5 Causes of Paranoia in Aging & What to Do

Updated on August 26, 2021

Ageing is something that affects all of us, but it does so in different ways. In some people, ageing can be accompanied by powerful feelings of paranoia.

Paranoia in the elderly can be characterized by symptoms like feeling someone is following you, hearing the voices of people in your home at night and delusions. The above symptoms describe a mental affliction that is often described as psychosis.

Psychosis is quite rare in young people, but it gets more prevalent as people get older. It often arises as a result of a malfunction in the brain.

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IMAGE SOURCE: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2017/07/27/17/36/man-2546107__340.jpg 

Causes of Paranoia in Aging People

As stated above, paranoia is quite common among the elderly. There are several causes of paranoia in ageing, including:

Cancer and Brain Tumors

A brain tumor is the growth of abnormal cells in the brain. You could also grow cancerous cells in your brain, which could be regarded as different from a brain tumor. Brain tumors and cancerous growths can lead to paranoia in the elderly, especially in advanced stages. CBD has been shown to be positive in reducing cancer and brain tumor effects. 

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive brain disorder that is irreversible that often occurs in old age. It will destroy your memory and cognitive abilities, eventually leading to the inability to perform the simplest of life tasks.

Cognitive impairment can lead to paranoia because of the effect it has on the brain.


Dementia is another degenerative neurological disorder whose two main symptoms are memory loss and impaired judgement. There are symptoms of dementia that will appear later as the disease progresses. These symptoms include bipolar disorder, paranoia, schizophrenia and depression.

Therapy for dementia patients is one way to address the disease in the elderly and help them deal with their paranoia. It is challenging to treat degenerative neurological conditions; hence there is a very low success rate.


 Another significant cause of paranoia in the elderly is delirium. Delirium is an episodic condition whereby people become quiet and withdrawn. They may also become confused and often irritated as a result of stress.

Delirium episodes can be accompanied by hallucinations and paranoia, which may include seeing invisible objects.

Medicinal Side Effects

There are some medicines with adverse side effects. It may lead to irritation for unseen reasons and auditory hallucinations. Many patients will also undergo significant paranoia as a side effect of such medication.

What to Do

There are several things you can do to help a loved one who is ageing and suffering from paranoia, including:

Be Patient and Understanding

The best thing you can do for an elderly victim of paranoia is offering them support. To that end, you should be patient and understanding. We all experience difficulties as we age, even though they may vary in severity.

Keep Surroundings Calm and Peaceful

A significant reason why ageing people suffer from paranoia is because of the various stimuli in their environment. Sudden noises or movements can exacerbate feelings of paranoia in the elderly.

Therefore, one way to help them is to ensure their environment are calm and peaceful hence reducing the constant bombardment of their senses. It may require moving the elderly out of the city and to the countryside where the environment is more tranquil.

Be Aware

Even though paranoia is often caused by mental anguish, other people can exacerbate it. Therefore, whenever you are around your older loved ones, you should be aware of them as much as possible.

Be aware of any sounds and sights that may trigger their paranoia. Most importantly, be mindful of your body language, movements and your surroundings.

See a Doctor

In some cases, it may be necessary to see a doctor to help deal with ageing-related paranoia. It is especially so if you don’t know the cause. The doctor will establish a cause and recommend a course of treatment.

To conclude, about a quarter of people will experience age-related paranoia as they get older. The above are some of the causes and what you can do about it. It is not much, but it will help deal with the situation. 

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.