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Paranoia may be more common than thought

Paranoia, once assumed to afflict only schizophrenics, may be a lot more common than previously thought. British psychologist Daniel Freeman, states that nearly one in four Londoners regularly have paranoid thoughts.

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

Surveys in Britain and the United States, have found that rates of paranoia are slowly rising, although researchers' estimates of how many of us have paranoid thoughts varies widely, from 5  to 50 percent.

A survey of more than 8,500 UK adults found that 21 percent of people thought there had been times when others were acting against them. Another survey of about 1,000 adults in New York found that nearly 11 percent thought other people were following looking or spying on them.

Experts warn that paranoia can be stressful, and result in social isolation, hostility, and possibly even crime.

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