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Alternative NamesPersonality disorder - paranoid
Definition Return to top
Paranoid personality disorder is a psychiatric condition in which a person is very distrustful and suspicious of others.
Causes Return to top
Personality disorders are long-term (chronic) patterns of behavior that cause lasting problems with work and relationships.
The cause of paranoid personality disorder is unknown. It appears to be more common in families with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and delusional disorder, which suggests genes may be involved.
Symptoms Return to top
People with paranoid personality disorder are highly suspicious of other people. They are usually unable to acknowledge their own negative feelings towards other people.
Other common symptoms include:
Exams and Tests Return to top
Personality disorders are diagnosed based on psychological evaluation and the history and severity of the symptoms.
Treatment Return to top
Treatment is difficult because people with this condition are often extremely suspicious of doctors. If accepted, medications and talk therapy can both be effective.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Therapy can limit the impact of the paranoia on the person's daily functioning.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
If suspicions are interfering with your relationships or work, contact a health care provider or mental health professional.
References Return to top
Moore DP, Jefferson JW. Paranoid personality disorder. In: Moore DP, Jefferson JW, eds. Handbook of Medical Psychiatry. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2004: chap 134.
Satterfield JM, Feldman MD. Paranoid personality disorder. In: Ferri FF, ed. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2008: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2008.Update Date: 10/17/2008 Updated by: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; Timothy A. Rogge, MD, private practice in Psychiatry, Kirkland, Washington. Also reviewed byDavid Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.