From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Paranoia is a psychotic disorder characterized by delusions of persecution and extreme, irrational distrust of others. It can also refer to an excessive anxiety or fear concerning one's own well-being which is considered irrational and excessive, perhaps to the point of being a psychosis. This typically includes persecutory beliefs concerning a likely threat. In the original Greek, παράνοια (paranoia) means simply madness (para = outside; nous = mind) and it is this use which was traditionally used in psychiatry to describe any delusional state. However, the exact use of the term has changed over time in medicine, and because of this, modern psychiatric usage may vary. Paranoia is distinct from phobias where there is an irrational and persistent fear (generally without blame) of certain situations, objects, animals, activities, or social settings. By contrast, the paranoid person blames and/or fears intelligent beings for their supposedly intentional actions.
Paranoia in fiction
The elements of paranoid fiction can be seen in works dating as far back as the first half of the 20th century. Franz Kafka, in particular, was known for his exaggerated accounts of what he portrayed as real life in his works, to enhance the absurdity of the life themes they conveyed. Similarly, George Orwell's works, while not as exaggerated, confirmed the practice of using dystopian fiction to take a different outlook on highly common themes, including identity and personal desires.
- Borderline personality disorder
- Conspiracy theory
- Delusions of reference
- Ideas of reference
- Narcissistic personality disorder
- Paranoid personality disorder
- Religious paranoia