Paranoid personality disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis that denotes a personality disorder with paranoid features. The use of the term paranoia in this context is not meant to refer to the presence of frank delusions or psychosis, but implies the presence of ongoing, unbased suspiciousness and distrust of people.
Diagnostic criteria (DSM-IV-TR)
The DSM-IV-TR, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders (see also:DSM cautionary statement), defines paranoid personality disorder as a cluster A personality disorder (along with schizoid personality disorder (301.20) and schizotypal personality disorder (301.22)):
301.00 Paranoid Personality Disorder
A. A pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
- 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
B. Does not occur exclusively during the course of schizophrenia, a mood disorder with psychotic features, or another psychotic disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition.
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