The term "paranoid" is used freely by psychiatrists and others, often as though the complex to which it refers were a unitary and universally understood phenomenon. Unfortunately, it has multiple meanings at multiple levels of abstraction. It is, first of all, a term which refers to several psychiatric illnesses, of varying severity. In this sense it is a descriptive term, used for illnesses characterized by self-referential misinterpretation or delusion formation and by a need to search for externally based explanations of certain intrapersonal experiences. "Paranoid" is used to refer to a personality type characterized by social isolation, hypersensitivity, guardedness, suspiciousness, and the preferential use of projection as a means of ego defense. Though not necessarily an illness (it may be a personality type within the range of "normal") this use of the term "paranoid" is also a descriptive one.However there is a nondescriptive
SCHWARTZ DA. A Re-View of the "Paranoid" Concept. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1963;8(4):349–361. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1963.01720100039005
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