Treatment for paranoid personality disorder often consists of psychotherapy sessions and, sometimes, medication.
Feeling distrustful and withdrawing socially are symptoms of paranoid personality disorder that can’t be cured, although treatment is effective for coping.
If you live with paranoid personality disorder, reaching out for help may feel challenging.
However, paranoid personality symptoms can be managed, and treatment can help you cope with many of the situations that cause you distress and fear.
There’s no cure for PPD, but treatment can be effective for reducing paranoid thoughts and improving your quality of life in general.
Paranoid personality disorder is one of 10 personality disorders. It’s a chronic mental health condition that often develops in your teen or young adult years.
When you receive professional support, you can find relief for many of your symptoms and experience more positive social interactions. This could also improve other aspects of your life, like your work.
An online paranoid personality test can give you a hint, but only a health professional can accurately diagnose paranoid personality disorder.
At first, a general health professional may want to perform a physical exam. This helps rule out any medical causes for your symptoms.
If they think you might have a personality disorder like paranoid personality disorder, they could refer you to a specialist, like a psychologist or a psychiatrist.
These mental health professionals may want to talk with you and gather some details about your medical history, concerns, and goals, as well as other relevant information you’re willing to share.
Once they have this information, they may compare your symptoms with the diagnostic criteria established by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5). This is a reference handbook for mental health clinicians to diagnose, classify, and identify mental health conditions.
Based on their findings, they may give you a diagnosis and then discuss with you a treatment plan that may consist of:
- psychotherapy sessions
You can actively participate in this process so you feel that you’re doing what’s best for your situation.
There are no medications specifically made for managing symptoms of paranoid personality disorder.
It is possible, though, that if you live with symptoms of other conditions, your health professional may suggest medication to help you cope.
Medications used for paranoid personality disorder symptoms and comorbid conditions include:
Atypical antipsychotics block chemical receptors in the brain to improve certain symptoms.
Some antipsychotics include:
- risperidone (Risperdal)
- quetiapine (Seroquel)
- olanzapine (Zyprexa)
- clozapine (Clozaril)
- ziprasidone (Geodon)
- sertraline (Zoloft)
- fluoxetine (Prozac)
- paroxetine (Paxil)
- duloxetine (Cymbalta)
- venlafaxine (Effexor XR)
- gabapentin (Horizant)
- lamotrigine (Lamictal)
- topiramate (Qudexy)
Atypical antipsychotic medications also stabilize mood and might be prescribed alone for this purpose or along with another mood-stabilizing medication.
Psychotherapy is the first line of treatment for paranoid personality disorder.
Establishing a relationship with someone you don’t know may be challenging if you live with this condition. However, it is important that you try to connect to your therapist. They’re trained and experienced in mental health and can guide you to improving your quality of life.
The goal of psychotherapy for paranoid personality disorder is to identify your negative thought patterns and help you weigh real threats versus perceived ones. This may help you learn that you don’t have to worry about as many things as you might now.
Since paranoid personality disorder is a lifelong condition, you may need to continue treatment indefinitely. The frequency of your therapy visits may depend on many factors, including the intensity of your symptoms and your progress.
These are the most effective types of psychotherapy for paranoid personality disorder:
1. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT is talk therapy and it helps you change your negative or harmful thinking patterns.
CBT can help you develop trust in other people. It can also increase your ability to regulate emotions and improve social interactions.
As part of CBT, your therapist may invite you to participate in a behavioral experiment. You may be asked to interact with other people and then assess how you felt. You and your therapist can work on challenges like not trusting others.
You can go at your own pace and don’t have to participate in any situations you don’t agree with. It’s important, however, that you try to rely on your therapist for guidance.
2. Psychodynamic therapy
If you have an internal locus of control, you believe you control the outcome of every situation that comes up. You may feel that it’s up to your effort and determination to accomplish something.
If you have an external locus of control, you may believe that how you feel or what happens to you is entirely up to external factors like fate, luck, or what other people do.
Most people have a combination of both internal and external locus of control.
This therapy helps you switch to an internal locus of control if this isn’t where you’re at. This can help you feel more in control of your own safety so that you worry less about whether you can trust other people.
3. Reality testing
Reality testing is the process of examining the differences between what you believe or perceive, and the reality around you.
Your therapist may help you assess your thoughts, examine the evidence to support them, and consider alternatives if they don’t coincide.
The goal of reality testing therapy is to help you explore multiple reasons for someone’s behavior.
For example, if your spouse won’t tell you where they went, you might assume they’re being deceitful. However, they may be planning a surprise party for you, or they might be dealing with a private challenge they’re not ready to share.
There’s no cure for paranoid personality disorder, but you can see improvement in your symptoms when you seek professional treatment.
Psychotherapy can be extremely effective to help you change your negative thinking and develop coping skills to improve relationships.
Medication for paranoid personality disorder can also help if you also live with other conditions like anxiety or depression.
Even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment, support is available and there are safe spaces for you to heal.