What Is Paranoid Personality?

Dr. Purushothaman
October 31, 2018

In paranoid personality disorder individual will have the persistent pattern of distrust and suspiciousness over others. They usually think that motives of people surround him as malevolent. They may even behave that, others want to exploit or harm them. The important fact is that there will be no evidence to support this conviction. There is a fact that some degree of paranoia is present in everyone’s mind, this is normal. This is because a paranoia, thinking in normal people gives alertness in same situation to expect something harmful. This is good for your safety and security.

It is difficult for a paranoid personality to keep relationships. This is because of their suspiciousness and hostility. They may act guarded, secretive because of their hypervigilant behavior. They appear to be objective, rational and unemotional. They will be hostile, sarcastic and stubborn. As they lack trust in others, they will have an excessive need to be self-sufficient and strong sense of autonomy. They will always try to get a better control over others. This arises from the sense of spying. They are often critical and unable to collaborate with others. They will not accept any type of criticism from others.

The personality disorder can be seen mainly in areas like cognition, affect and interpersonal function. It leads to impairment in social, relationship, work and other functional areas. This pattern of personality is stable. It will usually start in early adulthood or in adolescents. The marked feature of this disease is that we cannot diagnose it easily. Usually people will not seek treatment until all these resources are used up.

Symptoms of paranoid personality disorder

  1. The person will suspect anyone for exploiting him without any basis of it.
  2. He will be preoccupied with doubt about his friends.
  3. He will always make threatening meaning to events.
  4. He will always bear grudges. This means that he will not forgive for anything which others had done to him.
  5. He always perceives attacks on his character while others don’t expect it or even think of it. He may react quickly and angrily.
  6. He will be suspicious about fidelity of spouse or sexual partner.

It will be very difficult to diagnose paranoid personality, if the person already have schizophrenia, bipolar or depressive disorders. The paranoid personality disorder will be enduring and long lasting. They will usually be diagnosed in adulthood. It is a notable point that it cannot be diagnosed in the childhood or in the adolescent period . This is because the individual will undergo constant changes during this period. One other important fact about paranoid personality is that it is more common among males. Its symptoms will decrease with age. The symptoms will be more severe between the age of 40 to 50.

Causes of paranoid personality disorder

Researchers are still under study about this condition. Anyway psychological society is approving the cause of paranoid disorder through a biopsychosocial model of causation. This means that the cause can be psychological, biological or social. The psychological factors include personality, temperament, coping skill, etc. Through this model they suggest that, it is not a single factor that will cause this personality disorder but a complex form of different factors will contribute to this thing. It is also an important thing to be noticed that this disease can be passed from the parents to the children.


It needs a long term psychotherapy treatment which will sometimes involve medications also. Usually psychotherapy involves cognitive psychotherapy. This therapy will be more effective for paranoid personality to adjust with their distorted thoughts and behaviour. It will help the client to understand their thoughts and feelings, this may in turn influence their behaviour.

CBT is usually done as a short term therapy and it will help to deal with the specific problems of the client. During the treatment client will learn how to identify and change disturbing thought patterns that have a negative influence on behaviour. The fundamental basis of this therapy is that our thoughts and feelings play a main role in our behaviour. Its main goal is to teach the client to control, interpret and deal with the things in the environment. It will use wide range of strategies to overcome these negative thoughts. Additional therapy for the paranoid personality include group therapy and psychodynamic therapy. Sometimes medications are also used in addition to the psychotherapy which include anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and anti-anxiety drugs.


It is a chronic disorder. This means that it will last throughout the person's life. It is a fact that some people can function well with this disorder and are able to form strong relationships also. But some others cannot. People with PPD usually resist treatment. Because of this reason the prognosis rate is also declining.

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