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Paranoia in Teens

by Jeremi Davidson, studioD

As children move into their teenage years, a completely new set of emotional, physical and hormonal changes occur. These changes can overwhelm a teen. At the same time, it is important that parents are aware of certain red flags, including paranoia, that could signal a serious mental health problem, according to HealthyChildren.org. Expect certain changes in your teen, but if paranoia persists, contact a mental health professional.

Adolescent Development

During normal adolescence, teens might feel as though the world revolves around them. This can lead to paranoia because she might feel as though everyone is watching her every move. Although this behavior might appear narcissistic, according to the Medline Plus website, it simply means that the teen has not yet learned that things outside of herself exist and that not everything is centered on her actions.


Minor paranoia and moodiness is normal, but teens who suffer from these issues for a lengthy period could be depressed. The excessive secrecy can accompany the paranoia, because a teen might feel as though he cannot trust anyone with his thoughts or feelings. This can lead to excessive isolation in which the teen withdraws from friends, social groups and school activities. According to HealthyChildren.org, your teen might also experience feelings of hopelessness, different sleep patterns and a noticeable change in weight if he is depressed.\

Teen Paranoid Personality Disorder

Teens with paranoid personality disorder tend to remove themselves from social settings because they do not trust anyone. These individuals are suspicious of everyone, even when there is no reason for this reaction, according to PsychCentral. These teens also believe that nearly everyone is against them, do not give personal information to anyone, hold grudges, have few, if any, relationships and often act out with hostility toward other people. Both genetic and environmental factors are believed to lead to paranoid personality disorder. Parents who believe their child is suffering from this disorder should contact a therapist for assistance.

Drug Use

Often times, paranoia is a symptom of teenage drug use. Drugs such as amphetamines, Ecstasy and marijuana can cause paranoid feelings in users, according to TeensHealth. Talk with your child about drug use and the dangers that accompany it. Drugs are especially dangerous for young people because their brains have yet to develop fully. Paranoia can also lead to drug and alcohol use because the teen might look for a way to escape this feeling.

About the Author

Jeremi Davidson began freelance writing in 2005. Davidson enjoys writing about sports and personal fitness, contributing to a number of different health and lifestyle websites. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Thompson Rivers University.

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