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Assessment of paranoia

2-minute read

If you or someone you know has paranoid thoughts often and they are causing distress, then it’s important to seek professional help. A mental health assessment by a doctor or mental health professional can help determine the cause of the paranoia. An assessment involves detailed questions about the current problems, past and family history of mental health issues, general medical history and any medications or drug and alcohol use.

A doctor may need to do a physical examination, blood tests or scans to rule out an underlying physical cause. They may need to refer to a psychiatrist if a diagnosis of mental illness or personality disorder is suspected. Finding out the cause or diagnosis is the first step towards effective treatment.

The cause of paranoia can be difficult to diagnose. People with paranoia may not be able to recognise that they have a problem, and may avoid doctors or hospitals due to a fear of being harmed. Paranoia can be due to a range of different mental disorders, substance abuse or other conditions.

Where to get help

If you need help, talking to your doctor is a good place to start. If you’d like to find out more or talk to someone else, here are some organisations that can help:

  • SANE Australia (people living with a mental illness) – call 1800 18 7263.
  • beyondblue (anyone feeling depressed or anxious) – call 1300 22 4636 or chat online.
  • Black Dog Institute (people affected by mood disorders) – online help.
  • Lifeline (anyone having a personal crisis) – call 13 11 14 or chat online.
  • Suicide Call Back Service (anyone thinking about suicide) – call 1300 659 467.

Last reviewed: December 2016

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