A person with Paranoid Personality Disorder usually has a high level of distrust and suspicion of others. Individuals with this kind of personality disorder view others as people who might harm, threaten, betray or even exploit them.
This type of personality disorder is also more common in young adults. It can cause patients to misread people and redefine simple gestures as something malevolent or harmful to their well being. These patients with paranoia will generally keep their feelings to themselves, choosing not to inform anyone of how they feel. They tend to bottle up ill feelings towards others for lengthy periods of time. They develop this negative perception of others not on the basis of actual interaction but based on how they perceive other people. In addition, these patients have trouble admitting that they are no longer grounded in reality to other people they interact with.
Symptoms of Paranoid Personality Disorder
The Paranoid Personality Disorder may have a number of symptoms which have an underlying theme of suspicion and distrust. hose with the paranoid personality disorder will also view the actions of other people as malevolent and harmful. Enumerated below are some of the symptoms medical practitioners look out for in diagnosing the paranoid personality disorder particularly in terms of distrust and suspicion:
- Patients with paranoid personality disorder suspect other people of harming or deceiving him or her without any sufficient basis or evidence.
- Patients with a paranoid personality disorder will usually have unexplained doubts on the loyalty and trustworthiness of his/her friends and close relations.
- Those individuals with a paranoid personality disorder will usually be hesitant in disclosing or sharing information particularly those that they feel are sensitive or confidential as they will assume that the information will be maliciously used against them.
- Patients with a paranoid personality disorder also look at regular comments and statements from other people as something negative or as having a more sinister meaning behind them.
- Individuals with a paranoid personality disorder will also tend to aggressively react against perceived and assumed attacks on their character, personality, and reputation.
- Patients with a paranoid personality disorder may also assume that their partners (spouse or sexual partners) may be unfaithful and having an illicit affair.
These symptoms of paranoid personality disorder may not occur exclusively during the course of having a schizophrenic disorder. Rather, there is a chance that the mentioned symptoms will present itself during the onset of schizophrenia. In this case, it is called paranoid personality disorder pre-morbid.
Causes of Paranoid Personality Disorder
Paranoid Personality Disorder may be caused by a number of factors. Some of these may be factors from when a patient is still a minor, a child or an adolescent. The following types of individuals have an increased risk of developing paranoid personality disorder:
Individuals who prefer solitude over socialization
These patients may feel removed from the community and as such, may have a heightened sense of suspicion towards others.
Individuals with poor peer relationships
People with poor peer relationships may also experience a disconnect from society as a whole. This may result in negative feelings towards their peers and other people.
Individuals with social anxiety
People with deep feelings of social anxiety may alienate themselves from others to avoid feelings of anxiety. This may result in distrust and further preference of solitude over companionship.
Individuals who do poorly in school
People who fare poorly in school or those who are considered academic underachievers have a higher chance of developing a Paranoid Personality Disorder. These individuals may distance themselves from their classmates and other people as they may feel inadequate and unable to live up to the standards of the school and their loved ones.
Individuals with peculiar thoughts and language
Individuals with peculiarities in their language and mannerisms may feel embarrassed about their strange ways. This may result in further social anxiety, awkwardness and eventual disassociation from others.
Males more often display the risk factors above. It most often results in teasing from their peers and further feelings and labels of being strange. An increased risk of developing paranoid personality disorder has also been observed in individuals with relatives suffering from schizophrenia and other delusional orders.
Treatments for the Paranoid Personality Disorder
It is important to consider that Paranoid Personality Disorder if left untreated, may result in chronic paranoia. This will lead the patient to suffer difficulties at work, home, and school. Another challenge facing medical practitioners would be the inherent suspicious nature of paranoid personality disorder patients. These patients will most probably show distrust and suspicion towards their physician making treatment even more difficult. It has been observed, however, that therapy and medications are both effective in terms of treating paranoid personality disorders.
Medical practitioners actually have two (2) options to address this disorder and help patients suffering from paranoid personality disorder. They can either go for a formal or informal approach. The informal approach includes self-help and support through the patient’s family and other vocational assistance. The more formal approach entails the use of medications and psychotherapy.
The former is discouraged as medications may increase the feelings of suspicion and distrust for the patient. This may result in failure and incomplete treatments. If the paranoid personality disorder is diagnosed together with anxiety and depression resulting in self-harm, then medication may be considered to address the said symptoms. Certain anti-anxiety drugs may be prescribed by a health professional to prevent the breakdown of the patient’s day to day routine and quality of life. Other antipsychotic medications may be prescribed to help manage other mental issues the patients may have. These medications should be recommended for use during the shortest period of time possible.
The most appropriate and desired treatment for Paranoid Personality disorder is psychotherapy. This will foster physician-patient trust and interactions that will aim to resolve the disorder. These therapies will usually be lifelong and will require follow-up and regular therapies.