What Is Paranoia Personality Disorder?
Personality disorders as defined by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) are “long-term patterns of behavior and inner experiences that differ significantly from what is expected.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) lists ten standalone personality disorders and based on similar characteristics, each personality disorder is grouped into one of three categories (cluster A, cluster B, and cluster C). Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) belongs to cluster A, which according to the Mayo Clinic is “characterized by odd, eccentric thinking or behavior.” More specifically, the Merck Manual explains that paranoid personality disorder is characterized “by a pervasive pattern of unwarranted distrust and suspicion of others that involves interpreting their motives as malicious.” The Cleveland Clinic refers to studies that estimate PPD affects between 2.3% and 4.4% of the general population, and it is thought to be more common among men. There is no single test that is used to diagnose paranoid personality disorder. The diagnosis process is informed by the symptoms of PPD and integrates the presence of symptoms as is outlined in its diagnostic criteria.
Signs and Symptoms
There are several different signs and symptoms related to paranoid personality disorder. The symptoms of PPD essentially prohibit a teen from confiding in others, which in turn prevents them from developing close, meaningful relationships. The Mayo Clinic provides examples of symptoms associated with PPD, some of which include:
- The unjustified belief that others have hidden motives and/ or intend to cause harm
- Hypersensitivity to criticism
- Doubting the loyalty of others
- Difficulty working with others
- Unable to relax
- Blind to one’s own problems
- Becoming detached and/ or socially isolated
- Hostile/ impatient/ argumentative and/ or defensive
The reason behind why a young person develops paranoid personality disorder remains unknown, but research has indicated that it is likely linked to a combination of environmental and biological factors. While there is no cure for PPD, as it is a chronic condition, with proper treatment a teen can learn to effectively manage the symptoms of paranoid personality disorder.
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