Monday, September 17, 2012

What is Paranoid Personality Disorder?

Paranoid Personality Disorder is a mental disorder recognized by the World Health Organization and involves extreme distrust and suspicion of other people over a long period of time.
The disorder is associated with extreme suspicion and distrust, causing the patient to move into a state of schizoid isolation. These people may also have a tendency to see seemingly insignificant events as conspiracies devised by people around them to harm them. This paranoia can even help them suspect close relations and family which can have an adverse impact on their personal relations.

Most people suffering from Paranoid Personality Disorder will display a few or all of the following symptoms of the condition.
  • Paranoid behavior
  • Delusions of personal persecution
  • Holding grudges for a prolonged time
  • Becoming increasingly argumentative
  • Easily irritated
  • Easily angered by casual remarks considered as personal attacks
  • Hypersensitive to criticism and set backs
  • Suspecting people of ulterior motives
  • Suspecting even close relations and friends
  • Always looking for evidence to support their doubts
  • Lack of trust on people
  • Difficulty in working with other people
  • Social isolation
  • Social detachment
  • Fear of being exploited by others
  • Refusing to accept mistakes
  • Refusing to accept that
  • Coming up with conspiratorial explanation of occurrences
  • Stubborn and hostile behavior
Paranoid Personality Disorder may appear in children in the following symptoms.
  • Preference of solitude
  • Poor relations with peers
  • Emotional hypersensitivity to other people
  • Unusual and troubling thoughts
While people with paranoid personality disorder may find difficulty in connecting with people and may result in social isolation. However, they may be sociable and friendly as well.


To dispel ambiguities, the following is the precise conditions as per clinical and WHO standards which serve as a guideline for the diagnosis of people suffering from Paranoid Personality Disorder, which could actually be easily confused with the symptoms of schizophrenia.
The condition of a person suffering from Paranoid Personality Disorder must fulfill at least three of the following conditions.
  • A tendency of suspicion justified by misconstruing information and perceiving seemingly friendly actions as hostile or even contemptuous.
  • Bearing grudges for a very long period of time
  • Great sensitivity to set backs
  • Persistent and recurring suspicions of infidelity of a spouse or partner
  • A sense of self-importance with an aggressive sense of personal rights
  • Obsession with explaining things in conspiratorial terms
However, the diagnosis of the condition may require further complicated inquiries and findings which involve testing of the patient on the criteria of general personality disorder and culture-specific standards. Psychiatrists may require tests such as Structured Clinical Interviews for DSM-IV Axis II Personality Disorder and Minnesota Multiphasic Inventory – 2.
The diagnosis must eliminate conditions such as delusional disorder and schizophrenia. Paranoid Personality Disorder does not involve any physical symptoms and physical examination may not help in the diagnosis.


There is no precise cause of Paranoid Personality Disorder. The factors that are thought to possibly play a role in giving rise to the condition are childhood trauma, emotional experiences, genetic factors, environment and family history.
Paranoid Personality Disorder is more common in males. Paranoid Personality Disorder occurs more frequently among families with a history of delusional and psychotic disorders. As much as 2% of the general population is affected by this disorder.


Paranoid Personality Disorder can severely affect the normal course of life of a person. The disorder can result in extreme social isolation and can take a toll on personal life, relationships and work.


The treatment of Paranoid Personality Disorder is very difficult to achieve due to the perpetually suspicious nature of the patient. Even if that hurdle is overcome, there is no definite cure of the condition. However, therapy and behavior modification remain the best tools to manage Paranoid Personality Disorder.

by Rivini Research

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