What Is Paranoid Personality Disorder?
Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is a type of personality disorder that causes the affected person to behave oddly or eccentrically. This disorder falls under a group of personality disorders called “Cluster A”.
Individuals who have PPD usually also have paranoia. This may lead to unrelenting mistrust and suspicion of others even when there is no reason to do so.
Another hallmark of this disorder is being reluctant to confide in others and bearing grudges. PPD usually surfaces by early adulthood and is more common in men than in women.
The main signs and symptoms associated with paranoid personality disorder are discussed below.
Symptoms Of Paranoid Personality Disorder
Individuals with PPD are constantly on guard as they believe that others out there are trying to demean, threaten, or harm them. Such unfounded beliefs can interfere with the affected person’s ability to form close relationships.
The symptoms exhibited by a person who has PPD are:
- Believing that others are trying to harm or demean them
- Doubting the loyalty, commitment, or trustworthiness of others
- Reluctance in confiding in others
- Being hypersensitive when it comes to criticism
- Getting angry/hostile quickly
- Recurring suspicions when it comes to their spouse/partner, without reason
- Being cold and distant in relationships
- Difficulty in relaxing
These are some common traits seen in those who have PPD. Let’s now look at the factors responsible for triggering paranoid personality disorder.
What Causes Paranoid Personality Disorder?
While the exact cause of PPD is not yet found, it is believed to be triggered by a combination of biological, environmental, and psychological factors.
Paranoid personality disorder is often seen in individuals who have close family members with a history of schizophrenia and other delusional disorders.
Emotional or physical trauma during early childhood is another contributing factor to the development of PPD.
If you think that you (or someone close to you) are exhibiting symptoms of paranoid personality disorder, it is best to see a doctor.
How To Diagnose Paranoid Personality Disorder
Once you visit a doctor, they may begin by asking you questions about the symptoms you exhibit and your family and medical history.
They might carry out a physical examination to look for any other possible conditions you may be affected with. If the examination or the symptoms you exhibit indicate PPD, you will be sent to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or a mental healthcare provider for further testing.
The mental healthcare provider will do a comprehensive or detailed assessment that may include asking you about your childhood, work, school, and relationships. You may also be asked how you deal with or respond to an imaginary situation. They gauge your reaction to various situations and then make a diagnosis.
If you are found to have paranoid personality disorder, your doctor will discuss and create a treatment plan for you.
How To Treat Paranoid Personality Disorder
The main drawback of treating PPD is that most affected individuals have difficulty in accepting treatment. However, in general, treatment for this disorder can be very successful.
Individuals who are willing to go ahead with treatment for PPD can avail talk therapy or psychotherapy. These therapies aim at:
- Helping the individual cope with the disorder
- Teaching how to communicate with others in social situations
- Helping reduce the feelings of paranoia
Certain medications can also help in the treatment of paranoid personality disorder. Some medications work especially well if the patient has other related conditions like depression and anxiety disorder. Such medications include:
Combining these medications with talk therapy/psychotherapy can help in managing PPD successfully.