Carl Johnson believed his co-workers talked about him behind his back. He also thought the company bosses felt hostile to him. While driving one day, another driver tailgated him, infuriating him into a murderous rage. Only the state insignia painted on the car stopped him; he was afraid he’d be reported.
Carl exhibits paranoid fear. According to WebMD.com, people with Paranoid Personality Disorder, the long-term personality pattern, remain always on guard, believing that others constantly demean, harm, or threaten them. These generally unfounded beliefs, as well as their habits of blame and distrust, interfere with their ability to form close relationships. People with this disorder:
-Doubt the commitment, loyalty, or trustworthiness of others, believing others are using or deceiving them
-Are reluctant to confide in others or reveal personal information due to a fear that 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 recurrent 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
-Cannot see their role in problems or conflicts and believe they are always right
-Have difficulty relaxing
-Are hostile, stubborn, and argumentative
Because forming relationships is so difficult, finding treatment for someonen who experiences such strong fear.
Causes of Paranoia
The exact cause of PPD is not known, but likely involves a combination of biological and psychological factors. The fact that PPD is more common in people who have close relatives with schizophrenia suggests a genetic link between the two disorders. Early childhood experiences, including physical or emotional trauma, are also suspected to play a role in the development of PPD.
People with PPD often do not seek treatment on their own because they do not see themselves as having a problem. When they do seek treatment, psychotherapy (a form of counseling) is the treatment of choice for PPD. Treatment likely will focus on increasing general coping skills, as well as on improving social interaction, communication, and self-esteem.
Because trust is an important factor of psychotherapy, treatment is challenging since people with PPD have such distrust of others. As a result, many people with PPD do not follow their treatment plan.
Medication generally is not a major focus of treatment for PPD. However, medications, such as anti-anxiety, antidepressant or anti-psychotic drugs, might be prescribed if the person’s symptoms are extreme, or if he or she also suffers from an associated psychological problem, such as anxiety or depression.
[Next week: Carl’s Treatment. Sources: vhttp://www.webmd.com/mental-health/paranoid-personality-disorder]