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Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic mental health condition. It is “characterized by pervasive, persistent, and enduring mistrust of others, and a profoundly cynical view of others in the world.” The signs and symptoms of PPD usually appear in early adulthood, and research has indicated it is more prevalent in men than women. Individuals with paranoid personality disorder are at a greater risk of experiencing depression, substance abuse, and agoraphobia. PPD is estimated to affect between 1.21 and 4.4 percent of people, worldwide


The cause of paranoid personality disorder remains unknown. However, research has determined that it likely involves a combination of biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Individuals with a family history of paranoid personality disorder, schizophrenia and/ or delusional disorder are more likely to develop PPD than those without. Medical News Today refers to a study that found a consistent correlation between childhood trauma and the development of PPD. To conclusively understand the precise cause of paranoid personality disorder, additional research is required.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of paranoid personality disorder essentially prohibit a person from confiding in others, which in turn prevents them from developing close, meaningful relationships. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a young person with PPD may:

  • Doubt the commitment, loyalty, or trustworthiness of others, believing others are exploiting or deceiving them.
  • Be reluctant to confide in others or reveal personal information because they are afraid the information will be used against them.
  • Be unforgiving and hold grudges.
  • Be hypersensitive and take criticism poorly.
  • Read hidden meanings in the innocent remarks or casual looks of others.
  • Perceive attacks on their character that are not apparent to others.
  • Have persistent suspicions, without justified reason, that their romantic partners are being unfaithful.
  • Be cold and distant in their relationships with others and might become controlling and jealous to avoid being betrayed.
  • Not see their role in problems or conflicts, believing they are always right.
  • Have difficulty relaxing.
  • Be hostile, stubborn, and argumentative.

Professional treatment for paranoid personality disorder can help a person learn how to manage his or her PPD symptoms and foster skills to improve daily functioning. 

For Information and Support

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.


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