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What Medications are Used to Treat Paranoid Personality Disorder - and are they Effective?

written by: Kelly Marquize • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 9/13/2010

There are only a handful of medications that may be effective in treating paranoid personality disorder. Read on to see what they are and if they are effective.

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    Treatment of Paranoid Personality Disorder

    Treating paranoid personality disorder (PPD) can be a tough job. The individual suffering from this disorder is usually unaware that they have a problem. If they do agree to treatment, trust is a major issue, and they seldom carry out the treatment plan. Typically, medications are not used in the treatment of PPD; the treatment of choice is psychotherapy. Medications can cause more of a problem since the patient will almost certainly become suspicious and think that the doctor is trying to control them through drugs. However, in cases where anxiety and/or depression are present, medications such as anti-anxiety or anti-psychotic drugs are used and are helpful.

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    Paranoid Personality Disorder Medications

    The anti-anxiety medication diazepam is appropriate to prescribe if the client suffers from severe anxiety or agitation where it begins to interfere with normal, daily functioning. An anti-psychotic medication, such as thioridazine or haloperidol, may be appropriate if a patient decompensates into severe agitation or delusional thinking, which may result in self-harm or harm to others (PsychCentral, 2010).

    A combination of low-dose neuroleptics and SSRIs may also be helpful in the treatment of PPD. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac have been shown to make patients less angry, irritable and suspicious. But again, the fact that the patient is paranoid may repel them from using medication, especially if unpleasant side effects are experienced. Thus, the use of medication should be a last resort. It may prove helpful if the decision to use medication is left to the patient. This way, it is their idea and no one is forcing them to take the medication (Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders, 2010).

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    Prognosis

    Unfortunately, the prognosis for PPD is not good. The individual will most likely have the disorder for the remainder of their lives. Building a strong doctor-patient relationship is crucial in treating PPD; without that relationship, treatment will prove to be difficult. Most patients with PPD will ultimately end up in a state hospital or a day treatment program.

    In short, paranoid personality disorder medications are not very successful and are not encouraged. Rather, medications are used in treating related symptoms such as delusions, anxiety and/or depression, not the paranoia itself. The only treatment that has shown some promise is therapy. But since the patient does not see his or her behavior as problematic, treatment of any kind is normally terminated prematurely.

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    A Word of Advice

    As always, any medication that is prescribed should be taken exactly as directed and only for as long as necessary. The prescribing doctor should always be consulted before discontinuing any medications. Failure to do so may result in a calamitous outcome.

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    References

    PsychCentral (2010). Paranoid personality disorder treatment. Retrieved September 4, 2010, from http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sx37t.htm

    Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders (2010). Paranoid personality disorder. Retrieved September 5, 2010, from http://www.minddisorders.com/Ob-Ps/Paranoid-personality-disorder.html

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