This disorder is characterized by deep distrust and suspicion of others.
- Although inaccurate, the suspicion is usually not delusional – the ideas are not so bizarre or so firmly held as to clearly remove the individual from reality
- As a result of their mistrust, people with paranoid personality disorder often remain cold and distant
- They are critical of weakness and fault in others, particularly at work
- They are unable to recognize their own mistakes and are extremely sensitive to criticism
- They often blame others for the things that go wrong in their lives and they repeatedly bear grudges
- Between 0.5% and 3% of adults are believed to experience this disorder, apparently more men than women
How Do Theorists Explain Paranoid Personality Disorder?
The proposed explanations of this disorder, like those of most other personality disorders, have received little systematic research
- Psychodynamic theorists trace the pattern back to early interactions with demanding parents
- Cognitive theorists suggest that maladaptive assumptions such as “People are evil and will attack you if given the chance” are to blame
- Biological theorists propose genetic causes and have looked at twin studies to support this model
Treatments for Paranoid Personality Disorder
People with paranoid personality disorder do not typically see themselves as needing help
- Few come to treatment willingly
- Those who are in treatment often distrust and rebel against their therapists
- As a result, therapy for this disorder, as for most of the other personality disorders, has limited effect and moves slowly
- Object relations therapists try to see past the patient’s anger and work on the underlying wish for a satisfying relationship
- Behavioral and cognitive therapists try to help clients control anxiety and improve interpersonal skills
- Cognitive therapists also try to restructure clients’ maladaptive assumptions and interpretations
- Drug therapy is of limited help
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