Schizophrenia is a chronic disorder marked by bouts of psychosis, or losing touch with reality. It is usually treated with medication that prevents or minimizes those psychotic episodes.
However, in recent years a specialized form of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) has been shown to substantially help manage symptoms of psychosis. Early treatment with a combination of CBT, medication and family and vocational support has been shown to cut the risk of future psychotic episodes in half. This combined treatment enables people with schizophrenia to take lower doses of medication, with fewer side effects — or, in some cases, to be medication-free.
CBT adapted for psychosis (CBTp) helps a person experiencing delusions (ideas that are not true) and hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that no one else hears or sees) change the way he thinks about and responds to these experiences. The goal is to make them less distressing and less impairing in day-to-day life.
I use CBT when I start getting paranoid. I just say to myself “I could be wrong about those ideas. That whole way of my thinking could just be plain wrong”. I say this within a few minutes of getting any paranoid ideas and it often nips them in the bud.
I often compare paranoid thoughts to being like cigarette cravings. If I distract myself enough for a few minutes they just go away.