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Paranoid Personality Disorder: Causes, Risk Factors & More

Published on: June 30, 2022

Paranoid Personality Disorder

Are you a little too suspicious? A little too concerned about hidden motives and ulterior motives? It may be time to find out if you have Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD).

A paranoid personality disorder is a mental illness that affects 1% of the population. People with this disorder tend to be suspicious and mistrustful of others, often believing that others are trying to harm them somehow.

What is Paranoid Personality Disorder?

A paranoid personality disorder is a mental health condition characterized by an enduring pattern of distrust and suspiciousness of others. People with this disorder have a pervasive, unwarranted sense that others are out to harm them, deceive them, or take advantage of them. They may also be overly sensitive to criticism or rejection.

This condition can cause significant distress and difficulties in relationships, work, and other essential areas of life. However, it is a relatively uncommon condition, and many people who have paranoid personality disorder function reasonably well in society.

People with PPD might believe that people are out to get them or hurt them. Moreover, they might feel like their partner, family members, co-workers, or friends are trying to take advantage of them. They even think that someone is out to make them look bad at work or cause relationship problems.

Causes of Paranoid Personality Disorder

The causes of paranoid personality disorder are not entirely clear. The development of this disorder likely result from a combination of factors, including:

Genetic predisposition

A paranoid personality disorder is more common among relatives of people with this condition than general.

Developmental factors

A paranoid personality disorder may develop in response to early life experiences, such as being neglected or abused by parents or other caregivers.

Environmental factors

People who are socially isolated or have experienced traumatic events may be at increased risk of developing a paranoid personality disorder.

Drug use

Studies show that people who use drugs such as marijuana have higher developing paranoid personality disorder rates than those who don’t use drugs or drink alcohol regularly.

Brain abnormalities

Brain scans have shown differences in the brains of people with paranoid personality disorder compared with healthy people’s brains. These differences may cause abnormal brain activity and contribute to symptoms like hallucinations and delusions, leading to paranoia in some cases. Still, not all cases since many people with these symptoms do not develop paranoid personality disorder (PPD).

There are several other possible causes of paranoid personality disorder. These include:

  • Being raised in a family where there was little or no communication or where there were problems with control and power
  • Being raised in a family where there was a lot of violence or abuse
  • Being involved in an abusive relationship later on in life

Risk Factors

Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) is a mental disorder that affects about 2.8% of the population in the United States. It can be difficult to diagnose because it’s hard to tell if someone is paranoid or if they have PPD.

Risk factors for PPD include:

  • Family history of mental illness, especially paranoid personality disorder
  • History of childhood abuse or neglect
  • Low self-esteem and low self-acceptance
  • A tendency to interpret people’s motives as malicious, even when there is no evidence for this belief
  • Excessive suspicion or distrust of others
  • Previous diagnosis of another mental disorder such as depression or schizophrenia

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), people with Paranoid Personality Disorder may interpret things such as “a sarcastic comment” or “a simple greeting” as signs of aggression or hostility. They may also feel that they are being talked about behind their backs and become angry when they find out that this isn’t true.

How to deal with people living with Paranoid Personality Disorder

When dealing with people suffering from Paranoid Personality Disorder, it’s best to remember that they’re not always acting in their own best interest. In addition, the paranoia that characterizes this personality disorder can make it difficult for them to trust others and even themselves. Therefore, it’s essential to be patient, understanding, and respectful when interacting with someone who has this disorder.

Here are some tips on how you can deal with someone suffering from Paranoid Personality Disorder:

  • Don’t assume malice or ill intent when they act suspiciously or hurtfully. It’s more likely that they’re just being defensive because of their distrustful nature.
  • If you think the person is acting suspiciously because of something you did or said, don’t accuse them of paranoia or lash out at them—it will only make things worse! Instead, calmly explain your point of view and ask if there is anything else that might have contributed to their suspicions or actions (i.e., “I think you might be feeling a little anxious today.”).
  • Be gentle but firm when correcting their behaviour; don’t yell or act angry if they’ve done something inappropriate (i.e., “It’s not okay for you to call me names.”).
  • Try to avoid situations that bring on the symptoms of PPD, such as being around other people, going out in public places, or interacting with others online (if there’s a chance that person might be someone who will trigger your friend’s condition)
  • If you get angry at their behavior, remember that they are not intentionally trying to hurt you—they are just having an episode!

For more information about Mental Health Conditions. Visit our Mental Health Library page.  To understand and cope with your Paranoid Personality Disorder, get help from our Top 10 Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and Therapists who are known for providing the best mental health treatment and psychiatry services. To book an appointment please call us at (800) 457-4573 or submit an appointment request.

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