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Paranoid Personality Disorder Diagnosis

(Also Known As: Delusions Diagnosis, Paranoid Diagnosis, Paranoid Disorder Diagnosis, Paranoia Diagnosis, Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnosis)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Clinical Therapist)

How Is Paranoid Personality Disorder Diagnosed?

The paranoia being experienced by an individual suffering from paranoid personality disorder does not involve delusions or psychosis but involves suspicions and distrust of other people. Paranoid personality disorder is categorized as a Cluster A personality disorder, together with schizoid or schizotypal personality disorders. The central characteristic of these types of personality disorders is odd or eccentric behavior. 5

According to the DSM-IV-TR, an individual can be diagnosed as paranoid if they meet at least four of the following criteria:

  • Baseless suspicion that they are a victim of exploitation, harm, and deception of other people.
  • The paranoid individual is preoccupied with unreasonable doubts about the loyalty of friends or colleagues.
  • The patient is reluctant to confide to other people because they are worried that the information they will provide will be used against them.
  • The paranoid individual places hidden, demeaning, or threatening interpretations into benign words or behavior.
  • The patient frequently is sensitive to attacks against their character or becomes angry, which results in their tendency to counterattack.

In diagnosing paranoid personality disorder, it is important for a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist not to confuse the condition with other mental disorders or behaviors which have symptoms of a paranoid individual. Long-term intake of amphetamine or cocaine, for example, can lead to the development of a paranoid personality.

Likewise, the presence of conditions that indicates the characteristics of a paranoid individual does not necessarily mean that they will have paranoid personality disorder. A patient suffering from schizophrenia, hallucinations, or formal thought disorder cannot be diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder.

In order for an individual to be diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder, the suspicions, as well as other characteristic attributes of paranoid personality disorder, should exist in the patient for a long time, since early adulthood at the very least. A diagnosis of the disorder is unlikely if the symptoms have manifested themselves only for a short period of time.

Could You Have Paranoid Personality Disorder?

Paranoid Personality Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Anxiety Disorder NOS – Excessive Worry, Fear, Phobias, Chronic Anxiousness
Avoidant Personality Disorder – Pervasive Social Inhibition, Feeling of Inadequacy, Fear of Being Criticized or Rejected
Borderline Personality Disorder – Variable Mood, Unstable Relationship
Schizoid Personality Disorder – Lack of Interest in Social Relationships, Prefers Solitude, Emotional Coldness, Indifference
Schizotypal Personality Disorder – Need for Social Isolation, Odd Beliefs, Paranoid Ideation