What are the Symptoms of Paranoid Personality Disorder?

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  • Written By: Emma G.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 01 October 2019
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Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is a psychological disorder that causes a person to feel constantly threatened and mistrustful of others. Common symptoms of paranoid personality disorder include paranoia, distrust, and hypersensitivity to perceived insults or slights. Owing to these issues, people with PPD have trouble with close relationships. There are no known physical signs of paranoid personality disorder.

PPD is one of a group of psychological disorders called eccentric personality disorders. People with a disorder in this group behave in ways that may seem erratic or simply strange to others. PPD manifests itself as irrational and unrelenting paranoia, the baseless suspicion that organizations or people are malicious in some way.

Symptoms of paranoid personality disorder usually appear in early adulthood. PPD is slightly more common in men than in women. Studies have shown that PPD may be genetically linked to schizophrenia.

People with this disorder tend to believe that other people, even close friends and family members, are using or deceiving them in some way. They find hidden malice in comments, looks, or gestures that were intended to be innocent. Hypersensitive to negative connotations, they tend to take criticism badly.

These symptoms of paranoid personality disorder cause people with this disorder to have trouble maintaining close relationships. Their delusions lead them to constantly suspect unfaithfulness and to be unforgiving of perceived slights. They tend to be reluctant to confide in others for fear that anything they say may be used to harm them later.


People with PPD also have trouble forming new relationships. Their constant distrust of people makes them seem cold and distant. They may also behave in a hostile manner as a defense against future attacks. People with this condition seem constantly on edge because they never feel safe enough to relax.

PPD can be treated with psychotherapy. The greatest obstacle to treating PPD is the patient himself or herself. Most people with PPD do not know that they have a problem. Their paranoia and delusions seem reasonable to them, and therefore they are often unwilling to get treatment.

Those who do get treatment have trouble following their treatment regimens. It is not uncommon for patients with PPD to suddenly stop psychotherapy because they believe their psychiatrist is secretly collecting information to blackmail them or to stop taking medication because they believe it has been poisoned. Although no drugs directly treat PPD, doctors may prescribe anti-anxiety or anti-psychotic drugs in an effort to control the more severe symptoms of paranoid personality disorder.


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Post 4

@burcinc: If it is interfering with your quality of life or relationships you should seek some sort of help. Even if you are not suffering from a diagnosable disorder, you still want to have the best life you can, and that's not possible if you're dwelling in the past.

Post 3

What I'm inferring from the article is that making wide generalizations can be a symptom of this disorder right? Like thinking that everyone is the same, that everyone is bad and evil?

And since this disorder also makes social relations difficult, is it similar to antisocial personality disorder? Are the symptoms the same?

Post 2

My favorite psychology professor says that personality disorders cause people to be stuck. They are not able to change their behavior even though it is excessive and it backfires in a negative way.

A very interesting aspect we learned in class about paranoia was that people with this disorder actually try (and succeed) at interacting with other people in a way that proves them right. So they might want a person they are suspicious of to do something wrong, so they can feel good about not trusting them.

Post 1

Can normal people develop this disorder because of bad experiences or does it have to be genetically inherited?

I sometimes behave similarly to the symptoms in this article. I don't take criticism well at all and I become offended very quickly. I trust people to some extent but it takes time for me to develop this trust. If someone lies to me though, I stop trusting them and end that relationship.

I think I am this way because I have had family members that treated me badly and I have had romantic relationships where I was lied to, cheated on and disrespected. I tell myself that I have become extra cautious because of these experiences.

Could this attitude develop into paranoid personality disorder in the future? Should I seek counseling or psychological help?

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