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Paranoid Personality Disorder

Paranoid Personality Disorder is included in a group of conditions called eccentric personality disorders. People with this condition are generally isolated and have a mistrust of others for no apparent reason. Although this condition most often manifests itself to others, often people suffering from Paranoid Personality Disorder become so insular that others may not be aware that anything is specifically wrong with the person suffering from the illness. A person with Paranoid Personality Disorder may function normally in everyday life and work, but their personal lives could be rife with mistrust of others and isolation. Over time this could cause damaged relationships with friends, coworkers and family.

Symptoms of Paranoid Personality Disorder

A characteristic feature of Paranoid Personality Disorder is that the person with the condition is sure of the unreliability and dishonesty of others, without any apparent reason to feel this way. Other qualities of someone with Paranoid Personality Disorder include:

  • Reluctance to confide in others for fear of that information being used against them
  • Being unforgiving and holding grudges
  • Taking criticism poorly
  • Believing that they are always right
  • Believing that their spouses or lovers are unfaithful
  • Having a poor self image

Causes of Paranoid Personality Disorder

Like many mental health issues, the definite causes of the condition are unknown. However, possible potential causes include genetics and stressful circumstances. Psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia have also been blamed, along with physical and emotional trauma from childhood experiences. Just as a patient’s parents may have exhibited condescension or exaggerated rage at their child for little to no reason, the patient diagnosed with the disorder also develops the same characteristics later in life. Many patients commonly share childhoods in which there was a constant, threatening domestic atmosphere.

Treatment of Paranoid Personality Disorder

When treating a person with Paranoid Personality Disorder it is important to examine and address the aforementioned issues. However, typical group therapy that involves family, friends and others suffering from the illness is unlikely to work since the condition causes a person to constantly see others as possible threats. Psychotherapy treatments that include services that exist beyond what one might find in the formal treatment system are still a very effective option for moderating this illness.

When seeking treatment for Paranoid Personality Disorder, a doctor usually takes into account a person’s complete medical history in order to rule out any type of physical illness or substance abuse problem, which may be to blame. Once those factors are ruled out, the doctor refers the patient to a mental health professional who can conclusively diagnose mental and emotional issues. These professionals should talk with patients carefully to find out what the underlying causes of the disorder may be, and tailor a treatment plan to attack the symptoms at their root and moderate them. If you or someone you love is suffering from this disorder, a mental health professional can help. The longer one waits in seeking help, the more damage this condition is capable of doing. Help is available for anyone willing to come to terms with their problem and seek the help they deserve.

View Resources

  • Cleveland Clinic – provides information on PPD such as symptoms, possible causes, how it is diagnosed and how it is treated.
  • MedlinePlus – provides information such as disorders that coexist with PPD.
  • paranoidpersonalitydisorder.org – provides information about possible causes of PPD including traumatic childhood events.
  • Mental Health America – provides information about symptoms, causes and treatment of paranoia.

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