Paranoid personality disorder

Alternative Names

Personality disorder – paranoid

Definition of Paranoid personality disorder

Paranoid personality disorder is a psychiatric condition in which a person has a long-term distrust and suspicion of others, but does not have a full-blown psychotic disorder such as .

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The causes of paranoid personality disorder are unknown. The disorder appears to be more common in families with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and delusional disorder, which suggests genes may be involved. However, environmental factors may play a role, as well.

Symptoms

People with paranoid personality disorder are highly suspicious of other people. As a result, people with this condition severely limit their social lives.

Signs and tests

Like other personality disorders, paranoid personality disorder is diagnosed based on a psychological evaluation and the history and severity of the symptoms.

Treatment

Treatment is difficult because people with this condition are often very suspicious of doctors. If treatment is accepted, talk therapy and medications can often be effective.

Expectations (prognosis)

The outlook usually depends on whether the person is willing to accept help. Therapy and medications can reduce paranoia and limit its impact on the person’s daily functioning.

Review

Linda Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; David B. Merrill, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 11/14/2010

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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