A paranoia test is a screening conducted to see if a patient is experiencing symptoms of paranoia. Paranoid patients experience high levels of anxiety surrounding beliefs that people are out to attack them. A patient may believe, for instance, that there is a conspiracy to murder her or to defame her reputation. Usually, paranoia accompanies a mental health condition such as schizophrenia or paranoid personality disorder and it can be an important criterion for diagnosis.
In a paranoia test, a mental health professional will ask a series of questions to collect information about the patient's state of mind and specific emotions. The questions are framed to avoid upsetting or antagonizing the patient, as this can skew the results in addition to causing emotional distress. For paranoid patients, this can be challenging, as the patient may identify the health care provider as part of a conspiracy and may be reluctant to cooperate, let alone share information considered sensitive and personal.
Usually, initial questions are designed to disarm the patient, making the person feel more comfortable with the health care provider. The care provider will stress that the goal is to provide assistance to the patient. Then, questions will be asked to determine the patient's level of anxiety and to see what kind of thinking is connected with that anxiety. Questions designed to identify delusions may also be included to collect more information about the origins of the paranoia.
While a paranoia test is performed, the care provider will take note of the patient's general condition. Important diagnostic clues can be gleaned by seeing how the patient reacts to questions and interacts with the care provider. The patient may also disclose information about suicidal thoughts and other health concerns that need to be addressed. This information can be combined with interviews from friends and family to construct a more complete view of the patient.
Self-screenings are available for people who want to see if they experience characteristics of paranoia. A number can be found online in the form of short quizzes or simple lists of questions. It is important to be aware that a full paranoia test needs to be conducted by someone with mental health experience and involves not just asking questions, but also observing patients and learning more about the patient through interaction. Usually, multiple sessions are needed to determine a diagnosis, and even more will be required to develop an appropriate treatment plan if the patient has an underlying mental illness. People who get a high score on a paranoia test for self assessment will need to consult a mental health professional for more evaluation.