Paranoid personality disorder is a chronic condition characterized by pervasive feelings of suspicion and paranoia. People with paranoia disorder generally feel that people are out to harm them in some way, and this constant feeling of paranoia or suspicion is the primary symptom of the disorder.
What Is Paranoia Disorder?
Suspicion and worry are emotions that many people experience from time to time. Usually, there’s a good reason for these feelings–for example, if you’ve found out that your company is considering layoffs, you might start anticipating bad news and second-guessing everything that happens around the office. Paranoia disorder is different because it involves feelings of suspicion and fear of being harmed when no actual threat is present.
People who display paranoid symptoms are convinced that other people intend to harm or humiliate them in some way. As a result, they do not trust other people. They view strangers and even people they know well as threatening. A person with paranoid personality disorder tends to misconstrue innocuous comments as aggressive or insulting. For example, if you compliment a paranoid person about his new car, he may take it as an attack on his spending habits.
People with paranoid personality disorder are often hostile to others. Relationships are difficult because they tend to suspect significant others of infidelity, even without any evidence to suggest it. However, despite their tendency to misinterpret words and gestures, people with paranoia disorder still have a firm grip on reality. They are not prone to the hallucinations or psychotic episodes seen in some other disorders.
Paranoid Personality Disorder Symptoms
The most obvious paranoid personality disorder symptoms revolve around a general distrust of other people and a tendency to read hostility and threats into innocent comments and actions. A person with this disorder may display additional paranoia-related personality disorder symptoms, including:
- Aggression and hostility
- Extreme suspiciousness of others
- Feeling certain that others are out to harm, humiliate, deceive or exploit her, even if she have no evidence suggesting this is the case
- Poor sense of humor
- Preoccupation with unfounded doubts about others’ loyalty
- Reluctance to confide in others out of fear that the information will be used against him
- Social isolation
- Tendency to hold grudges
- Tendency to question hidden motives in others
- Unfounded suspicions of infidelity by a spouse or sexual partner.
Treatment for paranoid personality disorder is challenging, since patients will normally not seek out help on their own and are likely to be distrusting of the medical establishment. Over time, however, people seeking treatment for paranoid personality disorder may be able learn how to control their paranoid symptoms and improve their trust in others.
Dombeck M. (2005). Paranoid personality disorder symptoms. Retrieved October 9, 2010, from http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=569
Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders (2010). Paranoid personality disorder. Retrieved October 9, 2010, from http://www.minddisorders.com/Ob-Ps/Paranoid-personality-disorder.html
Grohol, J.M. (2010). Paranoid personality disorder. Retrieved October 9, 2010, from http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sx37.htm