Progressive suspiciousness causes problems in relationships and isolates the individual. In extreme cases of suspiciousness that are accompanied by obsession, paranoia and depression, suspicions in the form of jealousy are often prominent.

Suspiciousness suffocates a person and destroys his or her social life. It acts on relationships like dynamite. It is often seen in people with low self-esteem, but also in people who have extreme self-admiration and are not open to criticism. A suspicious person who is in the position of a boss, will put his workers through hell as he will constantly be thinking that he may be harmed in some way.

What is Suspiciousness, can you describe it?

Suspiciousness is a condition where the individual believes that behind the visible there are always other hidden motives.

Can we sub-classify Suspiciousness as mild and severe?

Yes. Suspiciousness is inherent in all human beings. Otherwise we would not update scientific facts and these would then stop being scientific. Suspiciousness at that level and for a purpose is necessary and useful. However, to look for an ulterior motive behind everything is damaging to the person. Severe suspiciousness is called paranoia. The word was first used by Kahlbaum, but it was the famous German psychiatrist Kraepelin who described it as a disorder (1912).

Are there different types of Suspiciousness?

Psychiatry generally defines four types of suspiciousness. In jealousy, the person harbours a strong believe that he or she is being deceived. In grandiosity, the person believes that he has major achievements, for example inventions, and he harbours the suspicion that other people are trying to hinder him. In somatic suspicions the person may believe that there are parasites in his body. There is also the erotomanic type where the person is under the delusion that some famous people are in love with him or her.

Can conditions like the following be regarded within the same category: the suspicion that one is being followed, will be harmed, is being deceived or cheated on, will pick up an infection, has other illnesses, has secrete admirers?

As I mentioned above, these are subgroups but are dealt with under the same category of paranoid disorder.

For Suspiciousness to be regarded as a pathological condition, does it have to be removed from time and reason?

Yes. It also has to be affecting the person’s functionality.

Does a lack of self-confidence play a role in extreme suspiciousness?

They are closely related. A research established a link between lack of self-confidence and paranoid disorder. The same research revealed that paranoid conditions without any self-confidence problems can originate from certain organic illnesses in the brain.

Can this illness progress towards schizophrenia?

A progression from paranoid disorder to schizophrenia is not common.

Which behaviour patterns of people who are caught in the claws of suspiciousness, could have a destructive effect on family life?

The feeling that the spouse is being unfaithful and the need to constantly check up on the spouse, inflicts great damage on the mutual trust which is an essential value in a family relationship.

Can people with high levels of suspiciousness be good bosses or managers?

If their distrust is not related to work, they can.

What happens when an excessively suspicious person takes part in ruling a nation?

An excessively suspicious leader does not leave any manoeuvring space for the people around him. He allocates a lot of responsibility but does not grant the authority that would be required. Furthermore, if a leader who does not encourage the people around him and also makes all sorts of accusations, work performance and work satisfaction will inevitably drop.

What is the reason for suspiciousness to be more marked in widows and women?

There really are findings that point towards this. As far as I know, in such cases the weakness of the social support system is blamed.

Can you confirm that suspiciousness is more common in people from lower educational and lower socio-economic levels.

This is correct. Again it is thought that this stems from the inadequacy of the social support network and from a lack of economic security.

Does it also occur in self-important people who are called grandiose and who lack empathy?

Grandiose people who lack empathy believe that they live in a hostile world and that others are jealous of their abilities. This can result in paranoid thoughts and sometimes in a pathology on the levels of a paranoid disorder.

Professor, what are the behaviour patterns of people suffering from somatic suspicions, what do they do, how do their lives unfold?

They constantly harbour suspicions related to a physical illness in their body. It is a sad condition, and if doctors do not take this into account, the patient may be subjected to medical interventions which may cause serious health problems.

Why are suspicions of being harmed, being followed, being the subject of hostility, on the increase in modern life?

The first reason that springs to mind is the fact that human relationships have become inadequate and virtual relationships have started to be on the forefront. Furthermore, the social and economic system is not based on mutual trust but on mutual distrust. On the other hand, I also believe that the imbalance in the economic conditions of people encourages jealousy rather than love.

Do people with major suspiciousness suffer from faulty perceptions?

Of course. They may regard the simplest criticism by others as a personal insult. However, if we are talking of a physiological misperceptions, in paranoid disorder we do not see illusions or hallucinations.

What is different in their brains in comparison to other people?

Paranoid disorder is a rare condition, in the order of 2-3 in a thousand, therefore the research carried out on a small population is relatively limited. Research conducted up to date has shown no specific pathology of the central nervous system.

Amongst psychological illnesses, how do we classify extreme and unreasonable suspiciousness, under which group?

They are classified under the group of paranoid disorder.

How does suspiciousness affect the life of the sufferer?

The sufferer is constantly trying to confirm his suspicions. He may repeatedly turn to administrative or legal means. This leads to him being stigmatized, and this is the most important problem.

Can benefit be gained from trying to persuade a sufferer, or are such efforts in vain?

They are in vain.

Can persons with paranoid disorder be dangerous?

They are no more dangerous than ordinary people.

Do those people who constantly file petitions and waste legal authority’s time, come from amongst such people?

Usually yes.

Are there accompanying psychological problems?

Because obsession, paranoia and depression are related phenomena, we often find paranoid disorder in such patients.

Is it chronic?

Unfortunately yes.

Does early diagnosis help treatment?

Unfortunately no.

Do such persons try to evade or refuse treatment?

Because they have no insight into their illness, they do not accept the presence of their illness and therefore are not inclined to treatment.

What does treatment consist of?

With the help of antipsychotics and psychotherapy the paranoid thoughts can be alleviated to some extent . In other words, the paranoia is not cured but it is no longer expressed.

Are such patients suitable for psychotherapy?

Psychotherapeutic support is beneficial to help the patient to gain an insight into the illness. The main message that should be given to the patient is: “I find it difficult to share your thoughts, but my respect for you is not reduced because of those thoughts”.

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