A person suffering from paranoia has an unrealistic sense of her own importance and feels others are "out to get her." She may have great difficulty trusting others and has limited social relationships. Symptoms of paranoia can be present in such mental illnesses as depression, bipolar disorder, paranoid personality disorder and schizophrenia. To be diagnosed as a mental illness, paranoia must be severely impacting the person's ability to lead a happy, quality life. Long-term psychotherapy and medications are the treatments of choice.
Someone who suffers from conjugal paranoia has feelings of intense jealousy. She may follow her boyfriend, accuse him of cheating without a logical reason and may imagine even the most benign of his female friends as her rivals. Paradoxically, excessively accusing someone of cheating may cause him to pull away from the relationship emotionally, making him more likely to cheat. Therefore people suffering from conjugal paranoia tend to create the reality they fear most.
Someone who suffers from erotomania will believe others are in love with her whom she has only limited relationships with or may never even have met. Erotomania is commonly displayed by people who suffer from bipolar disorder when experiencing a manic episode. They may say that they are married to a movie star, for example.
A person with hypochondriacal paranoia believes he is suffering from myriad illnesses and that his doctor is conspiring against him by refusing to treat his conditions.
Paranoid Personality Disorder
A person suffering from paranoid personality disorder believes others are lying to him, is suspicious of other's motives, thinks others are using personal information against him, and shows extreme defensiveness and the need to be right all the time. This type of personality disorder usually forms over many years and will need long-term corrective psychotherapy.
Paranoid schizophrenia is a serious and chronic mental illness, symptoms of which may not be totally absent even when an effective medication regime is being maintained. A person suffering from paranoid schizophrenia may hear voices telling her that people are trying to hurt her or may have delusional beliefs that co-workers want to murder her. Anger, resentment, violence or emotional detachment may all co-occur.