What is Paranoid Personality Disorder?

Paranoid personality disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by persistent paranoia and a sense of mistrust and suspicion of others. Historically, personality disorders were considered part of an individual's nature and not as treatable mental health conditions. Nowadays however, personality disorders are recognised as part of the spectrum of mental health disorders and can be treated effectively.

Often, a person with paranoid personality disorder will believe that someone is trying to harm them and a diagnosis of the condition is made when the degree of paranoia starts to significantly effect a person's work, personal or social life.

In paranoid personality disorder there is a mal-adaption to stress and life events that affects the sufferer's coping behavior and the way they perceive and make sense of the world. Paranoid personality disorder is considered a chronic mental illness and is more common in men than women. A long-term and generalized mistrust and suspicion of other people and their intentions severely impacts on the person's ability to develop or maintain social and personal relationships.

Causes of paranoid personality disorder

No specific causes of this condition have been identified. Genetic traits, familial factors and traumatic life events may, however, play a role in the development of the condition. Paranoid personality disorder may also run in families with a history of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

Typical characteristics

Most people with paranoid personality disorder are convinced, for no rational reason, that others are trying to harm them. They look for evidence that others are out to harm them, repeatedly questioning peoples' hidden motives and trustworthiness.

Some individuals with the condition may be hostile, aloof or aggressive. A typical feature of individuals who have the condition is a lack of humour. They can also misinterpret compliments and take them as criticisms. Also, they may have other mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

Care and treatment

There is known way to "cure" paranoid personality disorder but counselling and group therapy can help. While caring for a person with the condition, the carer is advised to avoid directness, excess honesty or kindness and to refrain from showing frustration or hostility.

A non-judgemental attitude is helpful when assisting a person with paranoid personality disorder and humour should also be avoided. Medications may be used to treat anxiety and depression in some individuals.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jan 2, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2023, January 02). What is Paranoid Personality Disorder?. News-Medical. Retrieved on July 21, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Paranoid-Personality-Disorder.aspx.

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "What is Paranoid Personality Disorder?". News-Medical. 21 July 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Paranoid-Personality-Disorder.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "What is Paranoid Personality Disorder?". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Paranoid-Personality-Disorder.aspx. (accessed July 21, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2023. What is Paranoid Personality Disorder?. News-Medical, viewed 21 July 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Paranoid-Personality-Disorder.aspx.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.