How To Deal With Paranoid Personality Disorder
Did you know that around 10% of individuals globally suffer from a personality disorder ?
Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is a type of personality disorder that can cause the individual to develop unreasonable suspicion of others. If you observe an individual being constantly suspicious in relationships or hypersensitive to criticism, there is a high probability that he/she could have PPD.
When you are in a relationship with someone who has paranoid personality disorder, it can feel as if they never see you for who you really are. It’s as if they have glasses on that distort the picture of your life together. Paranoid personality disorder overstimulates their fear response, and they can go through their days experiencing an exaggerated negative spin on most events and interactions. It’s not that they want to believe that you might be sneaking around, keeping secrets from them, or otherwise betraying their trust, but they do believe these kinds of things regardless of the truth of the situation and your intentions.
The interaction of paranoid personality disorder and relationships can be a very sensitive one because close partnerships are built on trust, and those with the disorder find trusting others to be very difficult. While the difficulty introduces issues to address, it doesn’t mean that having a relationship with someone who’s been diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder is impossible. The problem is that many people with the disorder do not seek treatment. With professional care and therapy, both partners in a relationship can learn to bring compassion and understanding to the symptoms of the personality disorder and start to redirect the experiences of fear in more positive directions.
What Is Paranoid Personality Disorder?
Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is a type of personality disorder that causes the affected person to behave oddly or eccentrically. This disorder falls under a group of personality disorders called “Cluster A”.
Individuals who have PPD usually also have paranoia. This may lead to unrelenting mistrust and suspicion of others even when there is no reason to do so.
Another hallmark of this disorder is being reluctant to confide in others and bearing grudges. PPD usually surfaces by early adulthood and is more common in men than in women.
The main signs and symptoms associated with paranoid personality disorder are discussed below.
Symptoms Of Paranoid Personality Disorder
Individuals with PPD are constantly on guard as they believe that others out there are trying to demean, threaten, or harm them. Such unfounded beliefs can interfere with the affected person’s ability to form close relationships.
The symptoms exhibited by a person who has PPD are:
- Believing that others are trying to harm or demean them
- Doubting the loyalty, commitment, or trustworthiness of others
- Reluctance in confiding in others
- Being hypersensitive when it comes to criticism
- Getting angry/hostile quickly
- Recurring suspicions when it comes to their spouse/partner, without reason
- Being cold and distant in relationships
- Difficulty in relaxing
These are some common traits seen in those who have PPD. Let’s now look at the factors responsible for triggering paranoid personality disorder.
What Causes Paranoid Personality Disorder?
While the exact cause of PPD is not yet found, it is believed to be triggered by a combination of biological, environmental, and psychological factors.
Paranoid personality disorder is often seen in individuals who have close family members with a history of schizophrenia and other delusional disorders .
Emotional or physical trauma during early childhood is another contributing factor to the development of PPD.
If you think that you are exhibiting symptoms of paranoid personality disorder, it is best to see a doctor.
How To Diagnose Paranoid Personality Disorder
Once you visit a doctor, they may begin by asking you questions about the symptoms you exhibit and your family and medical history.
They might carry out a physical examination to look for any other possible conditions you may be affected with. If the examination or the symptoms you exhibit indicate PPD, you will be sent to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or a mental healthcare provider for further testing.
The mental healthcare provider will do a comprehensive or detailed assessment that may include asking you about your childhood, work, school, and relationships. You may also be asked how you deal with or respond to an imaginary situation. They gauge your reaction to various situations and then make a diagnosis.
If you are found to have paranoid personality disorder, your doctor will discuss and create a treatment plan for you.
How To Treat Paranoid Personality Disorder
The main drawback of treating PPD is that most affected individuals have difficulty in accepting treatment. However, in general, treatment for this disorder can be very successful.
Individuals who are willing to go ahead with treatment for PPD can avail talk therapy or psychotherapy. These therapies aim at:
- Helping the individual cope with the disorder
- Teaching how to communicate with others in social situations
- Helping reduce the feelings of paranoia
Certain medications can also help in the treatment of paranoid personality disorder. Some medications work especially well if the patient has other related conditions like depression and anxiety disorder. Such medications include:
Combining these medications with talk therapy/psychotherapy can help in managing PPD successfully.
It is important to avail treatment for paranoid personality disorder to avoid the complications discussed below.
Reduce your stress levels
The best way to do this is by meditating and using breathing techniques. During meditation, the goal is to empty your mind of any thoughts and simply feel at peace. Breathing techniques are based on what works for an individual. Try breathing in as deeply as you can and then expelling all the air from your lungs and repeating the process.
Keep your sleep routine normal
Not getting enough sleep can aggravate your paranoia and make your symptoms worse. Because of this, it is important to make sure that you have a regular sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and get up around the same time each day. Don’t drink caffeine before bed, as this can throw off your sleeping patterns.
Keep yourself healthy
Eat well-balanced meals and exercise as often as possible. It is important to keep yourself healthy so that you can feel good about yourself. Put food into your body that will make you feel good. Avoid things like alcohol and tobacco that can have a negative impact on both your physical and mental states.
Distract yourself with things that you love
Like eating healthy food to increase your positivity, it is also important to do activities that will inspire positive feelings. Do things that you love, whether that means taking time to garden each day, go to the movies, or even go dancing. Create a positive outlet for yourself by working on a project that you enjoy.
Read and watch inspirational information
As a person with PPD, you should constantly be supplying yourself with positive thoughts. One way that you can do this is by reading and watching material that has uplifting content. Inspirational books and movies that discuss people overcoming great odds, be it psychologically, emotionally, or physically, can give you the fodder for your own inspirational fire.
Keep your confidence up
Paranoia can be spurred on by a low perception of yourself. To combat your paranoia, it is important to remind yourself that you are a unique and special individual. If you think someone is looking at you and assessing you, remind yourself that you are beautiful. Remind yourself that people are busy with their own lives and do not want to follow you around.
Find ways to calm yourself in public
Sometimes, this means simply removing yourself from a situation that is making you feel uncomfortable. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that all of the people around you have their own personal fears.
Join discussions to prevent yourself from feeling uncomfortable
Sometimes, you may feel like people in public are laughing at you or talking about you. To combat this feeling, ask them if you can join their conversation. When you are part of a discussion, you know for a fact that they are not talking about you in a negative way because you are a controlling force of the conversation. You will be able to prove yourself wrong and show yourself that they are not making fun of you.
Understand what can cause PPD
There are many theories surrounding the real cause of PPD but experts agree that it is a combination of psychological, social, and biological factors. How the brain is wired as it develops through adulthood is a possible cause. How a person was raised and learned to cope with problems can also contribute to the onset of PPD. Emotional trauma due to abuses in the past can also contribute to the development of PPD.
Seek professional help
Believe it or not, your paranoia does not need to control your life. With the help of a professional therapist, you can manage your fears. It will take time, hard work, and dedication, but you will eventually regain control of your life. As soon as you begin to notice symptoms of this disorder.
Ask your therapist to explain the treatment process
Therapy will be an ongoing part of your life as a way to manage your disorder. To avoid becoming suspicious of your therapist, it is important to ask him or her to explain the different aspects of your treatment process. While you may feel mistrustful of your therapist at times, it is very important that you stay committed to your treatment to manage your symptoms.
Monitor your emotions
When you do begin therapy, there will be moments where you will feel sad or depressed about your disorder, particularly when you gain insights into the ways that you perceive others. This sadness can lead to clinical depression. If you do start feeling excess amounts of sadness, talk to your therapist.