Paranoid Personality Disorder

Paranoid Personality Disorder

Mistrust and suspicion of others 

Information about Paranoid Personality Disorder – its presentation, symptoms and treatment options.

Paranoid Personality Disorder beliefs, emotions and behaviour

A person with a paranoid personality expects to be exploited or mistreated by others.  They are scared of being vulnerable or hurt and see the world as a hostile place and believe that they always need to protect themselves. The individual will believe that they are innocent and can struggle to acknowledge fault, interpreting others actions as deliberately demeaning or threatening. They see the world as a dangerous place.

Missing Interpersonal Ability:

Trust and Acceptance

Someone with these traits may be secretive, hyper vigilant and always looking for signs that others are hurting them.  They are likely to become hostile and angry to potential insults and can come across as unfriendly, lacking connection and cold.  They may blame others for their mistakes, will not confide in others, and are likely to hold grudges (often over the smallest of things).

Paranoid Personality Disorder

I am right, noble and innocent

Paranoid beliefs about self

Others are interfering and malicious

Paranoid beliefs about others

The world is a dangerous place

Paranoid beliefs about the world


How do you know if it is Paranoid Personality Disorder or a symptom of Schizophrenia?

Someone who displays paranoia as part of Schizophrenia symptoms will only show these whilst they are unwell, and they are likely to occur with other symptoms such as hallucinations or delusional thinking. The paranoia is not part of the individuals true personality. Someone with Paranoid PD will show this paranoia in many areas of their lives, and this will be a persistent trait, especially as an adult.

Darryl has recently split up with his partner after being verbally abusive to her, he was sure she was having an affair as he had seen her laughing with a male colleague.  He does not think he has done anything wrong and believes she was only with him to try and hurt him.   

He works as a delivery driver because he found working in offices with other people difficult. He was constantly aware of what they were saying and doing and got into conflicts with colleagues when he thought they were trying to belittle him.  He put in a complaint about one colleague who smiled at him because he believed he was laughing at him and being unprofessional. 

 He spends a lot of time alone at home because he finds being in social situations overwhelming, constantly anxious about what others are doing around him.  He has limited contact with his family, apart from his mum, because he has fallen out with them about how he has been treated in the past.

example presentation

What treatment is there for Paranoid Personality Disorder?

If you think you may have this Personality Disorder, please contact your GP in the first instance to talk about your treatment options.

At present, there are no formal guidelines for the treatment of Paranoid PD.  Very little research exists about the use of medicine with these individuals, and the recommendation is that any medication used looks to treat specific symptoms that are present.

There is no research that confirms the best therapy for Paranoid PD.  It is possible that Schema therapy may be able to help, as it is adaptable to different needs and could help to understand some of the mechanisms behind the paranoia. 

Have questions about paranoid personality disorder?

Contact GP Psychology


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