t was a dark, cold evening and was Vera tucked under the duvet. Something else felt cold under the sheets; a shiny steel object. Apparently, Vera heard sounds, as usual, and was sure someone was watching her. She summoned the courage to get out of bed for her weapon – a knife – that she was determined to use, howbeit amateurly, to defend herself come what may.
She heard a scream and grabbed the knife. Although hesitant to get out of bed, she knew she had to investigate as to what the issue was. As she tiptoed further, the screams became louder. She froze and then heaved a sigh: it was the TV. Someone was watching Friday the 13th.
This scenario and different others have been ongoing leading her loved ones to ask: “Is Vera exhibiting signs of Paranoid Personality Disorder, or just being cautious?”
What is Paranoid personality disorder?
Paranoid Personality Disorder is a mental disorder that belongs to a group of conditions called Cluster A, or eccentric personality disorders.
An individual with PPD is very suspicious of other people, which may interfere with their daily life and activities. They mistrust the motives of others and believe that others want to harm them.
Causes of PPD
Unfortunately, the exact cause of Paranoid Personality Disorder is still unknown. Currently, research has shown a genetic link as quite a number of individuals with PPD have close relatives with schizophrenia and delusional disorders.
An individual who went through a rough childhood, emotional or physical trauma is susceptible to Paranoid personality disorder. While the effect might fade over time, some others may hold onto the experience and eventually become paranoid.
#3. Substance abuse
The effect of substance abuse cannot be overemphasized. PPD has been linked to intoxication and withdrawal symptoms from substance abuse. An intoxicated person might become violent after a perceived attack, believing it’s self defense.
Here are signs you might be suffering from Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD)
A person suffering from paranoid personality disorder mostly believes their actions are not extraordinary. This state of denial makes it hard for them to get help or even realize they need help in the first place.
#2. Irrational fears
A major sign of PPD is an unwarranted fear rooted in the imagination which is enough to disrupt an individual’s life/relationships. These fears have no root cause and tend to pose a threat to the person’s daily activities.
#3. Being defensive
A person with PPD is usually always defensive, hostile and extremely sensitive to criticism. It can be viewed as a cycle. This energy they put out might set others off and the reaction from others would further deepen their paranoia.
#4. Inability to relax
A person with Paranoid Personality Disorder experiences both physical and mental unrest. The physical exhaustion that comes from always checking on an imaginary stalker, and the mental stress from interpreting hidden meanings and/or perceived insults ultimately take a toll on this person.
Sometimes life hits us real hard and leaves a crack on our minds. This might lead to distrusting others and isolating oneself. However, in the case of PPD, a person mistrusts without evidence. For example, they could suspect their partner of infidelity even without proof.
So many issues spring up in life and the long-lasting result straps paranoia right on. It might have been betrayal by a loved one, or a near-death experience. These situations might leave a person unforgiving and unwilling to put their one hundred percent into personal relationships. A person who was betrayed by a confidant might never open up again to quality relationships in the future for fear of further betrayal.
Treatment of Paranoid Personality Disorder
Psycho therapy is a major treatment of this mental disorder. This would help the patient build trust and become receptive to a paradigm shift. One-on-one sessions are advised as group therapy might leave your patient more suspicious.
In rare cases, medications are a part of treatment, especially for patients with other mental illnesses and extreme symptoms like violence.
Obstacles to treatment of Paranoid Personality Disorder
One of the biggest hindrances to treatment is acceptance. Many individuals with PPD rarely recognize there’s a distortion in their way of thinking, making it hard to get treated.
Also, the patient’s unwillingness to trust anyone is a major treatment setback, considering therapy is a huge step towards healing.
Whether you or a loved one is suffering from Paranoid Personality Disorder, remember; “Mental health…is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.” ~ Noam Shpancer, PhD
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