honeypot link

Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

Quick Facts

Paranoid Personality Disorder


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Oct 2020| Content last modified Oct 2020
Click here for the Professional Version
Get the full details

Your personality is your unique way of thinking, understanding, reacting, and relating to people.

A personality disorder is not just an unusual personality. It's when your personality traits cause significant problems in your life or keep you from relating normally to others.

What is paranoid personality disorder?

Paranoid personality disorder is:

  • A pattern of mistrust and suspicion when there's no good reason to feel that way

People with paranoid personality disorder often:

  • See other people as hostile and dangerous and out to harm or cheat them

  • Misinterpret others' words or actions as insults when they aren't meant that way

  • Hold grudges, demand loyalty, and overreact when they think someone has betrayed them

  • Have trouble forming close relationships because they don't trust people

  • Are quick to lash out when they feel threatened

People with paranoid personality disorder may also have schizophrenia, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcohol use disorder, or another personality disorder (such as borderline personality).

What causes paranoid personality disorder?

Doctors think paranoid personality disorder runs in families. Childhood experiences (such as being abused) may make someone more likely to get paranoid personality disorder.

How do doctors treat paranoid personality disorder?

Doctors treat paranoid personality disorder with:

  • Therapy

  • Sometimes, medicines such as antidepressants and antipsychotics

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version
Others also read

Also of Interest