What is Paranoid Personality Disorder?

All of us have a tendency to be wary of new situations or people who behave unusually. This is quite normal and is hard-wired into our brains as a vital survival tool.

But sometimes being too distrustful of others and their motives can interfere with all aspects of a person’s life. Interpersonal relations become strained as the person concerned questions the actions of others, often creating elaborate scenarios in their mind as to the true meaning of what another person said or did.

Hence personal relationships with family becomes strained, friends disappear because they tire of the ongoing interrogation of their actions and jobs can often be lost because the affected person simply becomes unable to work with others because they are distrustful, argumentative and cannot work in a team situation.

Such a person is suffering from paranoid personality disorder, which is one of a group of several personality disorders, including narcissistic, histrionic, avoidant, antisocial, and borderline, all of which are discussed elsewhere at youronlinecounselor.com

People with this disorder are mistrustful and believe people are out to harm them in some way — not necessarily physically, but financially, verbally and in other ways. There is no logical justification for the person’s beliefs, and this forms one of the important diagnostic criteria of the disorder. People suffering from PPD are reluctant to confide in others. Even situations which have nothing to do with the person are perceived as being direct attacks on themselves.

This condition differs from episodes of paranoia which are characteristic of other mental disorders such as schizophrenia. That is why it is important always to consult a mental health professional for a correct formal diagnosis.

The origins of the disorder are largely unknown although it has been noted that it is more common among people who have relatives with schizophrenia, which suggests that there is a biological component to the disorder. But certainly learned behavior from a difficult childhood can foster and enhance a pre-existing tendency to the condition.

We will look at a case example of paranoid personality disorder in the next article.

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