Paranoia and depression do not commonly occur together, but when they do they can be signs of a serious underlying psychiatric condition.
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Signs of Paranoia
Paranoia refers to suspicion of others. While it is not unusual for someone to have the occasional paranoid thought, persistent paranoia can interfere with a person's work and social life. When it gets to this stage, paranoia is considered to be a true psychiatric disorder. The typical signs of paranoid disorder include isolation and detachment, hostility toward others, feelings that other people have hidden motives, and a low image of oneself. People who have paranoid disorder tend to consistently display these patterns of behavior for long periods of time. While the cause of paranoia is not entirely understood, it is often associated with other psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and psychotic depression.
Signs of Depression
Depression is the term for a low mood. Major clinical depression, on the other hand, refers to a series of signs and symptoms that has been consistent for a minimum of a few weeks. Depression may be reactive, caused by a response to stress. It can also be caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. The latter may be hereditary. Regardless of the cause, the symptoms of major depression remain fairly consistent. Some of the most common signs of depression include a persistent low mood, difficulty sleeping (or excessive sleeping), poor appetite or sudden weight gain, trouble concentrating on tasks, low energy, irritability and a lack of drive for everyday activities. People with depression may become withdrawn and isolated and often have difficulty with daily tasks. In some cases of severe depression, psychotic symptoms may appear. These include delusions, hallucinations and/or paranoia.
Paranoia and Depression
Depression and paranoia may occur together. When they do, they are often signs of serious psychotic illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (also called manic depression) or psychotic depression. Left untreated, people with signs of depression and paranoia may be a danger to either themselves or to others, and sometimes to both. When these symptoms occur together, they are often difficult to treat adequately. Doctors routinely prescribe antidepressants and anti-psychotics to be taken together for both sets of symptoms. In severe cases, ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) may be warranted if the medications are not effective.
If You Have Signs of Paranoia and Depression
Talk to someone. Make an appointment with your doctor, and talk about how you are feeling. Many cases of paranoia and depression can be treated with medication, which means you can get back to your daily routine. The National Institutes of Health reports that with treatment, the outcome of major depressive disorder is often good. They also report that counselling can help with paranoid symptoms.