Causes of Paranoia

There are lots of more specific things that may play a role in causing paranoid thoughts. Sometimes this could be because they make you more likely to experience the risk factors above. These are some examples of things that may contribute to paranoid thoughts:

  • Life experiences. You are more likely to experience paranoid thoughts when you are in vulnerable, isolated or stressful situations that could lead to you feeling negative about yourself. If you are bullied at work, or your home is burgled, this could give you suspicious thoughts which could develop into paranoia.
  • Experiences in your childhood may lead you to believe that the world is unsafe or make you mistrustful and suspicious of others. These experiences may also affect your self-esteem and the way you think as an adult. For example, this could include being abused by someone in your family, or being bullied at school. See National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) if you need support for dealing with childhood abuse.
  • External environment. Some research has suggested that paranoid thoughts are more common if you live in an urban environment or community where you feel isolated from the people around you rather than connected to them. Media reports of crime, terrorism and violence may also play a role in triggering paranoid feelings.

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