis often is poor.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/12/2017.
- Janowsky D. Chapter 30. Personality Disorders. In: Ebert MH, Loosen PT, Nurcombe B, Leckman JF, eds. CURRENT Diagnosis & Treatment: Psychiatry. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2008.
Paranoid Schizophrenia: Overview of Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments
Paranoid schizophrenia is characterized by predominantly positive symptoms of schizophrenia, including delusions and hallucinations. These debilitating symptoms blur the line between what is real and what isn’t, making it difficult for the person to lead a typical life.
Schizophrenia occurs in about 1.1 percent of the population, while paranoid schizophrenia is considered the most common subtype of this chronic disorder.
1 The average age of onset is late adolescence to early adulthood, usually between the ages of 18 to 30. It is highly unusual for schizophrenia to be diagnosed after age 45 or before age 16.
Onset in males typically occurs earlier in life than females.2
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Early symptoms of schizophrenia may seem rather ordinary and could be explained by a number of other factors. This includes socializing less often with friends, trouble sleeping, irritability, or a drop in grades.
3 During the onset of schizophrenia — otherwise known as the prodromal phase — negative symptoms mount.
These negative symptoms might include an increasing lack of motivation, decreasing inability to pay attention, or social isolation.4
Warning signs that psychosis may be imminent include:5
- Seeing, hearing, or tasting things that others do not.
- Suspiciousness and a general fear of others’ intentions.
- Persistent, unusual thoughts or beliefs.
- Difficulty thinking clearly.
- Withdrawing from family or friends.
- A significant decline in self-care.
Displaying all these symptoms doesn’t necessarily indicate the presence of schizophrenia, but these are indications that a mental health evaluation is advised. If the person is experiencing the onset of schizophrenia, early intervention is the best chance of a positive outcome. 6
The positive symptoms of schizophrenia—things hallucinations and delusions—are less ly to go unnoticed. After the prodromal phase, the patient enters the active phase of schizophrenia, during which they experience debilitating thoughts and perceptual distortions. They may experience impaired motor or cognitive functions, including disorganized speech and disorganized or catatonic behavior.
The paranoia in paranoid schizophrenia stems from delusions—firmly held beliefs that persist despite evidence to the contrary — and hallucinations — seeing or hearing things that others do not.
Both of these experiences can be persecutory or threatening in nature. A patient may hear a voice or voices in their head that they do not recognize as their own thoughts or internal voice.
These voices can be demeaning or hostile, driving a person to do things they would not do otherwise.
Odd, untypical behavior flows as a result of these delusions and hallucinations. Someone with schizophrenia may be convinced that the government is surveilling them in an attempt to harm them in some way.
This can lead to boarding up their home, blacking out windows, putting objects in front of doors to impede entry, and otherwise blocking or removing items they believe contain listening devices or cameras.
They may stay up late at night to catch culprits.
Someone with active paranoid schizophrenia is consumed by their delusions or hallucinations. The vast majority of their energy and attention is focused on keeping to and protecting their falsely held beliefs or perceptual distortions.7
The most common time a person seeks initial treatment for schizophrenia is during the active phase, when psychosis often makes a dramatic disruption in one’s life and the lives of those around them.
After the active phase, the patient enters the residual phase of schizophrenia. Much the residual subtype, hallucinations and delusions attenuate at this point (usually with the help of antipsychotic medication and other forms of treatment), and the patient experiences primarily negative symptoms.
When schizophrenia is diagnosed, antipsychotic medication is most typically prescribed. This can be given as a pill, a patch, or an injection. There are long-term injections that have been developed which could eliminate the problems of a patient not regularly taking their medication (called “medication noncompliance”).
This is a common concern in schizophrenia because of the symptom of anosognosia. Anosognosia is the lack of insight and an unawareness of the presence of a disorder. Someone with schizophrenia may not recognize that their behavior, hallucinations, or delusions are unusual or unfounded.
This can cause a person to stop taking antipsychotic medication, stop participating in therapy, or both, which can result in a relapse into active phase psychosis.
While antipsychotic medication is effective in treating the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, it does not address negative symptoms.
8 In addition, these drugs can have unwanted side effects including weight gain, drowsiness, restlessness, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, dry mouth, and lowered white blood cell count.
They can also lead to the development of movement disorders, tremors and tics, but these are more common with older generation antipsychotics (typicals), not newer generation antipsychotics (atypicals).
Psychotherapy also plays an important role in the treatment of schizophrenia. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to help patients develop and retain social skills, alleviate comorbid anxiety and depression symptoms, cope with trauma in their past, improve relationships with family and friends, and support occupational recovery.9
Team care known as Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) has shown promise in the treatment of schizophrenia. This utilizes a team of mental health professionals to perform case management, family support and education, medication management, education, and employment support, as well as provide peer support.10
Signs that immediate medical attention is needed
If the patient is a danger to himself or others and is unwilling to seek treatment, they can be involuntarily committed to a hospital and held for a period of evaluation usually lasting three to seven days. A court order is required for involuntary commitment to be extended.11
Film and news media have characterized schizophrenia as a violent condition, however, the majority of people with schizophrenia are not violent. The majority of violent crime is committed by individuals who do not suffer from this disorder. The risk of violence in schizophrenia drops dramatically when treatment is in place.12
Schizophrenia is associated with a higher risk of suicide. If the patient is suicidal contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.
- National Institute of Mental Health. Schizophrenia. Available at: www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/schizophrenia.shtml Last updated May 2018. Accessed May 13, 2019.
- National Institute of Mental Health. What is Schizophrenia? Available at: www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/schizophrenia/index.shtml. Accessed May 13, 2019.
- Nitin Gogtay, Nora S. Vyas, Renee Testa, Stephen J. Wood, Christos Pantelis, Age of Onset of Schizophrenia: Perspectives From Structural Neuroimaging Studies, Schizophrenia Bulletin, Volume 37, Issue 3, May 2011, Pages 504–513, https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbr030.
- Expert Rev Neurother. 2010;10(8):1347–1359. doi:10.1586/ern.10.93.
- NAMI Early Psychosis. What’s Going On and What You Can Do. Available at: www.nami.org/getattachment/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Early-Psychosis-and-Psychosis/NAMI-Early-Psychosis_What-s-Going-On.pdf.
- NAMI Early Psychosis. Available at: www.nami.org/earlypsychosis Accessed May 13, 2019.
- Center for Addiction and Mental Health. Schizophrenia Information Guide. Available at: https://www.camh.ca/-/media/files/guides-and-publications/schizophrenia-guide-en.pdf Accessed May 13, 2019.
- King DJ. Atypical antipsychotics and the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment. 1998;4(1):53-61. doi:10.1192/apt.4.1.53.
- Morrison AK. Cognitive behavior therapy for people with schizophrenia. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2009;6(12):32–39.
- NAMI. Early Psychosis . Available at: https://www.nami.org/earlypsychosis Access May 13, 2019.
- NAMI. Getting Treatment During a Crisis. Available at: www.nami.org/Learn-More/Treatment/Getting-Treatment-During-a-Crisis. Accessed May 13, 2019.
- Hawton K, Sutton L, Haw C, Sinclair J, Deeks JJ. Schizophrenia and suicide: Systematic review of risk factors. British Journal of Psychiatry. 2005;187(1):9-20. doi:10.1192/bjp.187.1.9.