Impacting between 2-4 percent of the population, paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is a group of conditions that involve odd or eccentric ways of thinking. Deemed a “Cluster A” personality disorder, those with PPD experience paranoia and consistent mistrust and suspicion of others — even when there are no tangible reasons for the suspicion. Understanding the signs and symptoms of this disorder, as well as the available treatments, can help people with bipolar disorder better manage their symptoms in the long run.
Anxiety-based paranoid disorder symptoms
People who suffer from paranoid personality disorder are constantly on the lookout for threats or attempts to harm them. Because of this, individuals with this disorder mistrust the motives of others and are reluctant to build and maintain close relationships, easily hold grudges, and can identify threatening subtexts in innocuous comments or events. They are often quick to get angry and become hostile.
Other symptoms that you may experience include:
- A reluctance to reveal personal information in fear it will be held against them
- Hypersensitivity and inability to accept criticism
- difficulty calming or relaxing oneself
- scepticism about the sincerity and reliability of others and the conviction that they are being duped
- Swiftly retaliating, with obstinate and argumentative characteristics
- An unforgiving nature and a tendency to hold grudges
- Lack of self-feeling and a conviction that they are always right in disputes or disagreements
- A belief their character is being attacked, even when it is not apparent to others
Those who suffer from PPD are convinced that their behaviour and thoughts are normal and rational. They may also believe other conditions such as depression and anxiety are impacting their mood and responses, making it increasingly difficult for those with this disorder to recognise symptoms within themselves.
Psychological Testing for the Disorder of Paranoid Personality
A primary care provider can use a variety of tests to rule out physical illness as the source of certain symptoms even though no diagnostic tests exist to pinpoint personality disorders. Because symptoms of paranoid personality disorder resemble those of other personality disorders, such as schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder, a doctor will typically evaluate a patient who exhibits symptoms by checking their medical history and conducting a thorough physical examination..
In most instances, a doctor will refer an individual to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional for a comprehensive evaluation. These trained professionals have a specific aptitude for diagnosing and treating personality disorders via targeted interviews and various assessment tools. During this evaluation process, a person can expect to be asked detailed questions about their childhood, school, work, and personal relationships. This can help with a person’s diagnosis and treatment by gauging how they react to various situations.
Managing Paranoid Personality Disorder
PPD can be managed and treated using tried-and-true methods, but getting started can be difficult because most people with the disorder do not seek help on their own accord. Medical professionals who are assisting these patients in managing and treating their personality disorder frequently face distrust from patients. As a result, they may not stick to their treatment plan. If the individual is able to accept treatment, however, psychotherapy can help someone with PPD.
For someone with paranoid personality disorder, a psychotherapist can help:
- Develop a sense of trust and compassion for others.
- Prepare yourself to deal with the condition
- Enhance one’s self-worth
- Better communicate in social situations
- Reduce your level of anxiety and fear.
If a person’s symptoms are particularly severe or if there are unresolved psychological issues, a doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety, antidepressant, or antipsychotic medications. Often, the combination of medication and talk therapy can be an effective means to treat the personality disorder.
A person suffering from paranoid personality disorder may never be cured, but with the right help and support, they can live productive and fulfilling lives. Long-term patterns of suspicion, paranoia, and suspicion of others will cause problems in the workplace and in personal relationships if they are not addressed. The symptoms of paranoid personality disorder can be managed for the rest of one’s life if one learns to recognise them and adheres to a structured psychotherapy treatment plan.