Paranoid Personality Disorder Facts

People who display Paranoid Personality Disorder are extremeley suspicious, and deeply distrust other people and their motives. (APA, 2013) They have a deep belief that everyone intends to cause them harm, so they avoid close relationships, are socially withdrawn and often remain isolated and alone.

They are always on guard and extremely cautious, seeing threats aimed at them from every angle. They find “hidden” meanings, which are threatening or belittling, as being directed at no one else but them.

Untrusting and Sensitive to Criticism

People suffering from paranoid personality disorder are quick to challenge the loyalty or trustworthiness of any new acquaintance, and will remain cold and distant. While their thinking is considered odd, eccentric and inaccurate, their thoughts and emotions are not usually delusional. They are not so bizarre as to be considered removed from reality. However, they are unable to recognize their own mistakes and faults, and thus are extremely sensitive to criticism. They tend to blame others for everything that goes wrong in their life.

“People Are Evil”

Nearly three percent of adults are believed to experience this disorder. (Paris, 2010; Mattia & Zimmerman, 2001) The cause of this disorder can be traced to demanding parents. Particularly distant, rigid fathers, and overcontrolling and rejecting mothers, beginning with mistreatment during early childhood, coupled with lack of love. Individuals suffering from this disorder often develop feelings of extreme anger as a result of their general mistrust, and can hold broad maladaptive assumptions that “people are evil” and “people will attack you if given the chance.” (Beck & Welshaar, 2011; Beck et al, 2004) In extreme cases, psychotic-like behavior can show up.

Treatment Goals

Few people with paranoid personality disorder seek treatment on their own since they do not see themselves as having a need for help. (Millon, 2011) As a result, therapy for this disorder has limited success, or very slow progress, stemming from the client’s mistrust of therapists. (Bender, 2005) Treatment goals for this disorder are to help master anxiety and improve interpersonal problems, and to help the client to become more aware of other people’s points of view.

Practicing daily mindfulness and awareness of our thoughts, and remembering that we are not our thoughts, can go a long way in overcoming paranoid personality disorder.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you into improving your life.

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