What Is Paranoid Schizophrenia? Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Schizophrenia is a chronic psychotic disease with an unknown etiology. This disease presents in many diverse ways where there is deterioration of personality due to disturbance in mental functions. Schizophrenia is divided into many subtypes; paranoid schizophrenia is one of them. Paranoid schizophrenia begins at younger age between 25 to 30 years. It is found more commonly in males as compared to females.

The main symptom is delusion (false belief). The patient believes that people are talking about him or laughing on him or someone is plotting against him or his family.

They also have auditory hallucination, meaning they hear things that in realty are not heard by others.

As compared to other types, paranoid schizophrenic personality has normal behavior due to which he is able to work and perform normal social activities. Treatment is successful and patient has good chance of living productive life.

Causes Of Paranoid Schizophrenia

No one knows the reason of paranoid schizophrenia, but basically it has been associated with dysfunction in the brain. It is believed that genetics and environmental causes play equal role in its development. Individuals may carry a genetic predisposition but manifestation of disease only occurs when certain factors act as triggers.

The risk factors are;

  • Genetics: Persons having close relatives suffering from paranoid schizophrenia are at greater risk of suffering from this mental condition. The prevalence of schizophrenia is 86 percent. In close relatives the prevalence is between 10 to 40 percent. The risk is far less if no one in the family is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.
  • Personality trait: Many patients have a schizoid personality before developing full fledge disorder. These patients are less social; they are shy and introvert having few friends. Most of them are bookworm.
  • Biochemical substances: It is believed that imbalance in neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin may be involved.
  • Abuse: Physical or sexual abuse during childhood can precipitate into schizophrenia later in life.
  • Social causes: It occurs more in people with low income group or living in crowded place and separation from the society at large.
  • Abnormal family activity: If one parent is dominating and other is submissive, the child living in such atmosphere may be at risk of this condition.
  • Stress: Any type of mental stress such as stress of examination, death of a relative, marriage or divorce, financial loss can give origin to paranoid schizophrenia.

Symptoms Of Paranoid Schizophrenia

Paranoid schizophrenia typically develops early in adulthood between 25 to 30 years. Men suffer more in early age while women suffer later in life. Patients with paranoid schizophrenia are likely to be single or unmarried. They may be infertile to produce children. They have low sex drive and do not have interest in close intimate relationship.

The pattern of thinking, mood and behavior get changed in paranoid schizophrenia. The symptom manifestations are;

  • Delusions: Patient has false beliefs. He irrelevantly and illogically believes that someone is plotting against him or his family. He may have religious delusions. Believes that other person’s behavior is known. Religious delusion includes that he has personal relationship with god.
  • Hallucinations: Especially auditory hallucinations are common. Patient hears voices or sees a person when actually there is no voice or anyone around.
  • Changes in mood: No feelings towards anyone. Laughing while talking about sad incidence or weeping without any reason. Imbalance in feelings such as simultaneous loving and hating someone etc.
  • Anxiety: Patients with this disorder suffer from anxiety which is out of proportion for a specific situation. This anxiety is not rational for that particular situation.
  • Aggressive and violence: There is extreme outburst of aggressiveness and violence.
  • Anger: The anger exhibited is out of proportion to particular incident. They become violent after getting angry.
  • Detachment: They remain detached physically as well as emotionally with everyone.
  • Suicidal behavior: Patient has marked tendency to commit suicide.
  • Suspicious and secretive: Some patients have high degree of suspiciousness and secretiveness even for things that have no significance.

Treatment For Paranoid Schizophrenia

Paranoid schizophrenia is life time illness; it is a chronic mental condition. The treatment therefore should be continued permanently even if the symptoms have subsided. In most cases treatment begins with anti-psychotic drugs. All patients suffering from paranoid schizophrenia require psychotherapy.

ECT or eletroconvulsive therapy is a type of treatment which is used when the person becomes extremely violent and excited or when he has suicidal or homicidal tendencies. Simultaneous use of drug and ECT therapy has good chance of improvement in paranoid schizophrenia patients.

In addition social skill therapy will help the patient in becoming more hygienic. He will be taught by the social worker to prepare his food and learn better communication techniques. The main aim of social therapy is to make the patient mentally, socially, and occupationally self dependent. Therefore he is taught many activities to earn his livelihood.