Paranoia is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. (e.g. “Everyone is out to get me.“) Making false accusations and the general distrust of others also frequently accompany paranoia. For example, an incident most people would view as an accident or coincidence, a paranoid person might believe was intentional.
Historically, this characterization was used to describe anydelusional state. In modern colloquial use, the term “paranoia” is sometimes misused to describe aphobia.The general lack of blame in phobia disorders sharply differentiates the two. In other words, fearing that something bad or harmful might happen does not in itself imply paranoia. Rather, with paranoia there is an irrational fear of malice by others (excepting rare cases of schizophrenia).