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More Than Just Suspicious: Paranoid Personality Disorder

A man with Paranoid Personality Disorder can't sleep at night thinking that people might come and hurt him / Photo by 123rf.com

 

An individual suffering from Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) may often be hostile to those around them because they are constantly suspicious, distrusting and feel as though everyone is out to criticize them or harm them in one way or another. They perceive everyone as a potential threat to them and people who are often unaware of their condition may, in defense, respond negatively. As a result, this just makes it more difficult for them to form normal relationships because the hostility they receive in return just proves that others are indeed against them.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5th Revision (DSM-5), Paranoid Personality Disorder belongs to the Cluster A category of the Personality Disorders. This cluster of Personality Disorders is considered odd, bizarre and eccentric.

It is more common for men than women to have PPD, Psychcentral states. They also estimate that around the world, 2.2 to 4.4% suffer from this. WebMD states that its symptoms typically appear in adulthood. However, the most severe symptoms may be experienced in a person’s 40s or 50s.

 

 

What is Paranoid Personality Disorder?

Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) is a kind of personality disorder which is included in the Cluster A group. This cluster deals with the personality disorders with an odd or peculiar kind of thinking.

People with PPD are always under the assumption that other people are only going to use them, betray them or try to hurt them even if there is no basis for their assumption. Lifehack.org describes them as always being wary of suspicious acts and being guarded. They are also described as people who are extremely sensitive to rejection and those that are prone to sadness. Additionally, they are known to be aloof from others. They also have trouble having social bonds with other people because they tend to blame them for their faults.

 

 

Causes

The exact cause for Paranoid Personality Disorder cannot be identified by the experts.

However, there are many factors that are involved that may cause a person to acquire this condition. These factors may be:

- Biological or genetic factors

Individuals who have close relatives who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia have a higher risk of having PPD.

- Social factors

These factors involve how a person relates or interacts with others in their early childhood.

- Psychological factors

These factors pertain to a person’s temperament and personality which is molded by their surroundings and their coping skills as well as how they manage their stress.

- Physical or emotional trauma

If an individual has experienced physical or emotional traumatic experiences in their early childhood, there is a higher probability of them acquiring Paranoid Personality Disorder.

 

Symptoms

If a person manifests the following symptoms, they have PPD:

- Always having suspicions that others are going to harm, exploit or manipulate them

- Constantly doubting the loyalty of friends or their romantic partner

- “Reads between the lines” or always thinks that casual comments or situations are an attack to their reputation

- Constantly bears a grudge and is unforgiving of any slight, no matter how insignificant

- Perceive attacks to their character which are not apparent to others. This makes them quick to strike back and react angrily

- Being hesitant in confiding to others or revealing their personal information because they feel that the other person may use it against them

- Being hypersensitive to criticism

- Have a hard time relaxing

- Usually being cold and distant in their relationships with other people, which can make them jealous and possessive

- Hostile, stubborn, argumentative

- Believe they are always right and are unable to see that they have a problem or are the cause of the problem

Since people with this disorder are inclined to doubt and suspect others, they may have come to develop a strong sense of independence. They may also want to be able to have great control over the people around them. They are also characterized as being stiff, critical and being unable to work with others.

They are also generally described as hard to get along with and having conflicts in relationships. They may convey their intense suspiciousness and hostility by being argumentative, constantly complaining, and keeping a hostile distance from others.

Due to their defensiveness towards potential threats, they try to guard themselves and act secretive and cold. Even though they look emotionless, objective and rational on the surface, they are actually easily affected by others. This is projected in how stubborn and hostile they are and how they commonly communicate in a sarcastic manner.

 

Treatment

Therapy

It is a common scenario that those who suffer from PPD do not seek immediate help because their pervasive distrust even involves the therapists and doctors who are likely to be able to treat them. They also are unable to see that they have a medical issue that needs to be addressed.

The only kind of therapy recommended for those with Paranoid Personality Disorder is psychotherapy.

When they go through psychotherapy, the therapist will try to help them improve their communication, way of social interaction, self-esteem as well try to assist them in developing more coping skills.

Medication

There may also be medicines prescribed to further aid in the treatment of PPD.

Here are some medications that they may take:

- Anti-anxiety drugs (like diazepam)

- Anti-psychotic drugs

- Antidepressants

 

Antidepressants can also be taken to treat Paranoid Personality Disorder / Photo by 123rf.com

 

People who have Paranoid Personality Disorder may have acquired this because of their desire to protect themselves from any threats, attack on their character or reputation or the possibility of being manipulated, tricked or betrayed. Their hypersensitivity to criticism and rejection may be easily misunderstood by others. This may lead the people they interact with to react unfavorably towards them. This becomes counterintuitive.

Individuals who suffer from this condition are advised to consult a therapist to help them remove or at least lessen the sensation of being threatened and feeling suspicious towards others.

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