When paranoia seeps in...

Do you think everyone's against you or your partner is cheating on you? An increasing number of people are facing this problem.

For many people fears are like passing doubts but what if these baseless thoughts start ruling our day-to-day routine? In a study involving interviews with 1,200 people abroad, researchers found levels of paranoia are much higher than previously suspected. It states that more than 40 per cent of us are convinced that negative comments are being made behind our backs, 20 per cent worry about being observed, or followed, and 5 per cent are afraid that there is a deliberate conspiracy to do us harm. These unexplained fears, according to psychologist Kanan Khatau, are experienced by people who are constantly anxious, "Such people suffer from the anxiety neurosis complex and tend to worry about everything. The younger generation keeps worrying about their health to an extent that they skip meals to stay in that 'perfect shape'. They are very conscious and worried about their looks and skin because of the sudden upsurge in the beauty industry.

Sometimes, it also has to do with how the person has been brought up", she says. Past bad experiences or disappointments are a major reason why people are paranoid in relationships. Be it cheating or a physical loss of a close one it can be detrimental for the person. "People who constantly deal with insecurity in their relationships are in a conflict with their self-image and feel they are not competent enough. They only focus on their external appearance.

They need some sense of security and happiness from their partners and family members. I believe that we cannot control the situations but we can definitely control our reactions," states psychologist Mansi Hassan. Everything these days is done in just a click and when that doesn't happen, people get restless. Says, Yatri Thakkar, stress counsellor, "When youngsters don't get what they want they become anxious and restless. There is so much competition and stress on the younger generation that they break down sometime or the other. And when this restlessness is carried forward to an extreme level it results in anxiety neurosis. With girls becoming more and more fashion conscious and comparing themselves with other women, there are times when they do not end up meeting their own expectations. Not every girl can become a beauty queen or an actress. This often shakes up their confidence. I feel fears should be treated when they are at the nascent stage whether by talking to your elders or someone you think can give a you rational opinion."

How to tackle paranoia n You need to remain as calm as possible, even in times of crisis. n Do deep breathing exercises. n Try and do things, with others' help, which you would generally not try. n Stop thinking that it is always your fault. n Try and think of possible alternate explanations for a situation. It always benefits if you look at both the sides. n Don't think that the world is out to get you. If someone is in a bad mood doesn't mean you have done something or that they do not like you.