Is paranoia normal?


Registered User
Dec 3, 2007
Hi ..just joined as my mum is just diagnosed and I,m finding it really hard to deal with her paronia..She is convinced Dad is having an affair with a neighbour, giving her apples over the wall and the last thing is that he is taking his washing to her!
She evenn had har sleeping in the house, muy dad sneaking out to stay with her during the night! she is totally obsessed by this and is the only thing she talks to me about.
I try to listen and keep my cool but somewhere in the conversation I lose it and ask her to make sense of it..she can't! I am starting to hate being alone with her as this is all she talks about and I get very upset about it. My dad is 74 and was very hurt by the allegations but she seems not to discuss them anymore with I let her talk about this or do I try to bring her back to earth?
please help as I really feel I,m not dealing with it the right way! jean

hi rainbow

my mums paranoia, changes from one week to the next, it ranges from people trying to harm her, stealing things from her, my dad having an affair, ETC

she is now on medication and it is a lot better than it was, i think you'l find that paronoia is quite common with dementia in one form or another, we also havent told my mum she has dementia becouse she suffers short term memory loss and she would only forget if we did tell her! although i do think she has some idea she's ill and not as she once was

im afraid the only advice i can offer is to get dad checked out by his GP perhaps he needs some kind of medication to help. is your dad on any medication at all?
and perhaps if youve got a CPN perhaps you could get some advice from them
good luck :)


Registered User
Apr 15, 2007
Hello Jean, and welcome to TP.

I can understand how distressing this is for you and your dad and am sorry that you have to go through this. My own experience with my mum and paranoia is it was pointless to try and convince her otherwise.

What sometimes worked for me was distracting her with some other story or I would Ooh and aah and say, we better not talk about that because.... eg, dad will hear us. I found with mum that she would eventually move on and get fixated on another story, this pattern just repeated itself until it became to difficult for her to put stories together.

If your mum was really troubled by the paranoia and it was causing concern other than it being ludicrous, your dad could always speak with their GP. I know that it is very difficult to deal with dementia and here on TP you'll find a lot knowledge from others as well as support because we have or are walking the same path. Good Luck Regards Taffy. :) :)


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Jean123 - I've copied your post to the main support forum as I think you'll get more responses here
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Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Dear Jean - welcome to Talking Point.

I have no personal experience of this but I'm afraid it's not uncommon. I suppose you could consider it fortunate that your mother is no longer obsessively raising this with your father as I assume he is her full time carer, but that doesn't help you much, I know. I don't think you WILL be able to persuade her that this is a delusion, at least not over the long term, so probably trying to bring her back to earth is doomed to failure. Normally, the suggested course for "regular" people with paranoid delusions is to not buy into their fantasies, but that's not really an option when you're talking about someone with dementia. Which is not to say that you have to discuss it with her, just that you'll probably never get her to accept that she is wrong. I think Taffy's suggestion of avoidance and/or distraction is your best bet. Look at it from her point of view - no doubt your father has withdrawn to a certain extent (full time caring can do that) and she knows she's not happy (well who would be) and things aren't "as they were". She is trying desperately to make sense of all that, and for her, the logical reason is that your father is having an affair. Although some people may have insight into their disease, for many that is one of the first things to go, so they look outside themselves for causes for the change in circumstances. The psyche protecting itself I suppose.


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
she is totally obsessed by this and is the only thing she talks to me about.

My mother use to do that with me

I use to also
I try to listen and keep my cool but somewhere in the conversation I lose it and ask her to make sense of it

then just when I thought she got it , even if I had change the subject she start all over again , she just slip it in .

My mother was put medication for AZ so that did seem to help stop the paranoia ,so never got her other medication but she still remember that story and would ask what I think and I just lean that paranoia is one of the symptoms of AZ and stop trying to make her see logic and the only way I found that help her stop going on about it was to agree , say oh yeah OK really , you could be right .
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Registered User
Aug 20, 2006
Yes, it is "normal". My dad has had much, much worse than this - for years now he has been totally convinced that our (perfectly nice and normal) neighbours have been waging a hate campaign against him, damaging our property (with all sorts of wild claims about them scraping pain off the walls, blocking up drainpipes with bird droppings they have collected, moving our guttering to cause floods, drilling holes in the walls to steal heat, sneaking out at night to climn onto our roof to plant weeds to damage the tiles...etc!!).

It rears it's head every now and then - there's always an undertone of it there.

There is no point in trying to convince - paranoids KNOW they are right and they will reject anything contrary to their beliefs, at the same time they will take any little thing as "evidence" and "proof" that their claims are real.

If it gets too bad, get medical help. There are medications that can help although they have had a lot of bad press (the anti-psychotics). All I can say is that they have made dad's paranoia and agression manageable. Without them I think he would have been sectioned...

Delusions about affairs are so common that they are part of the standard set of questions given to carers/spouses.

As has been said all you can really do is try to listen and be non-commital. I would suggest avoiding agreeing if you can because that can re-inforce the beliefs.

Dave W

Registered User
Jul 3, 2005
Yes, I'm afraid so

Hi - just to confirm the previous post(s). This is very much par for the course - my Mum called the police on the neighbiours several times when she was still living at home. (Who she'd then refuse to let in as the moment had passed, so they'd phone me ...)

As with Nebiroth, anti-psychotics did help with this a great deal. I'm not qualified to explain, but I got the feeling that it was a cross between a delusion (as a straightforward dementia symptom) and a need to blame something for the vague awareness that she increasingly couldn't understand the world anymore and that it couldn't be her fault. So everyone was telling tales about her, out to get her, stealing things and so on. It's much, much less the case now, but who knows whether that's because that phase of the illness has passed or the anti-psychotics are doing their job I couldn't begin to guess.

As others have said, there is no point arguing. It's real to the person experiencing it, and it's highly unlikely you'll be able to dissuade them. Calming them down and trying to change the subject works better than anything else, as hard as that can be (but it's much easier than arguing: been there, tried that.)

Mum was tried on three or four anti-psychotics before we arrived at one that didn't cause nasty side-effects, so if you do decide to go down that route be prepared for some trial and error and make sure you're told about any possible side effects in advance so you know what to look out for. (They can be serious and tend to be physical effects; we had this experience badly with one drug, and I had to despatch the CPN to grab the tablets and destory them.) All I can say is that, in our case, they seem to have helped a great deal.

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