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Things To Know About Paranoid Personality Disorder

While many of us view paranoia as a UFO or government surveillance conspiracy disease, its clinical definition is a bit different. The following are things you should know about paranoid personality disorder. Clinical PPD is defined as a disorder characterized by exaggerated distrust and suspicion of other people. Simply, PPD is an extreme social condition that creates destructive interpersonal consequences in a sufferer’s life.

An extremely rare disorder, less than one percent of the US population meets DSM-5 criteria for PPD diagnosis. The seven hallmark traits of paranoid personality disorder include:

  • The sufferer believes others are using, lying to, or plotting to harm them even though there is no evidence of these things happening.
  • They doubt the loyalty and trustworthiness of others.
  • They refuse to confide in others for fear of that information being used later against them.
  • They read too much into benign events or remarks.
  • They develop grudges from misinterpreting normal events or remarks. People with PPD rarely forgive someone that they believe has slighted them.
  • They react with hostility towards others who they feel have personally attacked their character.
  • They have continued suspicions about their partner’s fidelity.

Paranoid Personality Disorder Prognosis & Treatment

It is rare for someone with advanced PPD to hold a job, be in a romantic relationship, or have close friends or family. Paranoid personality disorder often begins in childhood. The illness is most commonly found in men. While PPD symptoms generally appear early in life, the disorder is often mistaken then for borderline, narcissistic, or schizotypal personality disorder. This confusion results in PPD commonly being diagnosed during adulthood, when symptoms are pervasive. PPD belongs to an illness category known as cluster A personality disorders.

Cluster A personality disorders are characterized by odd, eccentric thinking or behavior. The major difference between schizophrenic paranoia and PPD is that Paranoid Personality Disorder rarely has a psychotic base. PPD patients do not experience hallucinations; rather, they brood in distrust.

Further clinical analyses show that 75% of PPD patients also suffer from at least one other mood disorder. The most commonly co-occurring mood disorders alongside PPD include avoidant personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and anti-social personality disorder. 

Not surprisingly, PPD sufferers file lawsuits at much higher rates than the general population. Those with the illness are also more likely to be arrested for harmful behaviors toward others. Treatment for PPD largely focuses on psychotherapy. During talk sessions, a clinician attempts to build pathways of empathy, trust and improved communication with their patient. According to Web MD, PPD is a chronic disorder, which means it is incurable. However, with continued therapy, many PPD patients can live a somewhat normal life.

According to The Recovery VIllage, these are the most common treatment options for Paranoid Personality Disorder.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Individual Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Nutrition Counseling
  • Anti-Anxiety Medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics


Hopefully, the following discussion of things to know about paranoid personality disorder shed light on the seldom discussed illness. If you have any questions or comments regarding the topic, please leave a comment below. Be sure to check back soon with Stigma Battle, as we continue our exhaustive look at all the major mental disorders.

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