Paranoia in children: Signs and safe treatment

Paranoia in children is not as pronounced as in adults. Manifestations of the disease are easily confused with psychomotor sensitization in puberty. Similar to other mental disorders, paranoia can become more serious if left untreated.

paranoia in children

Paranoia can also develop in children, but the incidence is usually very low

What is delusion in children?

Paranoia occurs mainly in middle-aged and elderly people and rarely occurs in children. However, some children can still develop the condition. Paranoia is characterized by the presence of one or more delusions and is not accompanied by any other psychiatric symptoms.

In fact, paranoia is a common symptom of mental illness. However, it is rare for delusions to occur alone. Therefore, the rate of people suffering from paranoia is quite low, only about 0.03% of the population.

Delusions involve disturbances in thinking and perceiving the nature of phenomena/events. This disorder causes children to form false beliefs and thoughts that do not match reality. Children always think the paranoia is true but can’t explain it.

People with paranoia are stubborn with their thoughts and beliefs. No matter how people try to convince, explain, and give evidence, it doesn’t make sense to them. Although the patient’s thinking contradicts the reality, the patient is always stubborn with his thoughts.

Children with paranoia will have many difficulties in learning and may not be able to develop in a healthy way. Delusions do not cause psychosocial impairment like other mental disorders, but strongly influence a child’s emotions and behavior. If left untreated, the child’s ability to learn and interact socially will be affected.

Signs of paranoia in children

Delusions have diverse content, of which the most common are persecutory delusions, egotistical delusions, delusions of jealousy, etc. In children, the content of delusions is often more limited than in adults due to awareness. children are not fully developed.

Experts have found that children often experience victimization delusions, egotistical delusions, related delusions, self-incriminating delusions, bizarre paranoia, etc. Usually, young children rarely share paranoid content. with parents. However, paranoia will strongly dominate a child’s emotions and behavior. Therefore, the family can rely on the following signs to promptly take the child to the hospital:

1. Emotional instability

Children’s emotions are strongly influenced by paranoia. Depending on the paranoid content, children will have feelings of sadness, pessimism, suffering or always appear happy and arrogant. The common point of children with paranoia is emotional instability. Children can go from sad or happy to agitated, angry, and irritable.

In addition, children often express emotions that are not appropriate to the situation. For example, children and friends are chatting and joking, but the child always seems annoyed and irritable while the surrounding friends have happy feelings.

2. Anxiety, persistent stress

In addition to emotional instability, children with paranoia also exhibit persistent stress and anxiety. This sign is often seen in children with persecutory delusions, related delusions, etc.

signs of paranoia in children

Always worry, insecurity is one of the signs of paranoia in children

These delusions make children constantly worry about being ridiculed, belittled, and assassinated. If left untreated, children can become wary of people and refuse to go to school for fear of being murdered.

3. Closed living, less communication

Being withdrawn is a common sign in children with delusional disorder. Whether the paranoid content is persecuted, related, dominated, or egotistical, children themselves find it difficult to fit in with their peers. Over time, children choose to isolate socially, communicate less and live a closed life. These expressions are easily confused with a lack of confidence and shyness, so most parents pay little attention.

4. Be suspicious of everything

Children with paranoia are always suspicious of everything. Children may suspect that their friends are being mean in their words or intending to harm them. This delusion dominates, causing the child to be constantly afraid, anxious, and suspicious of everything.

Children’s suspicions can grow over time leading to children refusing to make friends and even not wanting to go to school. However, children rarely express doubts to their parents. Children will often keep quiet when parents ask questions or find some other reason to make excuses.

When studying the psychology of children with paranoia, experts found that children hide their doubts for fear of being heard by others and fearing that their parents will be in danger after knowing.

5. Having an eating disorder

Eating disorders are common in children with delusions. Children may suspect that someone is intentionally killing themselves through food. In addition, psychological stress, anxiety, sadness and excessive vigilance also cause children to experience unusual appetite or loss of appetite.

signs of paranoia in children

Some children with delusional disorder have eating disorders

Some children show foul eating (Pica syndrome) when they are paranoid. Therefore, when noticing that a child has abnormal behavior, the family must absolutely not be subjective.

6. Opposition behavior

Oppositional behavior is often seen in children during puberty. Besides, this can also be a manifestation of behavioral disorders and paranoia in children. In fact, oppositional behavior is not a typical symptom of paranoia. However, paranoid content can dominate a child’s emotions and behavior.

Children with persecutory delusions and delusions of harm may engage in anti-social behavior for the purpose of self-protection. However, families and schools often confuse this behavior with a psychological crisis of puberty.

7. Other manifestations

In addition to the above symptoms, paranoia in children also has other signs such as:

  • Excretory disorders (urinary incontinence, bedwetting, etc.)
  • Movement disorders (uncontrollable actions and speech)
  • Difficulty learning (difficulty in pronunciation, difficulty in writing, reduced concentration and memory)
  • Delayed physical and cognitive development

In addition, children may also complain of physical symptoms such as headaches, bloating, indigestion, fatigue, etc.

Causes of paranoia in children

The direct cause of paranoia is a cognitive (thought) disorder that leads to the formation of false thoughts and beliefs. However, cognitive disorders often lead to accompanying psychiatric symptoms such as hallucinations, perceptual disturbances, etc. Therefore, the cause of paranoid disease is not really known.

Paranoia in children has been determined to be associated with a number of factors such as:

  • Family history of schizophrenia, psychosis, psychotic depression, etc.
  • Children who have had a psychotic episode
  • Using psychotropic drugs in childhood also increases the risk of paranoia
  • Problems with neurodevelopment
  • Suffering from autoimmune diseases
  • Ever had complications at birth?

Effects of paranoia in children

Paranoia does not impair psychosocial functioning like other psychological or psychiatric problems. However, paranoid content strongly influences children’s emotions and behaviors, making it difficult for children to learn, develop, and make healthy friends.

If left untreated, paranoia can become more severe over time. Children may lock themselves in the house for fear of being assassinated and harmed. In addition, long-term anxiety and stress also make it difficult for children to concentrate when studying.

signs of paranoia in children

Untreated paranoid disease will make children live a closed life, have little communication and have many problems when learning.

Delusions in children also increase the rate of alcohol use, smoking before the age of 18. Besides, paranoia that dominates emotions and behaviors is also a condition for the development of other psychological and mental disorders such as anxiety disorders, depression, behavioral disorders, learning disorders, etc.

According to psychiatrists, the earlier the onset of delusional disorder, the worse the prognosis. Therefore, children with paranoid manifestations need to be examined and treated early to prevent serious complications. Basically, there is no definitive cure for this disease. However, active treatment and proper care help reduce paranoia, thereby improving emotional and behavioral disorders.

How to treat paranoia in children?

Currently, options in the treatment of paranoia are relatively limited. Similar to adults, children with paranoia will be treated with medication and psychotherapeutic interventions.

Children are in the process of physical and mental development, so in parallel with medical methods, families need to take reasonable care measures for children to develop comprehensively. Care measures help significantly in improving physical and mental health and increasing response to treatments.

1. Taking medicine

Using medication can reduce delusions (false beliefs, thoughts). In addition, your doctor may also consider taking other medications to improve behavioral and emotional disorders caused by delusions. Compared with adults, using drugs for children is potentially more risky. Therefore, the doctor will carefully consider before prescribing the drug.

signs of paranoia in children

Using drugs is the main method in the treatment of paranoia in general and paranoia in children in particular

Drugs considered for the treatment of paranoia in children:

  • Antipsychotics: Antipsychotics are the main group of drugs used in the treatment of delusions. This group of drugs works to reduce false thoughts and beliefs. It works by inhibiting dopamine and certain neurotransmitters in the brain, thereby reducing delusions and helping to improve agitation.
  • Sedatives: Sedatives are rarely used in children due to the risk of addiction. However, your doctor will consider medication in some cases. Sedatives help improve insomnia, stress, anxiety, and restlessness commonly seen in children with persecutory delusions and related delusions.
  • Antidepressants: Paranoia can dominate children with feelings of distress, sadness, guilt, and pessimism. In this case, antidepressants are used to elevate mood and prevent suicidal behavior. Although highly effective, antidepressant drugs show a rather slow effect. In the first 4 to 8 weeks, children may have an outbreak of suicidal behavior, so the family needs to closely monitor to avoid unfortunate situations.

Use of medication to quickly relieve the symptoms of paranoia in children. In particular, antipsychotic drugs will be used long-term to prevent relapse. During the time of taking the drug, the family needs to monitor to promptly detect any abnormality. Close cooperation between the family and the doctor will help minimize the side effects of the drug for the child.

2. Psychotherapeutic interventions

Psychotherapy is an adjunct to medication. With paranoia, the goal of this method is to help children change their thoughts (perceptions) that are misleading and inconsistent with reality.

Besides, psychotherapy will also help children learn how to manage and release emotions in a healthy way. In addition, the specialist will also equip the child with the necessary skills to easily integrate after treatment.

3. Take care of your physical and mental health

Paranoia greatly affects the physical and mental development of children. Therefore, families need to have a care plan to help children develop healthy.

Mental and physical health care plan for children with paranoia:

  • Build a balanced diet to improve your baby’s health. In order to plan a suitable meal plan, parents should find out what paranoia should eat and what to abstain from. Eating science helps to improve health and can partly reduce the symptoms of the disease.
  • Encourage children to exercise every day to promote height growth. In addition, this habit also helps reduce agitation and emotional instability in children with paranoia.
  • Make sure children get enough sleep, avoid stress and over-study.
  • Encourage children to have age-appropriate play to avoid closed-door living and social isolation.
    Find hobbies and passions so that children can be motivated to treat and always find joy in life. In addition, developing hobbies also helps children increase their chances of finding a job in the future.
  • Teach children some stress-reduction measures such as deep breathing, yoga, meditation, massage, journaling, planting trees, pet care, etc.
    Raise children’s awareness of smoking, alcohol use and substance abuse habits. Because these habits will aggravate paranoia and increase the risk of physical and mental health problems.

Paranoia in children greatly affects the physical and psychological development. Therefore, families need to pay attention to abnormal signs so that the child can be examined and treated when necessary. The ability to completely cure paranoia is not high, so the family needs to make a care plan so that the child can grow up healthy and be able to be independent in life.

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