Paranoia, phobias, and fears differ from one another, but they can all affect your life. So, how did the terms differ from one another? How might they impact your life, and why does finding help matter?
Meanings And Impact
Wondering how paranoia, phobias, and fears differ? Here’s what each term means and how they might show up.
First, let’s talk about paranoia. Paranoia refers to unrealistic suspicion or distrust in other people. When it comes to paranoia as a symptom of a mental health condition or diagnosis, paranoia can show up in various disorders or scenarios, but it’s often affiliated with schizophrenia and other related disorders as well as some personality disorders. Paranoia has the potential to influence a person’s life severely, especially if it’s paired with other symptoms, such as delusions.
The APA dictionary definition of a phobia is “a persistent and irrational fear of a specific situation, object, or activity (e.g., heights, dogs, water, blood, driving, flying), which is consequently either strenuously avoided or endured with marked distress.” Specific phobia is a recognized anxiety disorder where a phobia such as those mentioned in the definition above impacts your ability to function, engage in daily activities, or causes clinically significant distress.
Fear is something we’ve all experienced. It’s an unpleasant, often intense emotion that arises when a threat is detected. Fear is typically a short-term reaction. If fear and worry are excessive, disproportionate, or ongoing, it could be a sign of an anxiety disorder such as generalized anxiety disorder. If someone experiences pervasive fear and worry related to social settings specifically, it may be indicative of social phobia or social anxiety disorder.
Why Finding Help Matters
Anyone living with something that’s impacting their mental health deserves quality mental health care. Research shows that therapy can help improve symptoms of disorders such as specific phobia, anxiety, and various disorders that may come with paranoia as a symptom. Therapy is a leading treatment for many mental health conditions, and with this care, a person’s symptoms and quality of life can improve tremendously. Despite this, many don’t seek help. For example, 9.1% of people aged 18 or older in the United States alone are said to live with a diagnosis of specific phobia. Still, only 10-25% of people with specific phobia get treatment. If you have a mental health condition or think that you might, know that you don’t have to go through it alone and that it’s okay to talk to someone about what you’re going through. Improving your symptoms and quality of life is possible. Those facing fear and life stress can also benefit from support in the form of a mental health professional. We all need help from time to time, and whether you want to address fear, stress, or something else that’s on your mind, seeing a therapist or counselor can make a world of difference.
Find A Therapist
Sometimes, wanting help isn’t the hard part. Instead, it’s knowing where to look. There are a number of ways to find a therapist or counselor. You can ask your doctor for a referral, search the web for someone who is licensed to practice in your area, contact your insurance company to see who they cover, or sign up for a reputable online therapy platform like BetterHelp. All of the providers on the Betterhelp platform are licensed, and online therapy through BetterHelp is often more affordable than traditional in-person services are in the absence of insurance. Regardless of how you find a provider, you deserve to get the support you need, so don’t hesitate to take the first step today.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.
September 17, 2021