Paranoid personality disorder

paranoid personality disorder

Ramesh is 29 years old. He works for a private company. He has a few friends but has trouble trusting the intentions of others. He believes that people will always take advantage of or harm him in some way. When he is criticized, takes it very personally and is often out look for some way to get back at them. He has grudges on people that have lasted decades. He has a girlfriend, but he is unable to trust her and constantly worries that she is having an affair. He is described as hostile and argumentative by those who know him.

If you relate to Ramesh or know someone who may, read on.

People with a paranoid personality may display the following features

  • Doubt the commitment, loyalty, or trustworthiness of others, believing others are exploiting or deceiving them.
  • Are reluctant to confide in others or reveal personal information because they are afraid the information will be used against them.
  • Are unforgiving and hold grudges.
  • Are hypersensitive and take criticism poorly.
  • Read hidden meanings in the innocent remarks or casual looks of others.
  • Perceive attacks on their character that are not apparent to others; they generally react with anger and are quick to retaliate.
  • Have persistent suspicions, without reason, that their spouses or lovers are being unfaithful.
  • Are generally cold and distant in their relationships with others, and might become controlling and jealous to avoid being betrayed.
  • Cannot see their role in problems or conflicts, believing they are always right.
  • Have difficulty relaxing.
  • Are hostile, stubborn, and argumentative.
  • Tend to develop negative stereotypes of others, especially those from different cultural groups.

So what if I have an paranoid personality ?

The features as described above will interfere with one’s ability to lead a fulfilling life. Further more people with paranoid personalities are more prone to develop disorders such as depression and anxiety. You may not be able to have fulfilling relationships. You may also have trouble letting your guard down, day to day events may seem very stressful and difficult. Your tendency to hold grudges may be detrimental to your physical and mental health on the long run.

What causes a paranoid personality ?

One’s personality develops as a result of an interplay between genetic and environmental factors. As in all personality disorders, negative internal feelings during childhood, parental modelling, childhood neglect, abuse or trauma may contribute to the development of a personality disorder.

What do I do ?

Awareness and Insight ! is the first thing that one needs, in order to change  a few personality traits. You need to acknowledge your distress for any sort of therapy to work. Every thought and act needs to observed with attention and awareness, and automatic reactions to automatic thoughts need to go.

Take help ! Talk to a mental health professional.

Cognitive behavioral therapy – Which focuses on modifying beliefs that lead to automatic actions by means of behavioral experiments and didactic discussions.

Mindfulness based therapy – Helps in rooting oneself to the present and in making changes to one’s personality thereby making life less stressful and more enjoyable.

Medications – Drugs may sometimes be prescribed for certain co morbid conditions such as depression or marked anxiety, Meds may help reduce paranoid ideas and the distress associated with the same.

One does not have to suffer through life because of poor coping and an dysfunctional personality, though it may seem difficult, it is quite possible to modify personality traits provided adequate time and effort is given. Any skilled mental health professional would be able to help you out with paranoia.

You can rebuild the trust you lost, if you want to. Please seek help if you identify with the above symptoms or if a family member is worried for you.

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