A paranoid schizophrenic is a person with a subtype of the brain disease schizophrenia. About 40% of schizophrenics are thought to be of the paranoid type of this mental illness; it is the most common as there are at least three other recognized subtypes, or branches. Of these subtypes, it is the paranoid schizophrenic who, on the surface, can appear to be quite "normal."
Persons afflicted with other subtypes of schizophrenia are often unkempt in appearance, have disorganized speech patterns and experience great difficulty in forming close relationships. Paranoid schizophrenics tend to be reasonably groomed, speak clearly and have relationships that may include marriage. A paranoid schizophrenic doesn't usually speak in the jumbled, senseless manner known as "word salad." Whereas some schizophrenics appear flat and unemotional much of the time, those with the paranoid form of the disease usually do not. A person with paranoid schizophrenia may have difficulty expressing his or her emotions and/or may be quiet much of the time as well as show some inappropriate social responses such as laughing when others are crying.
The thought process of a paranoid schizophrenic is distorted although it can be difficult for others to notice at first. The disease can even be difficult for the sufferer to identify since delusions and hallucinations are the main signs and these usually seem very real. People with paranoid schizophrenia may think that others are seeing or hearing the same things they do. Other times, many paranoid schizophrenics experience grandiose delusions such as that they possess magical powers that no one else has. For instance, a paranoid schizophrenic may think that he or she is God and can control the future.
The paranoid delusions and hallucinations of this form of schizophrenia can be very powerful and convincing to the sufferer. A paranoid schizophrenic may be convinced that people are out to get him or her. He or she may constantly feel hunted or persecuted. Some paranoid schizophrenics become convinced that the water or food supplies are poisoned. Thinking that people can read their mind is another common experience of those who have paranoid schizophrenia.
A paranoid schizophrenic may outwardly display extreme irritation as they strive to exist in their inner world. They can also be extremely argumentative. During grandiose delusions, paranoid schizophrenics may feel that others are jealous of their magical abilities. The symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia are often able to be controlled by medication.