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Paranoid Personality Disorder

Abstract: Suspicious, believes that other people will treat you wrongly, insists on own rights.

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Paranoid Personality Disorder

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Written by: Tasja Klausch
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 31 Jul 2008.

Paranoid Personality Disorder is a diagnosis that denotes a Personality Disorder (More) with paranoid features.

For the people around a person with a Paranoid Personality Disorder it seems as if he or she is someone who is often insisting on their rights.

People with this disorder are suspicious and they tend to reinterpret experiences in a negative way. As they expect to be mistreated or exploited, they are continually looking for trickery and abuse. Neutral or even friendly-meant actions of other people can be seen as hostile or threatening. This effects relationship with family, colleagues and others. Without reason people with Paranoid Personality Disorder are in doubt about the loyalty and credibility of friends and colleagues. They are often hostile and react angrily to insults, which they can not forgive easily.

People with this disorder present themself as very sensitive towards rejection. This sensitivity could involve an excessive self-confidence including selfishness. This is as well why they do not easily trust other people, because the are afraid, that personal information could be used against them.

It important to point out, that this disorder is different from paranoid schizophrenia, because other symptoms of schizophrenia such as delusions or hallucinations are not present.

Diagnostic Criteria of DSM-IV

The DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, More) describes Paranoid Personality Disorder as a pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

  • suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her;
  • is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates;
  • is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her;
  • reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events;
  • persistently bears grudges, i.e., is unforgiving of insults , injuries, or slights;
  • perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack;
  • has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner.

To make this diagnosis, DSM-IV stipulates that the disorder should not occur exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia (More) (More), a Mood Disorder With Psychotic Features (More), or another Psychotic Disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects or a general medical condition.

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