Treatment for paranoia depends on the underlying cause. It may include psychological therapy or medicine. Stopping the use of alcohol or recreational drugs can be the first step and may solve the problem altogether.
People with paranoid thoughts can find it hard to trust a doctor or mental health professional, and may have difficulty accepting treatment. Developing a positive relationship with a health provider may take time, but can lead to recovery.
If someone you know has paranoia, it’s important not to tell them they are imagining things or that they are crazy. Their paranoid thoughts are very real to them. Understanding and support are the best way of encouraging them to seek help from a professional.
Psychotherapy (including cognitive behaviour therapy) can be helpful for mild cases of paranoia or paranoid personality disorder. This can help a person to develop insight into the condition, cope with symptoms of paranoia and develop a more realistic view of the motives of others.
For conditions such as psychosis, schizophrenia or delusional disorders, the main treatment is medicine. These conditions are now more treatable than ever before, and many new antipsychotic medicines are available. These conditions usually require treatment by a psychiatrist. Psychotherapy, rehabilitation or support groups may also be effective in conjunction with medicine.
Risk of suicide
If you think a person is in immediate danger from suicide, call triple zero (000) immediately or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.
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Last reviewed: December 2018