Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is classified under eccentric personality disorders. In other words, an individual’s behavior appears to be odd and peculiar to other people. There is an indication of disruptive patterns of thoughts, conduct, as well as functioning. For instance, the PPD patients find it difficult to create long-lasting relationships with others, they are easily angered, become hostile instantly, and have trust issues when it comes to confiding in close relatives and friends. The signs and symptoms of the disorder compare to that of schizophrenia and scientists have found that there is a genetic link between the two. The indicators of this disorder often manifest during late childhood days or early adolescence stage and men appear to suffer more as compared to women. Research shows that PPD affects between 2.3%-4.4% of the general population. In the US PPD affects 1 to 2 percent of the US adults.
Causes and Symptoms
There is no known cause of PPD. However, scientists believe its cause arises from both biological and psychological factors. However, the condition is more common in families who have a history of psychotic ailments such as schizophrenia. What is more, there is a possible link of PPD with negative childhood experiences such as child abuse and sexual assault that might have caused physical and emotional trauma. As a result, the children grow suspicious of those they closely relate with and cannot find themselves to establish trust even with people encountered in the outside world.
The primary characteristics of PPD are pervasive distrust and suspicion. The victims of the ailment may suspect others void of sufficient basis that they are exploiting or harming them through deceit. For this purpose, they cannot establish trusts or loyalty to those they interact with and neither can share their deepest concerns with close relatives and friends. They often think that if they open up to others, the information might be used maliciously to harm them (Bressert 1). They, therefore, are likely to perceive attacks on their reputation that are not clear to other parties. Such thoughts spark anger and can be a strong foundation of meaningless grudges that result from unforgiveness. The most interesting aspect of PPD is that those suffering do not perceive to have abnormal behavior. However, those around them believe the distrust to be unwarranted and offensive hence creating boundaries and dissociating with them. PPD contributes to other conditions such as depression, anxiety, and other myriad mood disorders leading to paranoia and isolation.
Accurate diagnosis of PPD occurs in adulthood. It is difficult to identify it during childhood and adolescent stage due to the long-standing and enduring patterns of behavior change. What is more, children and adolescents go through different stages of growth and development, personality changes, and maturation. They are likely to display behavior changes and mood swings hence the need to scrutinize possible signs of PPD for at least one year before making an accurate diagnosis (Bressert 1).
In most cases, diagnosis is done by a trained mental health professional such as a psychologist or a psychiatrist. There is no need in laboratory, genetic or blood test as all the symptoms are physical through behavior change. Consequently, health specialists rely on an individual’s symptoms and history. They conduct a comprehensive assessment enquiring about one’s childhood, work, school, relationships, and interactions experienced on a daily basis. What follows is comparing the results obtained with the listed symptoms of PPD to confirm the presence of the disorder. The confirmation of the ailment guides the health professional in forming a treatment plan to ensure recovery.
The main treatment method of PPD is psychotherapy. Specifically, the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most effective one when it comes to helping individuals to correct maladaptive behaviors. CBT mainly works to help the patients to understand their thoughts and feelings that influence on negative behaviors. For this reason, it aims to help the patient to learn how to cope with the disorder, communicate with others about their social challenges, and reduce the feelings of paranoia.
Far from psychotherapy, medication plays a significant role in reducing and treating adverse symptoms. They mostly work well if the sick person suffers from other related conditions such as anxiety disorder and depression. The medications administered include antidepressants, antipsychotics, and benzodiazepines (Vollm et al. 2). Combining medication with counseling increases the chance of success and quickens recovery. Despite, it is not advisable to rely on medication as a first line treatment for people with PPD. This is because they may increase suspicion and mistrust with the doctor and may contribute to patient withdrawal from the therapy. As a result health professional should incline more to psychotherapy and resolve to use medication as soon as the patient stabilizes.
Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is a behavioral disorder characterized by mistrusts, suspicion, and the inability to form a substantial relationship with others. While it affects both children and adults, its diagnosis is most precise at later stages of life. PPD can be treated through both psychotherapy and medication. The former is most preferred as it makes the patient be part of the recovery process and erases the possibility of mistrust between the victim and the health professional.
Bressert, Steve. Paranoid Personality Disorder. Psych Central. 2017. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/disorders/paranoid-personality-disorder/
Vollm, Birgit A, et al. Pharmacological Interventions for Paranoid Personality Disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 5 (2011). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4176679/