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What are the Causes of Paranoid Personality Disorder?

written by: Kristina Dems • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 9/23/2010

The causes of paranoid personality disorder are yet to be officially determined, but studies have already identified possible culprits. In this article, we discuss some of the most likely causes of this disorder.

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    Paranoid Personality Disorder

    Paranoid personality disorder is a psychiatric condition where a person experiences paranoia in the presence of other people and it is characterized by distrust and suspicion. People with this disorder often see the world in a prejudiced way, usually being hypersensitive and doubting the intent of other people no matter how nice or polite they may be. They always assume that people around them will deceive or hurt them even if there is no motive to support the doubt.

    This disorder causes people to isolate themselves from the rest of the world, opting to become distant emotionally and physically from other people including their friends and family. It is commonly diagnosed in men more than in women. Causes of paranoid personality disorder are technically unknown, but there are several suspected risk factors that may lead to it.

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    Inheritance

    This kind of psychiatric condition is more common among people who are members of a family where other psychotic disorders like schizophrenia and delusional disorders are present. This suggests that genetics and inheritance are involved. Several studies are being conducted to verify that genetics is involved.

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    Brain Chemistry

    Some brain chemicals, like serotonin, that are involved in regulating one's moods may not function properly and this may lead to a person developing paranoia, which could possibly lead to paranoid personality disorder. Other abnormalities in the brain, especially those affecting the areas responsible for controlling emotions, aggression and impulsivity, are candidates for causing personality disorders in general, including paranoid personality disorder.

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    Negative Feelings

    If someone harbors negative feelings, whether it is about other people or their own self, it is possible that they can project these feelings as paranoia or distrust. This idea is a theory at this stage. So far there is no conclusive proof that negative feelings can cause people to be so suspicious of others that they seclude themselves.

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    Parents

    When parents are overly protective of their children, which is quite natural especially when the children are very young, they can be very suspicious of everything around them. They inspect everyone and everything that comes into contact with their children. However, if this behavior continues for many years, this may cause the children to develop paranoia. It can be ingrained so deep into their minds that they start feeling that they are not safe anywhere at any time.

    Children can also develop paranoid personality disorder if they experience neglect or abuse early in their life. Becoming separated, abandoned or any experience that can cause them to feel very vulnerable and unsafe may also increase the chances of developing paranoia and other psychiatric disorders. Anything that has caused trauma, whether it is physical or emotional is a valid candidate for damaging the psyche of a person.

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    References:

    Cleveland Clinic - http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/personality_disorders/hic_paranoid_personality_disorder.aspx

    Medline Plus - http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000938.htm

    Mind Disorder - http://www.minddisorders.com/Ob-Ps/Paranoid-personality-disorder.html