Is your paranoia showing?

By David Joel Miller.

Increasing paranoia – the mental health challenge of this millennium?

Fearfulness

Paranoia.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The growing problem of paranoia is gone unrecognized for very long time. Currently, anxiety disorders are the number one diagnosed mental illness. The category of anxiety disorders has grown so large that recently professionals separated this family of disorders into two groups, the disorders of excessive anxiety, called anxiety disorders, and the disorders caused by real-life events, now referred to as trauma and stressor-related disorders. What has often overlooked is the prevalence of Paranoia.

The problem of paranoia frequently gets ignored.

Many people describe themselves as paranoid, or “a little bit paranoid.” Professionals often dismiss these labels as exaggerations. Over the last 25 years, as there has been more study of paranoia, professionals are starting to recognize how common paranoid symptoms are in the general population. Recent studies conclude that among the general population, people who have never been diagnosed with a serious mental illness, the rates of paranoia may run between 15 and 20 percent.

There’s no specific diagnosis for paranoia.

When we say paranoia, most people immediately think “paranoid schizophrenic.” We have come to understand that not everyone who has schizophrenia is paranoid. Paranoia can also be part of several other serious mental illnesses. Paranoia is also a part of paranoid personality disorder, delusional disorder, and may even be a feature of severe major depressive disorder. Many drugs of abuse can cause paranoia. Paranoia in its less extreme forms may go under the label “excessive suspicion” or “trust issues.” In it’s more dangerous form; paranoia can be a feature of delusional jealousy.

Humans are often poor judges of danger.

In the 1950’s almost every small child look forward to getting their first bicycle. Kids commonly walk to and from schools which were often a considerable distance away. Today many people do not let their children play outside. One explanation for this is they are afraid something bad will happen to their child.

The statistics tell us that the most dangerous place for most children is at home. Every year in America more children are shot and killed at home by a biological parent who then turns the gun on themselves than all the children killed in school shootings. Absolutely school shootings are a problem that needs to be tackled, but we are fooling ourselves by thinking that it strangers who are the major danger.

America and many other industrial countries are facing an epidemic of childhood obesity. The risk of poor health and shortened lifespan from lack of exercise far outweigh the risk to most children from going outside to play.

Many people worry every time they take to the road that they will encounter someone with road rage will run them off the road or shoot them. These are certainly risks, but the far greater risk comes from people being injured or killed in automobile accidents while not wearing your seatbelt.

Why have we all become more fearful?

High levels of danger are often associated with the big city and crowded urban environments. A hundred years ago less than 5 percent of the world’s population lived in large cities; most people lived in small towns and rural settings. Since the year 2000 more than 50 percent of the world’s population lives in large cities. Today television and the online news are available 24/7 to tell you about every awful event.

Belief in conspiracy theories has become more common than not.

Humans use to accept widespread death from illness as normal increasingly people believe these epidemics must be the result of some government or international conspiracy. Throughout history, there have been plagues which devastated humanity. During the Middle Ages, there were places where as much as 70 percent of the population died. These same epidemics would recur periodically. In the 1800’s epidemics of yellow fever and cholera resulted in death rates of 30 to 50 percent of the population of some towns. In the U.S. Civil War, for every man killed in battle mortality in camp due to illness could run from 5 to 10 men. During World War I, deaths from Spanish influenza ran into the millions. These recurring illnesses used to be blamed on devils and demons, religious minorities and more recently bacteria and viruses. Today, when a new illness is discovered many people’s first thought, is that someone has deliberately created this illness or that there is a cure for it, but someone is withholding that cure.

People who believe in conspiracy theories often believe in mutually contradictory ones. The same person who believes that Jimmy Hoffa was killed by the CIA might also believe that he faked his own death and is currently living in Bolivia. The average person’s willingness to believe a conspiracy theory seems to be growing exponentially.

Some increased trust issues, even paranoia, may be reality based.

Modern society has created dangers that didn’t exist past. With larger numbers of people working for the same employer competition on the job becomes fiercer. Many of the people you work with you may never see outside of work. This has led to more competition on the job and less cooperation. When we were an agricultural society, farmers tended to help each other. Today it’s likely that the person in the next cubicle may be undermining you in the competition for promotion or to avoid the downsizing layoff.

Your increased dependence on technology put you at risk.

Technology is becoming more complicated and more pervasive, growing at an exponential rate. Your personal information is no longer safe because you keep it locked up. Every company you do business with, every detail of your financial and healthcare life may be at risk. Online companies know more about the person you sleep with.

How are trust issues, suspiciousness, anxiety, and paranoia connected?

In upcoming posts, I want to talk to you more about why “trust issues, suspiciousness, anxiety and even paranoia have become so prevalent, how they may be connected and how you can cope with your fears and not let the forces of anxiety and paranoia take over your life. But I don’t want to overwhelm you with the problems without talking about the solutions.

The future is not all bleak.

At the same time psychologists and counselors have been looking at some under recognize problems, things like paranoia, burnout, and the role of the Internet in changing human relationships some positive things have also been recognized. Positive psychology has revealed an entire technology centered around having a happy life. We now know happiness is not the result of constant doses of temporary pleasure but comes from long-term ways of thinking and behaving. We are also recognizing that people have certain inherent strengths. Whether you know it or not, you and your children have some talents and abilities just waiting to be discovered and perfected.

For more on these topics see:

Paranoia

Anxiety

Happiness

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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Causes of jealousy.

By David Joel Miller.

Jealousy results in many referrals for counseling.

Jealousy

Jealousy.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Jealousy, like it’s relatives anger and loneliness are not specific mental health diagnoses. We often think of these as feelings, but all three also include thoughts and behaviors in addition to the feelings. Sometimes jealousy is the reason people come to see a counselor, other times the stated problem is something else such as “poor communication.” Under that other issue, the counselor is likely to find unaddressed jealousy. Jealousy, like anger, may also be a symptom of an underlying serious mental illness. Here are some of the diagnoses, and relationship issues that may be causing jealousy.

Substance Use Disorders cause jealousy.

Using and abusing drugs or alcohol alters people’s feelings and thoughts. Under the influence, people are disinhibited and more likely to act on their feelings of jealousy. The drinking and drug use lifestyle also puts people at risk. When under the influence and disinhibited, people are more likely to act on their sexual, cheating, desires. Having substances in the bloodstream affects memory and cognition resulting in people believing things that never happened. The substance using lifestyle also results in trauma or having to do things to get your drugs that you would not do clean and sober.

Psychosis and Delusions Disorders increase jealous thoughts and behaviors.

People hear and see things that are not there are at risk to misinterpret those hallucinations. The one specific mental illness which includes jealousy as a specific symptom is Delusional Disorder, jealous type. People who have schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, some people with bipolar disorder, and severe major depressive disorder with psychotic symptoms all may experience delusions. Delusional beliefs that others are treating them badly or that their partner is cheating on them can be common with severe mental illnesses.

Jealousy is common in Neurocognitive Disorders.

People with neurocognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or other forms of dementia are likely to feel their relationships are threatened and begin to believe that their partner may be cheating on. These kinds of solutions are especially hard on caregivers who may be with the demented person almost every hour of every day but still are faced with jealous accusations of infidelity.

Reactive Jealousy is the result of real events.

Reactive Jealousy is probably the easiest variety to understand. If your partner has had an affair or several affairs, it is understandable that you might become jealous. Couples often disagree on what behaviors constitute cheating. Men are more likely to become jealous if they believe their partner has been physically intimate with another man. Women are more likely to become jealous if their partner develops a close emotional connection with another person.

The risks of an affair affect the two genders differently. Men have historically been concerned that they might have to support the offspring fathered by another man. Women are more likely to fear that if their man becomes involved with another woman, he will spend money, economic resources, on that other woman thereby depriving her and her children of needed support.

Pathological Jealousy is the most dangerous.

Pathological Jealousy is believed to arise when one partner believes they are less desirable than their mate. If a man believes that his female partner has lots of men interested in her while he thinks if he loses her he will have difficulty finding another mate, he is likely to become jealous and try to control her access to other men.

Pathological Jealousy is the type most likely to result in violent, controlling behavior. People who are pathologically jealousy may become stalkers or engage in violent attacks on their partner or perceived rivals.

Stay tuned in for more posts about jealousy; it’s causes and its treatment, which is coming up soon. More information about Jealousy and its treatment is or will be at Jealousy.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

That thing called jealousy.

By David Joel Miller.

Is jealousy a good thing or bad thing?

Jealousy

Jealousy.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Jealousy is a complicated subject. When the word jealousy is used, most people think immediately about their romantic partner relationship. It appears that certain expressions of jealousy can strengthen some relationships while other expressions can destroy your relationships. Clients who come to counseling because of jealousy, usually have been harmed by a jealous partner or they’ve been required to get counseling because their jealousy has led to violent, aggressive actions.

Sometimes people go out of their way to make their partner jealous. It is an ego boost to know your partner will become jealous when that cute guy or gal pays you some attention. Other times excessive jealousy can destroy a relationship when it moves from expressions of affection to controlling behaviors or even violence.

How your partner handles jealousy is largely about them, not about the facts of the situation. Let’s look at the nature of jealousy, how jealousy operates and how it might have both good and bad expressions.

Jealousy is more than a feeling.

Researchers find that this thing we call jealousy includes thoughts, emotions, and actions. In its simplest form jealousy thought that you have lost or are at risk to lose something, usually another relationship to a rival.

This thought that someone might be taking away your relationship can trigger feelings of fear, grief and loss, or anger. People who experience a threat to their relationship may become anxious, depressed or may be driven to attack the perceived rival. These feelings become the basis for actions.

The difference between envy and jealousy.

Envy is when one person wants what another person has. If your neighbor has a luxury car, you want one as good or better. If your neighbor has an attractive partner envy would mean you wanted an attractive partner also. Someone who is envious of you wants something as good as or better than what you have. They do not necessarily want to take what is yours.

Jealousy involves three or more people.

Jealousy stems from threats that some will take away your relationship with another person. There’s a belief that jealousy fills an evolutionary function in humans, probably in other animals also. Expression of jealousy, the behaviors, function to prevent mate poaching. Jealousy, that possibility of losing a relationship, affects males and females differently.

Stay tuned in for more posts about jealousy; it’s causes and its treatment, which is coming up soon. More information about Jealousy and its treatment is or will be at Jealousy

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.