In this article, we are going to answer the following question: Why am I so paranoid that someone is in my house? We will speak about paranoia, the 3 types of paranoia, rules of communication with a paranoid patient and what is the best treatment option for this condition.
Why am I so paranoid that someone is in my house?
If you have an irrational fear that someone is in your house, you may be experiencing a psychotic episode. However, the answer depends, whether this is something you experience often (even on a daily basis) or is something you feel after watching a horror movie, for example.
In this article, we will focus on the first case, since it’s more concerning.
Paranoic people are those people who have built a pyramid on the basis of a grain of sand. For example, if a person feels bad because they have been rejected by someone or for any other reason, it is not necessarily a disorder. Rather, pathology appears when the solution has been excessive, that is, if it presents defensive behaviour that leads to that construction of the pyramid, to the construction of paranoia.
In the past, the French defined paranoia as lucid insanity.
And it is that this pathology is simultaneously encompassed by two systems of thought: that of reason and that of delusion. That is why they require very capable psychotherapists to identify their functioning.
Paranoid people often express a consistent, reasonable and logical idea or speech (that they feel threatened, betrayed, deceived, someone wants to harm them, etc.). A thought or idea that creates suffering and against which they defend or attack.
They are usually suspicious and precautious people. Many of them say that they have a highly developed intuition to justify their tendency to think badly of their environment and that their environment does not agree with their beliefs.
If we asked third parties in the patient’s environment they would tell us that this idea or thought is not real, it is imaginary.
One of the most common questions paranoid people ask is ‘Why am i paranoid that someone is watching me?‘ Well, this question too needs to be properly explained and answered.
How do you know if you suffer from paranoia?
The person suffering from paranoia has a belief or conviction that things will go wrong. To speak of paranoia, we must observe that the person reacts to minimum aggression or to some particular fact that they consider, in a defensive way. We then observe that these patients:
- They defend themselves in advance.
- They defend themselves excessively. At the slightest aggression or signal, they can feel and magnify it.
- They defend themselves against anything they think they should defend themselves against. They would be people who do like Don Quixote who fights against giants that he imagines because they are actually windmills. He defends himself like Don Quixote, and he fights against anything exaggeratedly.
In the distinctive deal to speak of paranoia, we need to look at these attempted defence solutions. That is, we observe that they present two attempted solutions: 1) the subject who defends himself by avoiding and 2) the one who defends himself by attacking.
The 3 types of paranoia
We observed three variants of this disorder that required a different treatment each of them:
- Others criticize me/have it with me/laugh at me/want to hurt me, etc. This way of thinking was previously defined as paranoia with a mania for persecution.
- One thing has happened that should not have happened: this type differs from the first in that the enemy is nature itself or a higher entity such as a God, destiny, luck, etc.
- People who are delusional.
Types of paranoid delusions
The subject who suffers from paranoid delirium defends himself from an invented reality but that produces concrete effects in the environment. They usually have non-strange delusions for at least 1 month, that is, they involve situations that occur in real life, such as being followed, poisoned, infected, loved remotely or cheated by the spouse or lover, or having an illness.
They can present tactile or olfactory hallucinations if they are related to the delusional theme. Psychosocial activity is not impaired and the alteration is not caused by physiological effects.
Effective treatment for paranoia
First of all, I have to highlight that any therapy will fail if the psychologist from the beginning tries to convince the patient that what he thinks is not true or does not exist.
Because the first manoeuvre we must do is try to see his point of view and understand what he tells us as something reasonable. Without prejudice and showing absolute acceptance.
In the first phase as psychologists, we must avoid contradicting the individual. They should be warmly welcomed and tuned in to, that is, not disqualify their perception. Adopt a one-up relational stance, especially if one is a violent patient.
In this aspect, it seems easy. But later, to be a good psychologist competent in solving this problem, you need to be a master of communication and relationship. You need to know how to dance perfectly between paradoxical and contradictory communication.
Where very direct and strong restructuring is used and things are said with firm determination. What is complicated and that requires great mastery is that the psychologist must know how to alternate communication, on the one hand not to contradict him, but when we make a restructuring or when we make a prescription we have to be dry and direct.
Therefore we will have a paradoxical communication alternating the two aspects: not to contradict them but if we tell them something we will be short and direct.
4 Rules of communication with a paranoid patient:
The brief strategic therapists focus on choosing a good communication and relational strategy so that the person can adhere to the treatment. From our experience we have established four fundamental rules to ensure success:
First Rule: do not contradict its truth even if it is very distorted.
Second Rule: align yourself, accepting your narration as true and using your language.
Third Rule: start to add and amplify what the patient says, that is, following her logic.
Fourth Rule: invent and build another custom realty, following the patient’s non-ordinary logic, with the aim of making him doubt what has been believed to be totally true.
Techniques to solve paranoia
As psychologists, we must act by having them externalize their paranoia or delirium through writing. Writing therapy presents very effective results for these cases.
Writing therapy can go well for both a paranoid and delusional picture. But the psychological treatment protocol for paranoia and paranoid delirium is different. With the person who is delusional, we use the technique of counter-delirium.
It is also necessary to work with them to achieve a change of behaviour in their environment, directing them to seek consensus around them and to train themselves to be able to get closer to others. Because they have defensive attitudes, their first impression can produce rejection of others.
A rejection they fear and defend themselves against. A self-fulfilling prophecy is given. They are more afraid of being hurt and criticized, and the more they provoke it with their behaviour.
We give them different therapeutic prescriptions in order to be kind and helpful to the people around them. Only if we manage to change their behaviour will we be able to change the paranoid perception. If, on the contrary, we focus on making them change all the negative thoughts that haunt them or their feelings, we will surely fail.
Pharmacological or psychological treatment
Paranoid patients are among the most difficult because they will not recognize that they have a problem. In fact, they are the patients who have reported the most to psychologists and psychiatrists when professionals have declared the diagnostic label to them or their relatives. Attack and war are constant in them although the enemy may change.
They will only agree to come to consultation or for another problem, or because they present an important anxious or depressive picture, or after an aggressive crisis where both they and their families have suffered the effects.
In my view, it is better to start with psychotherapy than with psychiatry for many reasons. One of them is that they believe that they do not have any problem but that the problem is the others, so if we give them medication from the beginning we have many chances that they will not take it since for them we are on the side of the bad, the contrary.
On the other hand, psychotherapy with an inexperienced or incapable psychologist, or that focuses only on telling her that her thoughts are not correct or imaginary, will cause the patient to flee her consultation. I reiterate that these people need very capable psychotherapists.
How to get someone I care about to go to a psychology consultation?
They often consider themselves victims of the problem situation and are very clear about the culprit (s). Therefore, it is very difficult to consult a paranoid patient. We should take advantage of taking them after having an outbreak or an attack of ferocity or aggressiveness, or when suffering from anxiety or depression.
When they decide to come, family members should try to accompany him and talk to the professional to explain the perception of the problematic reality and give them strategies to manage the patient.
One of the strategies that we recommend to family members who need to take their relative to the psychology consultation is that they invent a reason for their problem and that they need to accompany them.
For example, if in the family they see that the father is paranoid, his wife may tell him that he needs to come to the consultation because he feels depressive and that he needs her help to help him get better. We help them build a common enemy to overcome and ally.
And the first sessions there will be carried out as indirect therapy. In this way, the person will learn to trust the specialist, until he can directly intervene with the paranoid problem that it presents. In these cases, you have to know how to go slow in order to go fast.
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FAQ on Why am I so paranoid that someone is in my house
How do I stop being so paranoid?
To stop being paranoid, it is better to consult a mental health professional to get properly assessed, first. Do not self-diagnose and do not self medicate. Besides that, take better care of what you are eating and how you are sleeping. By taking care of your body, you are also taking care of your mind and thoughts.
Why have I been so paranoid lately?
It is possible that you have been feeling more paranoid lately because you are going through a more stressful, even traumatic situation. You may be upset, under high-stress or suffering from anxiety. Paranoia is a symptom of some mental health problems.
Is being paranoid normal?
Generally speaking, being paranoid is something we all have experienced at one time in our lives. Either because we were under high-stress, dealing with trust and commitment issues. However, if you are experiencing an unrealistic or exaggerated belief that other people mean you harm on a daily basis, it is a sign that something more is going on.
Does paranoia go away?
Paranoia can go away once the stressful situation you are going through will pass. However, paranoia is a symptom of some mental health problems. If you are experiencing an unrealistic or exaggerated belief that other people mean you harm on a daily basis, you should consult a mental health professional.
What triggers paranoia?
There are many situations that can trigger paranoia. They are usually associated with past traumas. For example, a person who was once cheated on may become paranoiac in his new relationship when he’s new partner does not answer the phone.
In this article, we have answered the following question: Why am I so paranoid that someone is in my house? We spoke about paranoia, the 3 types of paranoia, rules of communication with a paranoid patient and what is the best treatment option for this condition.
The person suffering from paranoia has a belief or conviction that things will go wrong. To speak of paranoia, we must observe that the person reacts to minimum aggression or to some particular fact that they consider, in a defensive way.
As a conclusion, we want to remind you that if you feel paranoid about someone being in your house on a daily basis, it is best to seek help. Paranoia can be treated. You deserve to live a calm and peaceful life.
If you have any comments or questions, please let us know!
Understanding Paranoia: A Guide for Professionals, Families, and Sufferers, by Martin Kantor MD
What we recommend for personality disorders
- If you are suffering from a personality disorder then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.
Webmd.com- Delusions and Delusional Disorder
Mind.org.uk -Why do I experience paranoia?
Healthline.com -Paranoid Personality Disorder