View Full Version : Inattentive ADHD + Paranoid thoughts?

07-14-08, 03:57 AM
Has anyone here (official or self-DXed ADHD) experienced paranoid thoughts *without* taking any stimulant medication for your ADD?

I'm officially diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (the inattentive ADHD dx is informal) and I have had a lot of times in the past (unmedicated) where I feel people are talking about me, people have an ulterior motive. Sometimes I have also had these "ideas of reference", like certain events might have a special meaning for me, but mostly all of these thoughts were not to a level where you'd say I was actually delusional. In other words, I can tell the difference between fantasy and reality. It's just that I have this pervasive anxiety about me, poor self-esteem, I'm always worried what others think about me. As far as the ideas of reference, that's interesting, because I'm not sure anxiety would cause that too.

So I was thinking, paranoid thoughts with ADHD doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. Paranoia is usually associated with high levels of dopamine (sp. with the schizophrenias), and yet, with all my inattention and impulsivity and cravings for constant stimulation/comfort, I should have low levels of dopamine. I would guess that if you have a low level of dopamine, you wouldn't have paranoia...?

I haven't done enough research to verify any of my ideas here. These are just thoughts. Wondering if anyone else can relate? Do you think paranoia would be strange for someone with ADHD?

07-14-08, 07:18 AM
Perhaps its is just natural for someone with ADHD to continually question the motives of everyone around you, with of without high dopamine.

After all, we do tend to attract more than normal amounts of negative attention.

:DAnd oh yes, If we are indeed "hunters" then it is natural that anything in our environment, including fellow sapients, could be considered a threat until proven otherwise! Cats do the same. /:D

07-14-08, 01:01 PM
I agree with Sarek 100% it's the fact that we are sometimes viewed as outsiders that makes us paranoid with relationships. Maybe you should focus on getting your people skills up to par with others.... it sucks but what you need to probably work on. Let's also not forget body language. experts say that 80% of all animal interaction is really expressed through body language and not speech. So the more negative you are, the more negative things you attract - This is this the crap that I myself have to teach myself and work on.

07-14-08, 01:02 PM

I've been asking questions about medication and dopamine levels and how I believe the same as you do on other threads, let's see what other people think who are actually on meds.

07-14-08, 01:07 PM
I'm following this line of thought closely, too, as I have been dx GAD for years, but am just now discovering the ADD (dx this year).

I'm wondering if ADD causes anxiety and am dreaming about getting off Zoloft finally...

07-14-08, 08:23 PM
i must say i do feel this way on a regular basis. im newly married ( almost 2 years) and i keep thinking his family doesn't like me. im sure it's all in my head because they don't obviously do anything to show their disapproval for me... maybe it's my insecurities pushing through more or less and im over-thinking things.

sometimes when i haven't heard from a friend in a while i start to think they are sick of me.. low and behold they end up calling me and all is fine!!!

as you can tell my paranoia for me has more to do with me being afraid of what people think of me.

07-14-08, 09:41 PM
Insecure about being disliked - feeling of being inferior = some times especially when in new situations or meeting new people . I see this is as manifestation of my fear in general - I want to be liked as I am sure most do but thinking people are talking about me - not at all.

In my opinion 99.9% of the population have more important things to talk about like the weather, next trash day what they are having for dinner

Things have meaning for me only if I assign them a meaning.

I have a secondary diagnosis of anxiety along with being ADHD.

07-15-08, 03:12 AM
Maybe it's more to do with social anxiety than actual paranoia, then?

It's tough for me distinguish where these thoughts really come from...

07-15-08, 11:18 AM
I haven't read any of the replies to your post yet but I'll get to it. What your describing to me doesn't sound like paranoia or a person who is paranoid. It sounds like the anxiety...I too described almost the exact same thing to my therapist including the "it's almost as if everything is a divine sign" which were my exact words to my therapist....she described me as being someone who is hypervigilant *shrugs* I guess so.

Added note - and I would like to think someone who is paranoid doesn't know that what they're thinking is off kilter is anyway....I could be wrong but I would like to think if someone knew they were paranoid would be somehow different *shrugs* again just my ramblings

05-07-09, 12:06 AM
I also have been diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and I'm not on any stimulants or other medications currently. I also have ADD-inattentive I can relate.

Here's what I've learned along the way...
Basically, if you are aware your thoughts are either rational or irrational and know the difference between reality and fantasy than what you're describing definitely sounds like your anxiety, (which in General Anxiety stems from worrying about pretty much everything). ADHD gives you the gift of being able to worry in very creative whether you are experiencing true paranoia or not and if that will be exacerbated by trying a stimulant medication intended to increase dopamine... ;)

I participated in a group therapy for people with social phobia (my biggest cause of anxiety). Although attending was terrifying for everyone in that room, once we all started realizing that we were all afraid of the same things, we were relieved to know we weren't 'crazy'! It was extremely enlightening to know that most of my "paranoid thoughts" especially regarding other peoples' motives were simply irrational. Even people without anxiety disorders/phobias have fears about being judged or misunderstood (two of my main fears).

Making assumptions, or having insecurity issues can make your fears seem more rational than they are. I tend to be very judgemental, and assumed that everyone was the same and would therefore judge me the way I would them. I have since become somewhat less judgemental.

Paranoia is (I believe) specifically when you lose touch with rationality, when your fears become excessive. You believe your thoughts to be real, and create dillusions to substantiate your fears. In short, you would likely not realize that you are experiencing paranoia, rather your friends and family would be trying to convince you that you need to get help (hopefully), but then you might even begin to believe that they are against you as well...

As far as "ideas of reference", I'm not really sure I understand what you mean... do you have an example?

05-07-09, 12:56 AM
Now it might be possible that you have high dopamine levels that do not go to your frontal lobes. It is also possible that you have an overactive limbic system and amygdala. What i mean is that the dopamine in you system might be high in another part of your brain but not in your frontal lobes. I think that is what happens to schizophrenics but don't quote me on that.