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What do we mean by Paranoid and Suspicious Thoughts?

Most of us have at some time had worries about what other people might do to us or think of us. Who hasn’t thought of the possible consequences of walking along a deserted street late at night, for instance? Or wondered if their house is being burgled while they’re away on holiday? Who hasn’t at some time suspected the motives of a neighbour or a colleague, or worried about the contents of an abandoned carrier bag?

In a recent survey, 70 per cent of people questioned said that at some time they had felt that people were deliberately trying to harm them or upset them in some way.

We are taught from an early age to be careful because the world can be a dangerous place and there are some strange people about: “Never talk to strangers!” And be wary of strangers and their intentions, people who by definition you don’t know, can be the safest and sensible strategy.

However, when these fears and this wariness are unfounded, when there is no convincing evidence to justify them, they do not help us stay safe. Instead, they can lead to a great deal of distress.