Paranoid Personality Disorder

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Paranoid Personality Disorder

Emma Dudenhoeffer

Abnormal Psychology

Rob Evans

Paranoid personality disorder is a mental health condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of distrust and suspicion of others, but does not have a full-blown psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia. A lot of times this disorder can get misdiagnosed as schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder and delusional disorder. But the most commom is schizonphrenia.

Paranoid personality disorder is listed in DSM-III-R and was also included in all the previous versions of the DSM. One of the earliest descriptions of this disorder come from a French psychiatrist named Magnan who described it as “a fragile personality that showed idiosyncratic thinking, hypochondria, undue sensitivity, referential thinking and suspiciousness.” Another description that is closely related to this description is Kraepelin's description from 1905 of a pseudo-querulous personality who is "always on the alert to find grievance, but without delusions", vain, self-absorbed, sensitive, irritable, litigious, obstinate, and living at strife with the world. In 1921, he renamed the condition paranoid personality and described these individuals as distrustful, feeling unjustly treated and feeling subjected to hostility, interference and oppression. He also observed a contradiction in these personalities. Sometimes they stubbornly hold on to their unusual ideas, and then other times they often accept every piece of gossip as the truth. Kraepelin also noted that paranoid personalities were often present in individuals who later developed paranoid psychoses. Later on writers also considered traits like suspiciousness and hostility to predispose people to developing delusional illnesses, particularly late paraphrenias of old age.

Jaspers, a German phenomenologist, described "self-insecure" personalities who resemble the paranoid personality. According to Jaspers, such individuals experience inner humiliation, brought about by outside experiences and their interpretations of them. They have an urge to get external confirmation to their self-deprecation and that makes them see insults in the behavior of other people. They suffer from every slight because they seek the real reason for them in themselves. This kind of insecurity leads to overcompensation: compulsive formality, strict social observances and exaggerated displays of assurance.

In 1950, Schneider described the “fanatic psychopaths" and divided them into two categories: the combative type that is very insistent about his false notions and actively quarrelsome, and the eccentric type that is passive, secretive, vulnerable to esoteric sects but nonetheless suspicious about others.

In 1975, Polatin described the paranoid personality as rigid, suspicious, watchful, self-centered and selfish, inwardly hypersensitive but emotionally undemonstrative. However, when there is a difference of opinion, the underlying mistrust, authoritarianism and rage burst through.

In the 1980s, paranoid personality disorder received little attention, and when it did receive it, the focus was on its potential relationship to paranoid schizophrenia. The most significant contribution of this decade comes from Millon who divided the features of paranoid personality disorder to four categories: 1) behavioral characteristics of vigilance, abrasive irritability and counterattack, 2) complaints indicating oversensitivity, social isolation and mistrust, 3) the dynamics of denying personal insecurities, attributing these to others and self-inflation through grandiose fantasies and 4) coping style of detesting dependence and hostile distancing of oneself from others.

There are a few different treatments for paranoid personality disorder. First, the goal of therapy with PPD patients is to help them recognize and accept their...
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