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How to Deal with Social Anxiety & Paranoia

Schizophrenia can be marked by various frightening and, at times, debilitating symptoms. These include delusions, hearing voices or sounds that aren’t there and others. For me the most debilitating symptom — and the one that never really seems to go away entirely even with my myriad medications — is paranoia.

Paranoia is basically the feeling and the anxiety that people’s main goals are primarily to hurt you in some way. For me it manifests in more social iterations as opposed to bodily harm. I’m constantly worried that people are laughing at me or making fun of me. The exact reason they’re making fun of me varies from the way I look that day to the way I act to smaller things like the way I talk or the way I hold my cigarette.

I’ve been told that everyone has a level of anxiety around these things and that what I call paranoia is no more than social anxiety. I think the determining factor is the belief that people are going out of their way to harm me emotionally. If that’s not paranoia I don’t know what is.

5 Comments to
How to Deal with Social Anxiety & Paranoia

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  1. Hi Mike, thank you for this kindhearted and compassionate article. I’m hoping to help you relieve these awful symptoms. I notice you identified as a smoker. Elsewhere in this terrific PsychCentral site, I’d recently seen an article with evidence that people who quit smoking experienced relief from mental health woes, and hope you enjoy reading it too. -Be well.

  2. you are such a good writer, and you explain things so well they are easy to understand. thanks.

  3. I am very distrustful of everyone I know. It seems I have been betrayed. My daughter has thrown out even more than I had before. I am not schizo but my behavior has been the pits. I thought I had depression. It’s really anxiety and paranoia. I feel I am not allowed to enjoy getting any small of a compliment as there will be an awful hurtful comment to follow. I do see a counselor-she was the only real person I opened to and I had a co-pay to make(ha). So sad as she is moving to her own practice which is not approved for my insurance. I take Prozac. I am in good health and now retired. 5 yrs ago I had a brain aneurysm with surgery & 3 wks in crit care but did good in phy therap. I thought I was a-ok and 8 mos after I had a seizure at work. Dilantin too. I am afraid to harm an innocent person so there’s no guarantee that I’m 100% clear but there is no 100% and that toxic Dilantin I still take. My new counselor is another hard step to take. then she had nothing available for the following week and the a 2 week vacation! I was stage 3 and all speech-related(I spelled everything and air-wrote-you can’t shut me up!) I’m sorry but can a person like be such a loser.

  4. hi my name is Johnny I am 21 I live in London. I am suffering from paranoia quite badly I read the newspapers and watch the news and always see something bad . I constantly think I am going to be attacked and go blind . Or something bad will happen to my family , and at times worry about if something happens to people I see in the street . I consider to see myself as a nice person and wouldn’t hurt a fly . I am constantly thinking these thoughts and it sucks I feel horrible I also smoke cannibes and not ignorant enough to say it’s not a problem I am getting help for it and it’s just a constant struggle. I really hope I can just forget these thoughts and enjoy my life. Not sure if this was the right place to post this but thanks for reading this .

  5. you’re a good writer, you make it simple thanks mike!



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