Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Helping Loved Ones with Paranoid Personality Disorder

Living with a loved one who is encumbered with Paranoid Personality Disorder is far from easy. Always suspicious of the actions or intentions of the people surrounding him/her, they see others and the world at large as a threat to themselves. As always, their distrustful nature causes friction in their relationships, hurting those who should have been closest to him/her. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if they are aware of the pain they are causing, for their minds are perpetually focused on themselves. They have a general distrust of other people, and are constantly suspecting that plots are being hatched against them. Due to this unfounded belief, they are always on their guard, acting very defensive, and striking at anyone who they might hurt them emotionally even if he/she had neither done nor intended to do anything to hurt him/her at all.

The highly suspicious nature of people with Paranoid Personality Disorder makes them whiners who are antagonistic and very defensive of themselves. Although they always have a rational and distant front, sufferers manifest an offensive, sarcastic, and tenacious behavior. And even if they can be very thorough in dealing with their work, it would be advisable if they work on their own, isolated from others instead of in a group. The only thing that distinguishes them from those riddled with paranoid schizophrenia and delusional states is that they do not experience delusions.

Although the origin of Paranoid Personality Disorder is unconfirmed, research suggests that it may stem from genetics. Such personality disorders are common among families with a history of delusional disorder and schizophrenia. Signs of this personality disorder often become obvious during childhood and the teenage years. Individuals with Paranoid Personality Disorder are likely to show the following traits during the aforementioned stages: self-isolation, inability to relate well to peers, inclination to interpret others' behavior, overly sensitive to others, and a strange way of thinking.

To be able to diagnose a patient with Paranoid Personality Disorder, doctors must be able to tell it apart from the symptoms of those who are suffering from substance abuse. A psychological evaluation of the patient would help a doctor arrive at this diagnosis. Among the characteristics that doctors can look out for in their patients are:

  • Belief in an impending catastrophe or disaster
  • Perception that there are enemies throughout the world
  • Belief that he/she is blameless regardless of circumstances
  • Does not believe in accidents, and instead, he/she views others' actions as the cause for misfortune or unlikely events
  • Everything that happens involves him/her in one way or another
  • Belief that he/she has a special way of seeing things and this sets him/her apart from the rest

There are several methods of treatment that could be employed to address the problem of people with Paranoid Personality Disorder:
  • Subjection to psychotherapy
  • Cooperation of family members to help or involvement in self-help groups

Resource Box: Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

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