What is it?

It is common to have from time to time suspicious thoughts or worries about other people. These fears are described as paranoia when they are exaggerated, not based on fact and carry a strong sense of threat to the individual. Someone might feel threatened by one person, a group of people, an organisation, an event or an object.

How do we know it's happening?

There are three key features of paranoid thoughts:

  • Fear that something bad will happen
  • A belief that others are responsible
  • Beliefs which are exaggerated or unfounded.

Paranoia is a complex blend of thoughts and feelings unlikely to have one simple cause. One or other of the following can trigger paranoia:

  • Adverse life events such as bullying or an unpleasant breakdown in a relationship
  • Stress from the external environment especially if there is, for example, a high crime rate locally
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Poor sleep
  • The effects of alcohol and some kinds of street drugs
  • Childhood influences which cause a person to mistrust others
  • Physical causes such as some other health conditions.

What we offer

We will always take someone's concerns seriously and will work closely with them and their family or friends to try to understand their worries and offer help. Any treatment is almost always based on psychological therapies or other forms of talking treatments. Occasionally, some medications can help calm things enough for a person to concentrate on the talking.


Although its difficult, a person should try to confide in anyone they trust about their worries or talk with their GP who will put them in touch with others who can help.

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