Paranoid Personality Disorder

3 min



Paranoid personality disorder is a chronic mental health condition characterised by feelings of mistrust, suspicion and paranoia.  People with PPD (paranoid personality disorder) feel as though everyone is trying to either demean, harm, betray, threaten or somehow exploit them.  They have these unfounded suspicions and feelings without having any real basis for them. 

It generally starts in late teens and early adulthood and is more common in men than in women.  It’s believed to effect around four percent of the population and around two thirds of people who have it will also have another personality disorder most often, antisocial personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder or borderline personality disorder.  Whilst PPD causes feelings of paranoia, unlike other mental health conditions that do, it does not cause delusions or hallucinations.

Having PPD can make it difficult to make friends and maintain relationships because of the nature of the symptoms.  Their constant mistrust, reluctance to confide in others, and tendency to be distant and cold or jealous and controlling can threaten the relationships they do have.


The exact cause for PPD remains unknown but there are several factors that are believed to contribute to its development, these include:

·      A family history of schizophrenia

·      Physical or emotional trauma in childhood

·      Poverty, ethnicity or having lived alone for long periods

What are the Symptoms of Paranoid Personality Disorder?

People with PPD will suffer with symptoms that affect their daily lives and there ability to form relationships and maintain any kind of social life.  Primarily they will have a chronic mistrust and suspicion of others but also show signs of:

·     Being stubborn, argumentative, sarcastic and hostile

·     Be defensive and deal badly with criticism

·     Struggle to relax

·     Suffer from mood swings

·     Have difficulty socialising or working with others

·     Be distant, aloof or cold

·     Bear grudges and be unforgiving

·     Read hidden meanings in casual comments or remarks

·     Be jealous or controlling

·     Can have negative thoughts about others and believe they are always right and never at fault in conflicts

·     Distrust the commitment and loyalty of others

·     Anxiety or depression

Diagnosis and Treatment

People who have PPD often don’t seek help or treatment as they believe there is nothing wrong with them.  They may seek treatment for associated symptoms like anxiety, depression, or relationship issues.

Treatment can be challenging as whilst there are no specific medications for PPD, they can be reluctant to take antidepressants or mood stabilisers for anxiety or depression as they are so distrustful of the intentions of others.

Whilst psychotherapy remains the main treatment for PPD it can be difficult for therapists to build the trust and rapport they need for the therapy to work.  There is also no guarantee that the patient will stick to their treatment plan.

If they are able to accept help therapies like CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) can help them to build coping skills and adjust distorted thought patterns and behaviours.  It can also help to improve their social interaction, communication and empathy and increase their self-esteem. Written by Jan, Jeana and Wendy at Barnsley Hypnosis and Counselling (UK).  For more free information click above link.

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River Scott

Emmett River Scott: Emmett, a culture journalist, writes about arts and entertainment, pop culture trends, and celebrity news.