Paranoid Personality Disorder

Like many other mental health issues mentioned before paranoid personality disorder is ridden with stigma and stereotypes. Even mentioning it makes people think of the Hollywood version of the issue with someone fidgeting and jumping at every creak and snap. While this can be the case in an extreme example, this issue deserves the respect of understanding the full picture.

The first step to understanding is defining it. The U.S. National Library of Medicine defines paranoid personality disorder as a “person has a long-term pattern of distrust and suspicion of others.” An important fact with this definition is that the person does not have a full-blown psychotic disorder, such as schizophrenia. Like other personality disorders, paranoia is characterized by rigid, inflexible, and unwilling to adapt and function under the expectations of the individual’s culture.

While paranoid personality disorder shares similarities with other disorders it has some very unique symptoms. According to Psych Central these  are:

  • Suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her
  • Is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates
  • Is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her
  • Reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events
  • Persistently bears grudges (i.e., is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights)
  • Perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others, and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack
  • Has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner

While the symptoms can be very noticeable it can be hard to diagnose Most physicians are not qualified to make such a heavy diagnosis so a trip to a licensed mental health professional is recommended. With this in mind there are no physical yes or no tests to confirm this mental health issue. The majority of the diagnosis is based off of symptoms and a person’s life history which is why it is important to have a transparent conversation with a licensed mental health professional.

Treatment is very similar to the other personality disorder. It ultimately comes down to psychotherapy. While medicine may be prescribed to help the most helpful and effective treatment is long-term psychotherapy from a qualified therapist. If you want to learn more about paranoid personality disorder check out any of the resources under the Useful Resources section.
~Be Mindful of Mind

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Borderline Personality Disorder is a serious mental health issue that affects a large amount of people. At 5.9%, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) affects 14 million Americans at some time in their life (Borderline Personality Disorder). Like most personality disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can make everyday life difficult. Psych Central states that a main characteristic of BPD is “a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image and emotions.” Most people who have BPD suffer from difficulty regulating emotions and thoughts, impulsive/reckless behavior, an unstable relationships.

While BPD affects so many people, researchers have still not narrowed down a specific cause. Despite this, researchers believe that there can be two main causes. The first is trauma. Where trauma more commonly causes PTSD it can also affect personality of a person. The second is genetic. In recent studies it has can be seen that a person can inherit personality traits as well as BPD from their parents.

While understanding the causes of BPD is important it is also important to identify it in friends, family, and potentially yourself. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in order for a person to be diagnosed with BPD they must show an enduring pattern of behavior that includes at least five of the following:

Extreme reactions—including panic, depression, rage, or frantic actions—to abandonment, whether real or perceived

  • A pattern of intense and stormy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often veering from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
  • Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self, which can result in sudden changes in feelings, opinions, values, or plans and goals for the future (such as school or career choices)
  • Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating
  • Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting
  • Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness and/or boredom
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
  • Having stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality.

With BPD half the battle is discovering it. While it is a fairly prominent mental health issue it is still widely misdiagnosed and underdiagnosed. The lucky thing about BPD is that there is treatment for it. The two major ones are psychotherapy and medication, both of which have proven to be effective. While these forms of treatment do work they still take time to be effective and the road will not be easy. Make sure if you or a loved one is suffering from BPD that you get educated on it and support them every step of the way.
~Be mindful of the mind.

Personality Disorders

We have all heard the term before. “Personality Disorders” is a term that is loaded with stereotypes and false imagery of what it a personality disorder looks like. While a stereotypes are built on nuggets of truth one needs to look into Personality Disorders on a deeper level to truly understand the depth of the issue.

The first and one of the most important thing to understand about personality disorders is that there is no one blanket condition. In fact there are 11 main forms of personality disorders according to Psych Central.

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Avoidant Personality Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Dependent Personality Disorder
  • Multiple Personality Disorder
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
  • Paranoid Personality Disorder
  • Schizoid Personality Disorder
  • Schizotypal Personality Disorder

In fact because there are so many personality disorders a person may exhibit traits of multiple disorders. That is why it is important for a professional to e the one the gives out a diagnosis.

The second important thing to know about personality traits is that they are not fleeting once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Instead, professionals see it “as an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the culture of the individual who exhibits it” (Psych Central). These patterns that people exhibit are seen across many situations. In order to clinically diagnosed with a personality disorder rather another disorder, one needs to have a behavioral pattern must cause significant distress or impairment in personal, social, and/or occupational situations.

In the coming posts I will go over three personality disorders: borderline personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. Enjoy the following posts as we tackle personality disorders.

~Be mindful of the mind