People With A 'Persecution Complex' Share 10 Sad Traits

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Everyone has the option of giving people the benefit of the doubt or thinking the worst of them outright. Some choose to have a positive and trusting mindset while others are skeptical of others' actions.

That underlying feeling that someone doesn’t have your best interests at heart can be correct, but there are some people out there who believe everyone is out to get them despite having no evidence of it.

Persecutory delusions are a fear that a person or group of people is out to do you harm. A persecution complex is a feeling of paranoia that is out of your control and a symptom of a mental health issue.

What is a persecution complex?

A persecution complex is a trait included in a delusional disorder. It is marked by irrational thoughts that you are being mistreated, harmed, or conspired against.

These paranoid thoughts usually accompany mental disorders like schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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Those with a persecutory personality disorder are convinced that ill intentions are being directed at them and no amount of logic or debunking their bizarre thoughts will change their mind.

People with a persecution complex can have delusions that are so severe, it can disrupt their own lives or those of family members and friends.

What causes a person to have a persecution complex?

Psychologists or psychiatrists have often found that persecutory delusions occur in several mental illnesses.

With schizophrenia, people have a distorted sense of reality, especially when it comes to relationships and people.

Bipolar disorder causes one to go through huge emotional swings. Paranoid delusions can happen during episodes of mania or depression.

Other conditions known to cause delusions are psychosis, PTSD, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, epilepsy, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), drug intoxication, and general delusional disorder.

10 Signs Of A Persecution Complex

1. You're obsessed with negativity.

People with a persecution complex are totally consumed by their negative thoughts about a certain person or group of people. It will seem that they can’t function due to their compulsion.

2. You hallucinate.

There are times that people with a persecution complex hallucinate, creating scenarios in their minds where there are enemies out to get them.

3. You can’t keep your thoughts straight.

Those with a persecution complex have trouble formulating coherent thoughts, especially when trying to make sense of their worries.

4. You have no social life.

When people have persecutory delusions, they tend to stay away from others. This is partially due to their strange behavior, which is easier to fall deeper into alone and without judgment. But they also have a distrust for people and feel safer alone.

5. You have mood swings.

Persecution complexes can cause you to go back and forth between extreme highs and lows. One moment you’re in good spirits, then thoughts of doom plague you, causing you to go into a dark place.

6. You’re not taking care of yourself.

If you are having delusional thoughts about persecution, you are likely neglecting any personal upkeep that is normally part of your routine. Your personal hygiene and self-care can suffer as you spiral deeper into paranoia.

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7. You're disinterested.

When paranoid delusions of persecution by others cloud your mind, it is hard to be interested in the things that used to light up your world. You are preoccupied with all that could go wrong, leaving you unable to enjoy life.

8. You feel hopeless.

The constant feeling that someone is out to get you is exhausting. It can leave you feeling alone, sad and hopeless. You might feel worthless and, in the worst cases, start to have suicidal thoughts.

9. You're having trouble sleeping.

It is hard to sleep while you are on the lookout for people who might seek to hurt you. These delusions will keep you up at night and that insomnia will lead to even more mental struggles during your waking hours.

10. You act on impulse.

The feeling that you are in danger can cause you to make rash decisions that can have big ramifications. When you are in the midst of persecutory delusions, you can become manic, causing your thoughts to race and bad choices to follow.

How to Treat a Persecution Complex

The first step in dealing with a persecution complex is to make sure you do indeed have one. Visit your health care provider for an educated diagnosis.

One your symptoms are relayed, you may be tested for drugs, have an MRI or CT scan to eliminate or understand physical causes, and be subjected to a psychiatric exam.

Once it is confirmed that you are afflicted with persecutory delusions, depending on the underlying cause, you may be treated with antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, or antidepressants.

In addition, psychotherapy will help to work through your thought processes and differentiate delusions from reality. These sessions can also reduce stress and anxiety and improve your social skills.

In extreme cases, you might need to be hospitalized in order to ensure your safety. If you are behaving in a dangerous manner, completely detached from reality, or at risk of harming yourself, health professionals will work to stabilize your condition.

If you or someone you know is dealing with persecutory delusions or any of the signs, symptoms or underlying conditions, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline can help. Dial or call 988 from your phone to speak with someone.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.