What Is the Connection between Schizophrenia and Paranoia?

Kathy Dowling

Schizophrenia is a form of psychosis that is distinguished by particular behavioral and physical characteristics. It involves distorted perceptions, thoughts, and emotions, and includes unusual behavior and withdrawal from society. Paranoia, one of the many different symptoms of schizophrenia, is a mental disorder where an individual will experience such an intense anxiety and often irrational fears that he or she may slip into various states of delusion. An individual suffering from both schizophrenia and paranoia will often have a severe false belief that others are plotting against them.

Paranoia is associated with schizophrenia.
Paranoia is associated with schizophrenia.

Comprising of a group of psychological disorders, schizophrenia is divided by two categories of symptoms: positive and negative. Positive symptoms are known by their presence, and negative symptoms are distinguished by the absence of normal behavior. Symptoms categorized as positive include hallucinations, delusions, and thought process disorders, whereas negative symptoms include a lack of emotional response, speech, initiative, and a withdrawal from society. Excessive neural activity is evident in individuals suffering schizophrenia and paranoia; however, negative symptoms appear to be the result of brain damage.

People suffering from schizophrenia and paranoia may believe that others are scheming against them.
People suffering from schizophrenia and paranoia may believe that others are scheming against them.

There are four main forms of schizophrenia, including undifferentiated, catatonic, disorganized, and paranoid. Patients suffering undifferentiated schizophrenia experience hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized behavior. This type of schizophrenia is distinguishable from patients with catatonic schizophrenia who demonstrate motor disturbances such as holding unusual postural positions for extended periods of time. Disorganized schizophrenia is primarily characterized by thought disturbances and inappropriate emotional displays, such as laughing at inappropriate times. Patients with this type also have the tendency to jumble their words when talking.

Schizophrenia typically begins during childhood and gets progressively worse.
Schizophrenia typically begins during childhood and gets progressively worse.

Paranoid schizophrenia is characterized by thought disorders that include delusions of persecution, grandeur, or control. Patients suffering schizophrenia and paranoia are considered to be the most intelligent of psychotic patients due to their ability to create delusions that involve an extensive amount of detail. Insignificant events in everyday life are perceived to be part of a grand scheme against them in patients suffering schizophrenia and paranoia.

Individuals suffering from schizophrenia may withdraw from society.
Individuals suffering from schizophrenia may withdraw from society.

A thought disorder is categorized by an irrational, disorganized way of thinking, and is a characteristic symptom of schizophrenia. A patient with schizophrenia and paranoia may also experience delusions of persecution in which they believe other people are conspiring to harm them, or they may experience delusions of grandeur believing they have god-like powers. Another symptom is a delusion of control, where a patient believes that he or she is being controlled by others through means, such as a radar.

A patient with schizophrenia and paranoia may also suffer hallucinations. Hallucinations involve perceiving stimuli that is not actually there. The most typical type of hallucination is auditory, in which the patient hears voices; however, hallucinations may involve any of the senses.

A patient suffering from schizophrenia and paranoia may suffer from hallucinations.
A patient suffering from schizophrenia and paranoia may suffer from hallucinations.

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