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Paranoia on the rise, experts say

Paranoia on the rise, experts say
Paranoia on the rise, experts say 

November 12, 200

LONDON (AP) - If you think they're out to get you, you're not alone.

Paranoia, once assumed to afflict only schizophrenics, may be a lot more 
common than previously thought.

According to British psychologist Daniel Freeman, nearly one in four 
Londoners regularly have paranoid thoughts. Freeman is a paranoia expert 
at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College and the author of a 
book on the subject.

Experts say there is a wide spectrum of paranoia, from the dangerous 
delusions that drive schizophrenics to violence, to the irrational fears 
many people have daily.

"We are now starting to discover that madness is human and that we need 
to look at normal people to understand it," said Dr. Jim van Os, a 
professor of psychiatry at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Van 
Os was not connected to Freeman's studies.

Paranoia is defined as the exaggerated or unfounded fear that others are 
trying to hurt you. That includes thoughts that other people are trying 
to upset or annoy you, for example, by staring, laughing, or making 
unfriendly gestures.


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