What Is Paranoid Personality Disorder?
Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) is a condition that causes an affected person to behave eccentrically or oddly. PPD falls in the category of disorders called Cluster A.
Cluster A, a classification of personality disorders, is commonly called “the odd, eccentric cluster”. It includes Paranoid Personality Disorder, Schizotypal Personality Disorder, and Schizoid Personality Disorder. The common characteristics of the personality disorders in this cluster are distorted thinking, social withdrawal, and social awkwardness.
People who suffer PPD usually suffer paranoia, characterized by constant mistrust and suspicion for no particular reason. They also hold grudges so badly. PPD becomes evident in early adulthood, and it is more common in men than in women.
Symptoms of Paranoid Personality Disorder
Here are common symptoms of PPD
- reluctance to share personal information
- interpreting others` innocent remarks as demeaning and insulting
- interpreting neutral events as threatening
- nurturing grudges for a long time
- angry and aggressive responses to imagined attacks
- being cold and distant in relationships
- the tendency to become controlling and jealous
- inability to see their role in problems or conflicts, hence the belief that they are always right
- the constant belief of the intention of others to cause harm
- doubting the commitment, loyalty, and trustworthiness that others show
- reluctance to confide in others.
- hypersensitivity in the face of criticism
- anger, intolerance, and hostility
- recurring suspicion of loved ones
- difficulty with intimacy
- difficulty relaxing
What Causes Paranoid Personality Disorder?
No one knows the exact causeS of PPD, however, certain biological, environmental, and psychological factors could trigger it. PPD is common with individuals who have a family history of schizophrenia and other delusional disorders. Also, people who experience emotional and physical trauma during childhood may also suffer PPD.
How to Diagnose Paranoid Personality Disorder
One of the first inquiries to make in diagnosing PPD is the patient`s family and medical history. There may also be some physical examinations, and if there is clear evidence of PPD, the patient may need to visit a psychiatrist or a psychologist for further tests healthcare. The psychiatrist or psychologist may need to assess the patient`s relationships and know how they deal with imaginary situations. These should form a vital part of the diagnosis. The mental healthcare provider can, at this point, recommend a suitable treatment plan for the patient.
How to Treat Paranoid Personality Disorder
There is no particular treatment for PPD; there are only ways to manage its symptoms. However, it can be challenging getting patients to respond positively to symptoms management measures. There are talk therapy and psychotherapy plans available to deal with PPD. The aims of these therapies are:
- to help the patient cope with the disorder
- to help them reduce the feelings of paranoia
- to teach them how to communicate in social situations
Asides therapy, there are medications which PPD patients can take, based on doctor`s prescription. Some of them are:
How to Help Someone with a Personality Disorder
If someone close to you has a personality disorder, there are a few things you can do to help them feel comfortable. If they haven’t gotten a diagnosis, encourage them to see a doctor who can refer them to a psychiatrist.
If they’ve received a diagnosis with a personality disorder, here are a few tips on how to help them through the treatment process:
Avoid taking the behavior of affected persons personal. Remember that they really don`t intend to hurt you. So try to be patient as you try to help them.
Give Practical Support
Offer practical support to people with personality disorders. They need someone who would help them schedule therapy appointments and subtly make them accountable for attending therapy sessions, and doing what is required. This can be tiring, however, with determination and a positive mindset to see them become better, you can follow through.
Tell them how much you care, and commend them as they make efforts to get better. They would find these encouraging, hence it would be easier to relate with them.
Be Mindful of your Language
Avoid any expression that may trigger defense from them. For instance, avoid using “you” statements, use “I” statements instead. So rather than saying “You scared me when you screamed,” try saying “I felt scared when I heard the sound.”
Be there for them, and assure them of your presence and support. For instance, find out if they’d be willing to have you join them in a therapy session; perhaps it would help them. Of course, because they have trust issues, this may be challenging, however, rest assured that they need it; they just wouldn`t show it.
Take Care of Yourself
To avoid burnout, make out time to care for yourself and your needs. Being stressed or burned out would make you less efficient at caring for a person with a personality disorder, and over time, your presence will become more of a bother to them, leaving you even more frustrated.
Paranoid Personality Disorder: Myths and Facts
People living with PPD don`t get better because they`re stubborn and resistant to change.
PPD or not, everyone is resistant to change, due to personal preferences. However, people who suffer PPD find it more difficult to respond positively to change because the condition is a personality disorder. With therapies and/or medications, they would gradually respond positively to change.
People with PPD are selfish; they don`t care about others.
People with PPD may actually care about their friends and family, however, their mood swings and impulsive behavior affect how they relate to people around them. Their paranoia covers up any form of love, compassion, and care that they intend to show.
PPD patients don`t have a disorder; they`re just difficult.
People who suffer PPD don`t choose to be difficult people as some persons think. Their seemingly unruly behavior is as a result of the disorder which they suffer. So yes, they genuinely have a mental health issue, and it would be unfair to treat them as outright difficulty.
People with PPD only pretend to be suicidal; they`re attention seekers.
Due to extreme agony, people with PPD may try to commit suicide. They sometimes think life isn`t worth living because they experience painful emotions. So, no, they`re not necessarily attention seekers; they`re actually suicidal in some cases. As much as possible, try not to leave them alone, and let their therapists know when they show signs of being suicidal.
Some Other Paranoid Personality Disorder Facts
- PPD isn`t as a result of damage to the brain, as some think; it is more of a problem with belief.
- Some people associate PPD to schizophrenia because of the similarities in symptoms, however, both conditions are not related.
- PPD belongs to the A cluster of personality disorders, just as schizoid and schizotypal personality disorder.
- People who suffer PPD have a strong sense of their importance and are particular about their rights.
- PPD patients feel more humiliation and shame than other people would normally do.
Some Other Types of Personality Disorders
There are some other personality disorders spread across the A, B, and C clusters.
- Schizoid Personality Disorder
- Schizotypal Personality Disorder
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Histrionic Personality Disorder
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Avoidant (or anxious) Personality Disorder
- Dependent Personality Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder