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Each week on Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, explore different aspects of human behavior and the brain.

How To Keep Paranoia At Bay

Paranoia is an interesting feeling. People can, and often do, spin stories about almost anything. But most of the time, in functioning brains, people can check their stories with others to "collaborate" with reality, making them less likely to spiral downward into a paranoid state.

However, if cognitive functioning is impaired (from not getting enough sleep, drinking or drugs, or mental illness) it's more difficult to check in, and paranoid thoughts can run wild.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, talk about the reasons people get paranoid and offer some coping techniques in case.

Another thing to recognize about paranoia is that cultures create various stories about the human experience. Therefore, things like paranoia will manifest differently in collectivist cultures, such as those in East Asia, than in American cultures, where the stories of social normalcy are more individualistic.

The doctors advise lots of socialization, sleep, exercise and good healthy food to keep us in a good frame of mind. And when you need a shot of reality, remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said: "You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do."


Rebecca McInroy is an award-winning show creator, host, and executive producer for KUT, KUTX, and KUT.ORG.
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