Paranoid personality disorder is more common in men and families with psychotic disorders. As you might suspect, these individuals have a long history of distrust and suspicion, which can lead to social isolation and poor functioning. Relationships, school, work and other activities may be compromised. Other symptoms may include the following:
- Constant feeling of being in danger
- Unjustified belief that others have hidden motives and are trying to harm, deceive or exploit
- Unjustified suspicion of the loyalty or trustworthiness of others
- Hesitant to confide in others due to unreasonable fear that others will use the information against you
- Perception of innocent remarks or unthreatening situations as personal insults or attacks
- Angry or hostile reaction to perceived slights or insults, with a tendency to hold grudges
- Unjustified, recurrent suspicion that spouse or sexual partner is unfaithful
- Inability to work together with others
- Detachment and social isolation
- Lack of insight that feelings are unjustified
Treatment is difficult because people with this condition are often very suspicious of doctors. Medications and behavioral (talk) therapy can often be effective; reducing paranoia and limiting its impact on the person’s daily functioning.
The other disorders in Cluster A are schizoid and schizotypal personality disorders. Other considerations (causes, treatments) are similar, but here are some of the defining symptoms of each.
Schizoid personality disorder: Think of an excessively flat personality
- Appearance of indifference to others
- Inability to take pleasure in activities or accomplishments
- Inability to pick up on social cues
- Little emotional expression
- Little interest in sex or interpersonal relationships
- Belief that incidents or events have hidden messages meant specifically for you
- Belief that you can influence people and events with your thoughts (aka magical thinking)
- Inappropriately indifferent responses to others
- Inappropriate or flat emotions
- Lack of comfort with close relationships
- Odd perceptual experiences (e.g. hearing a voice say your name)
- Social anxiety
Remember, it’s not enough to have some symptoms. A level of social dysfunction is necessary to establish a diagnosis.
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