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Paranoia facts for kids

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Paranoia is a mental health condition that affects a person's thoughts. A person with paranoia is called paranoid. Paranoia is a thought process heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion.

A paranoid person's thinking is shaped by fear and anxiety. For example, the person may fear that other people are "out to get him" or are planning to hurt him. He might believe that video cameras are watching him, or that a certain group (like the police or CIA) is following him. Or he might believe that other people can control his thoughts or use magic to hurt him. Even if these fears seem strange or absurd to others, they feel very real to the person with paranoia. He truly believes that he is in danger.

Paranoia is different from phobias. In a phobia, someone has an irrational fear, but does not blame anyone for this fear. A paranoid person will often make false accusations and say that something was intentional, when it was just coincidence or an accident.

Very often, people with paranoia also have other thought disorders, or mood disorders. Paranoia can be a symptom of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses.

In everyday talk, people may use "paranoid" to mean more normal worries. For example, someone may call a friend paranoid for thinking that his teacher hates him.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Trastorno delirante para niños

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